Ptolemy’s map of Northern Italy
By PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius [translated by ANGELUS, Jacobus, edited by GERMANUS, Nicolaus], 1482
Tabula quinta Europa
- Author: PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius [translated by ANGELUS, Jacobus, edited by GERMANUS, Nicolaus]
- Publication place: Ulm
- Publisher: Lienhart Holle
- Publication date: 16 July 1482.
- Physical description: Double-page woodcut map, fine original hand-colour, a few minor tears to margins and losses to gutters skilfully repaired.
- Dimensions: 420 by 565mm. (16.5 by 22.25 inches).
- Inventory reference: 16470
The map was published in the first atlas printed outside Italy and the first atlas illustrated with woodcut maps.
In 1482 Lienhart Holle in Ulm published a revised edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia with the reworking of the Ptolemaic corpus by the cartographer Nicolaus Germanus Donis. The atlas included five additional “modern” maps: Italy, Spain, France, Scandinavia, and the Holy Land. The atlas would be the first book printed by Lienhart Holle, however, it would appear that the venture proved ruinously expensive and his business would go bankrupt shortly after publication. The remaining sheets, the woodblocks and the types passed to Johann Reger in Ulm, who reissued the work in 1486.
As well as the modern maps the atlas bears some other notable firsts. It was the first time that maps were signed by the artist responsible for the woodcutting; in this case Johannes of Armsheim, who signed the world map, and incorporated a backwards N into the woodcut text on each map. It is also the first to print the accompanying text on the verso of the map to which it refers. Another important feature of the Ulm editions is the introduction of the publisher’s colouring upon the maps. Maps from 1482 usually have a rich blue colour in the sea which was replaced with a soft brown colour in 1486.
- Camptell, T., ‘Earliest Printed Maps’, p. 179–210
- Schreiber 5032
- Skelton, R.A., Bibliographical note prefixed to the facsimile of the 1482 Ulm Ptolemy