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Claudius Ptolemy's Ulm Map of the World by Leinhart Holle, 1486

1486 Claudius Ptolemy - Ulm Map of the World

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By: Claudius Ptolemy / Lienhart Holle

Date: 1486 (published) Ulm, Germany

Dimensions:  16.5 x 22 inches (42 x 56 cm)

The Ulm Ptolemy World Map is one of the most desirable of all early world maps which is still obtainable from time to time. Based on the descriptions and projections of Roman mathematician, astronomer and geographer Claudius Ptolemy, it was first published in Ulm in 1482 by Leinhart Halle. Following Halle’s bankruptcy it began to be published in 1486 by Johan Reger, also in Ulm.

Claudius Ptolemy (circa 100-178 CE), often called a Renaissance man of antiquity, wrote the famous work Geographia on which this map was based. An eight-volume work, the Geographia included all his observations and calculations regarding the size of the earth, as well as the co-ordinates for the positions of the places and features depicted on the map. It was an attempt to publish in one work all known scientific information of his time, and manuscripts and maps of other early cartographers and cosmographers, such as  Marinus of Tyre (present-day Lebanon) were all part of Ptolemy's sources of the most up to date scientific information. 

It is thought that Ptolemy's work originally came with maps, for early scholars have mentioned them, but to date, none are known to have survived. The form of the map published in Ulm was based on a map constructed by monks under the direction of Maximus Planudes, in the great Byzantine city of Constantinople, circa 1295,which made its way to western Europe. Planudes had discovered a copy of Ptolemy's work in one of the libraries of Constantinople, and understaning its importance, had copies of it made. Thus the work made its way to western Europe.  

As with so many works housed in the famous library of Alexandria, Ptolemy’s works were lost for centuries, with references to copies made from time to time. One such reference was made by Arabian scholar al-Mas’udi, who wrote in the middle of the tenth century that a copy of the Geographia mentioned a coloured map with more than 4,000 cities plotted and depicting more than 200 mountains and mountain ranges. Ptolemy is also known for his development of astronomical instruments. 

Condition: Map is in very fine condition with beautiful hand coloring over a strong print impression on clean and sturdy paper with ample margins on all sides.

Inventory #12536

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