Superb early rare map of Scandinvia.

One of the earliest maps of Scandinavia. It was based on the unobtainable 1539 Olaus Magnus map of Scandinavia, which for many years presented the best geographical knowledge of the northern parts of Europe and the Atlantic. Although a highly reduced and simplified version of its model, Munster’s map contains a more accurate view of the region than the one it replaced in his atlases. Based on Ziegler’s 1532 untitled map of Scandinavia, Munster’s Schonlandia XIII Nova Tabula would only appear in the 1540 and 1542 editions of Geographia, whereas this map was in publication from 1544 to 1578. Yet despite this longevity, it is not common. According to Ginsberg, while there were thirty editions of Munster’s Cosmographia during this period, most did not include this map: “about half of the 15 German editions include the map, as does only one of five Latin editions. None of the nine French and Italian editions includes it.” This edition, with coordinate bars bordering the map, only appeared in the 1552 edition of Munster’s Geographia.

Both Iceland and Scotland are included in the woodcut with the latter having place names for only Edinburgh and St. Andrews.

Excellent hand colour and near mint condition

code : M5035

Cartographer : Sebastian Munster

Date : 1552 Basel

Size : 30*38.5 cms

availability : Available

Price : £1250

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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.