C1588

Ptolemeisch General Tafel, die halbe Kugel der Welt begreissende.

Mapmaker:

Sebastian Munster (1489 - 1552)

Early world woodcut map according to Ptolemy, by the German cartographer Sebastian Münster, with the continents of Africa and Asia joined to a great southern landmass, named Terra Incognita Secundum Protemeum. Surrounding the map are decorative clouds and personified depictions of … Read Full Description

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S/N: COSMOMUNSTER-WM-1588-MUNS-SHIR-162–232058
(C024)
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Details

Full Title:

Ptolemeisch General Tafel, die halbe Kugel der Welt begreissende.

Date:

C1588

Mapmaker:

Sebastian Munster (1489 - 1552)

Condition:

In good condition with centre fold as issued.

Technique:

Hand coloured woodcut.

Image Size: 

360mm 
x 310mm
AUTHENTICITY
Ptolemeisch General Tafel, die halbe Kugel der Welt begreissende. - Antique Map from 1588

Genuine antique
dated:

1588

Description:

Early world woodcut map according to Ptolemy, by the German cartographer Sebastian Münster, with the continents of Africa and Asia joined to a great southern landmass, named Terra Incognita Secundum Protemeum. Surrounding the map are decorative clouds and personified depictions of the twelve winds proposed by Aristotle, with their names appearing in banners.

Münster first issued his edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia in 1540, adding a number of new maps to the collection and in 1588 he completely replaced the world map that appeared in those earlier editions with this map. Changes include, naming of the Tropic of Capricorn and Cancer and the word ‘Climata is added to the table on the right. All the wind-heads have been changed and the banner for each is reduced in size. This map was first published in 1588 and subsequently issued unchanged in 1592, 1598, 1614, 1615 and 1628.

The concept of Terra Australis Incognita and a landlocked Indian Ocean were first proposed by Ptolemy in his Geographia. These concepts influenced all mapmakers until Bartholomew Dias’s discovery of the sea route around the Cape of Good Hope in 1487. This new route provided the Portuguese with direct access to the rich Asian trade, allowing them to avoid the Venetian-controlled spice trade into Europe via the Middle East and Adriatic Sea.

Sri Lanka is named Taprobana and shown as a comparatively very large island and incorrectly placed to the west of a truncated Indian subcontinent. The source of the Nile is shown as being several lakes south of the equator and other important inland details include the Himalayas, the Euphrates River and the Swiss Alps.

From Münster’s Geographia Universalis vetus et Nova…Claudii Ptolemaei., Basle.

Reference: 

Clancy 1.1, ill.p. 13, Imago Mundi XVI p.95, Shirley 162, p.183

Mapmaker:

Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) 

Munster was an important German cartographer, cosmographer and Hebrew scholar who is best known for his 1540 Latin translation and publication of Ptolemy’s Cosmographia. Prior to the introduction of the printing for books, works such as Ptolemy’s groundbreaking Cosmographia could only be copied by scribes, consequently this slow process inhibited the dissemination of geographic knowledge to a wide audience. As information became available especially of the new world, Munster found that Ptolemy’s theories were contradicted by new discoveries that were related to him by ships captains and explorers. One such theory was a ‘land locked Indian Ocean’ which Ptolemy had shown in his Cosmographia and which was being disproved by the trading ships returning from China and the Spice Islands with their precious cargos.

As a result Munster began to add his own new maps to the Geographica that reflected these new discoveries and made available to a wide audience this changing knowledge of the world.

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