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Eastern Europe

Title
Octava Europe Tabula
Author
[PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius]
Publisher
Petrus de Turre,
Publication place
[Rome,
Publication date
1490].
Dimensions
408 by 557mm. (16 by 22 inches).
Price
£5,000
Reference
12974
  • Description

    Double-page engraved map, on laid paper, watermark of a T within a circle, and crossbow within a circle.

  • Notes

    The map shows Eastern Europe including parts of Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Although the area around the Crimea is depicted with a high level of detail, the area to the north and east of the Caucasus Mountains is underdeveloped.

    Map from the beautiful second Rome edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. "This handsome edition is a reprinting of the copper-plate maps of the 1478 Ptolemy [the first Rome edition by Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Buckinck, whose] maps are considered the finest Ptolemaic ones produced up to the time that the great Mercator engraved his Ptolemy of 1578... It is believed that Sweynheym was the one who first thought of applying the very new art of copper-engraving to the printing of maps, and he might have taken a hand in the actual engraving of them himself" (World Encompassed). While the Bologna edition of 1477 was the first atlas to use copperplate maps, the present series is generally regarded as superior for its clear captions, accurate projections and overall design. Also, there are indications the Bologna edition was hurried through the press: the captions were not engraved but stamped into the plates. The early Italian Ptolemys, particularly the Rome editions, are "superb testimonials of Italian craftsmanship without the picturesque but unscientific monsters of the medieval maps or the addition of the adventitious decoration of later work, relying for their beauty solely on the delicacy of their execution and the fineness of the material employed" (Tooley).