HELVETIAE MODERNA DESCRIPTIO
Attractive and early woodcut map showing Switzerland, South Germany and the Lake Bodensee below right. Fine colored map of Switzerland and the Alps, with north oriented to the right.
The map encompasses places such as Basel, Bern, and Zürich, and the lakes of Lucern and Zürich.
This charming map was published in the 1550-edition of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia. This edition is considered to be Münster’s Magnum Opus. Villages, churches, mountains and woods are attractively drawn pictorially.
Good hand colour
Very good condition
code : M5020
Cartographer : Sebastian Munster
Date : 1550 Basel
Size : 26*34.5 cms exc title . sheet 29.5*38 cms
availability : Available
Price : £250
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.