Rare map.

Munster's Ptolemaic British Isles within a trapizoid border. No towns are marked, but the positions of the major tribes are marked, with two text boxes listing all the tribes of Britain and Ireland. Scotland is orientated to the east, with much of the interior filled with the Caledonian Forest. To the north are the '30 islands' of the Orkneys and the island of Thule. On verso is a small text in a decorative woodblock border.

First edition, second state of Munster's map of the British Isles.

Uncoloured as issued. Very good condition.

Ref SHIRLEY: British Isles 1477-1650, 27.

code : M2758

Cartographer : Sebastian Munster

Date : 1542 Basle

Size : 27.5*35 cms

availability : Sold

Price : Sold

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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.