By: Lorenz Fries
Date: 1522 / 1541 (published) Strassburg
Dimensions: 12.5 x 18.5 inches (31.75 x 47)
This striking hand-coloured Fries map of the world is one of the earliest obtainable world maps which features use of the name America. Though Fries often based much of his work on that of Martin Waldseemüller, this map is thought to be an original by Fries. The map bears his initials, and has a number of other unusual features suggesting it was of his making, including directional lines crossing the map, and a frame of banners depicting the names of the winds joined by looped coils of rope.
Fries depicts England and Scotland as separate islands, Greenland is located north of Scandinavia, and India is depicted as a double peninsula. South America is largely based on guesswork, as Magellan did not return to Europe from his circumnavigation until September 1522, several months after this map was first published.
Although it is known that Fries had sketched the famed map of 1507 created by Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringman, which did feature a northern continent, Fries omitted it from his map. The inclusion of the name no doubt does derive from his drawing of the great map, of which only one example is known to survive (until the early 20th Century, there were no known surviving examples). Interestingly, Fries’ sketch of the map was utilized by Apianus for his world map of 1520.
Modern scholarship has determined that it was Ringman who first penned the name America which, despite continuing politically motivated opposition for some time, eventually became universally accepted. The use of the term for two continents a few decades later by Gerard Mercator reinforced its acceptance.
The map is highly sought after, being one of the first realistically obtainable maps of the world to name America, and in general for being a remarkable reflection of the ambiguities of the age of discovery. The 1541 edition of the map can be distinguished from the earlier states by the inclusion of a second title above the map ( Tabula orbis cum descriptione venorum), which does not appear on the 1522, 1525 or 1535 states of the map.
Lorenz (Laurent) Fries was born in Alsace in about 1490. He studied medicine, apparently spending time at the universities of Pavia, Piacenza, Montpellier and Vienna. After completing his education, Fries worked as a physician in several places, before settling in Strassburg, in about 1519. While in Strassburg, Fries met the Strasbourg printer and publisher Johann Grüninger, an associate of the St. Die group of scholars formed by, among others, Walter Lud, Martin Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller.
From 1520 to 1525, Fries worked with Gruninger as a cartographic editor, exploiting the corpus of material that Waldseemuller had created. Fries' first venture into mapmaking was in 1520, when he executed a reduction of Martin Waldseemuller's wall-map of the World, published in 1507. While it would appear that Fries was the editor of the map, credit is actually given in the title to Peter Apian.
Fries next project was a new edition of the Geographia of Claudius Ptolemy, which was published by Johann Koberger in 1522. Fries evidently edited the maps, in most cases simply producing a reduction of the equivalent map from Waldseemuller's 1513 edition of the Geographie Opus Novissima, printed by Johann Schott. Fries also prepare three new maps for the Geographie: maps of South-East Asia and the East Indies, China, and the World, but the geography of these derives from Waldseemuller's world map of 1507.
The 1541 edition of the map can be distinguished from the earlier states by the inclusion of a second title above the map (Tabula orbis cum descriptione venorum), which does not appear on the 1522, 1525 or 1535 states of the map.