This is Martin Waldseemuller's important map of north Africa.
This is the earliest acquirable printed
"modern" map of Africa north of the Equator. Earlier
printed maps of north Africa were based on the classical
geography contained in Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia and appeared in Italy
(Bologna, Florence, & Rome) from 1478 and in Germany (Ulm) from
Waldseemuller is most known today as the author of the famous
1507 wallmap of the world, Universalis Cosmographia..., the only
known example of which was discovered in 1901 at Schloss Wolfegg
and recently acquired by the Library of Congress. (This
wallmap is the first to identify the New World with the wording
The map shows considerable detail along
the coast of Africa, with numerous landfalls and sightings
recorded by the Portuguese. The interior is less
detailed, with the identification of regions by name along
with mountain ranges and other geographical entries. The
source of the Nile is identified as "paludes nili", an earlier
reference to the twin lakes, which most people at the time
thought comprised the Nile River. Interestingly, the
Niger River, flowing east to west on later maps, is not shown
on this map.
The geography for the map is most
directly taken from the Genoese, Nicolo de Caverio's (or
Canerio), manuscript map of the world of 1502-06 (at the
Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris), which in turn was based on
an earlier Portuguese model. Evidently, a copy of
the Caverio map was passed to Waldseemuller and Ringmann by
Duke Rene, who was the patron for the group of geographers
working in St Die, France. Though I have not yet been
able to undertake a direct comparison of placenames on this
map to those of Africa on Waldseemuller's 1507 wallmap, I
believe there is close similarity.
The book, Ptolemy's Geographia, from which this map of
northern Africa was taken was published by Johann Schott in
Strassburg. The book contained a number of "modern"
maps, that is, maps based on an up-to-date knowledge of the
world from the accounts of the explorers, and not only on a
classical understanding of the world. There was a
re-printing of this book in 1520.
Though the book is dated 1513, it
appears that Martin Waldseemuller and Mathias Ringmann were
working on a new edition of the Geographia from 1507 (Skelton,
p. V). It is therefore likely that this map was prepared
sometime before 1513 and only found its way to print in 1513.
References: Betz, p. 55. Claudius Ptolemaeus. Geographia., Strassburg,
1513. with an introduction by R.A. Skelton.
Facsimile published by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd.
Fine condition. At bottom
centerfold, a filled wormhole. At bottom left and right
margins, some paper has been seamlessly added using a
reintegration machine. Manuscript page number "81" at
upper right corner. A beautiful map from the beginning
of the "Age of Discovery" and a wonderful companion to
Waldseemuller's map of the southern half of Africa, Map
#AF-568. These two Waldseemuller maps are seldom
obtainable at the same time.