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Africa

Title
Quarta Affrice Tabula
Author
PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius [translated by ANGELUS, Jacobus, edited by GERMANUS, Nicolaus]
Publisher
Lienhart Holle,
Publication place
Ulm,
Publication date
16 July 1482.
Dimensions
420 by 565mm. (16.5 by 22.25 inches).
Price
SOLD
Reference
2100

Description

Double-page woodcut map, fine original hand-colour, slight damp staining to upper margin slightly affecting image.

Notes

This striking map of Africa depicts the continent as envisaged by the second century A.D, cartographer Claudius Ptolemaeus. To the north is the Mediterranean Sea populated by numerous islands. North Africa has been divided into three parts: "Libia Interior" to the west; "Etiopia Sub Egipto" to the east; and "Etiopia Interior" to the South. The bottom of the map is marked "Terra Incognita". The Nile is depicted being fed by three lakes, which in turn get their water from the "montes lunae" (Mountains of the Moon). The Red Sea is named and rendered in vivid red. To the east of the map the Arabian Peninsular is depicted and named "Arabie felicis pars". To the bottom right is a landlocked India Sea.

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 first. 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.

Bibliography

Campbell, T., 'Earliest Printed Maps', p. 179-210; Schreiber 5032; Skelton, R.A., Bibliographical note prefixed to the facsimile of the 1482 Ulm Ptolemy