AFRICA TABULA NOVA
Based on the Ortelius map of 1570, this map appears in editions of Munster's Cosmographia after 1580.. The woodblock map is elegantly engraved in the style of copper engravings. It depicts the continent with a jagged coastline with several prominent bays. In the interior there are several large lakes, including the twin lakes source of the Nile. The coast of Brazil appears in the lower left corner. Two small ships, a sea monster and a block-style title cartouche decorate the map. German text and illustration on verso.
Superb hand colour. Excellent condition.
Refs: Ref: Betz #21; Norwich #14
code : M4991
Cartographer : Sebastian Munster
Date : 1580 Basel
Size : 31*36 cms
availability : Available
Price : £495
Originally a scholar studying Hebrew, Greek and mathematics, Sebastian Munster (1489-1552) eventually specialised in mathematical geography and cartography. It was this double ability - as a classicist and mathematician - that was to prove invaluable when Munster set himself to preparing new editions of Solinus’ “Memorabilia” and Mela’s “De Situ Orbis”, two classical descriptive geographies containing maps, and his own two greatest works, the “Geographia” and “Cosmographia”. These reflect the widespread interest in classical texts, which were being rediscovered in the fifteenth century, and being disseminated in the later fifteenth and sixteenth century, through the new medium of printing.
The “Geographia” was a translation of Ptolemy’s landmark geographical text, compiled in about 150 AD., illustrated with maps based on Ptolemy’s calculations, but also, in recognition of the increased geographical awareness, contains a section of modern maps. In the first edition of the “Geographia”, Munster included 27 ancient Ptolemaic maps and 21 modern maps, printed from woodblocks. Subsequent editions of the “Cosmographia” were to contain a vast number of maps and plans.
One consequence of Munster’s work was the impetus it gave to regional mapping of Germany, but Munster was also the first cartographer to produce a set of maps of the four continents on separate maps. Most importantly, through his books (the “Geographia” and “Cosmographia” alone ran to over forty editions in six languages), Munster was responsible for diffusing the most up-to-date geographical information throughout Europe.