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Martin Waldseemller
Strassburg, 1513


Original woodcut printed map
360 x 510 mm (not including title above map)
Uncolored as issued
Map # AF-568
$ Sold


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This is the earliest printed map of Africa south of the Equator Martin 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 "America").

The map shows considerable detail along the coast of Africa, with numerous landfalls and sightings recorded by the Portuguese.  The interior shows little detail, apart from the Mountain of the Moon.  The Mountains of the Moon, the traditional source of the Nile River is identified as "paludes nili", an earlier reference to the twin lakes.

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 we have not yet been able to undertake a direct comparison of placenames on this map to those of Africa on Waldseemuller's 1507 wallmap, we believe there is close similarity.

The book, Ptolemy's Geographia, from which this map of southern 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.  Norwich, Map # 149.  Claudius Ptolemaeus. Geographia., Strassburg, 1513.  with an introduction by R.A. Skelton.  Facsimile published by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd.  Amsterdam, 1966.

Fine Example, especially considering the age of this map.  Attractive, even patina to the handmade paper.  Strong image.  Binder stub is still on the verso of the map with no paper repairs.   A beautiful map from the beginning of the "Age of Discovery" and a wonderful companion to Waldseemuller's map of the northern half of Africa, Map #AAF-106.  These two Waldseemuller maps are seldom obtainable
at the same time.

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Hemispheres Antique Maps & Prints
Dr. Richard L. & Penelope W. Betz
Phone: 603-446-7181 • Fax: 603-446-2301