PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. c.100-c.170. Cosmographia.  Translated by Jacobus Angelus. Edited by Domitius Calderinus. Rome: [Conradus Sweynheym, succeeded by] Arnold Bucking, 10 October 1478.
Lot 2
PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. c.100-c.170.
Cosmographia. Translated by Jacobus Angelus. Edited by Domitius Calderinus. Rome: [Conradus Sweynheym, succeeded by] Arnold Bucking, 10 October 1478.
US$ 600,000 - 800,000
£ 470,000 - 630,000

Lot Details
PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. c.100-c.170. Cosmographia.  Translated by Jacobus Angelus. Edited by Domitius Calderinus. Rome: [Conradus Sweynheym, succeeded by] Arnold Bucking, 10 October 1478. PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. c.100-c.170. Cosmographia.  Translated by Jacobus Angelus. Edited by Domitius Calderinus. Rome: [Conradus Sweynheym, succeeded by] Arnold Bucking, 10 October 1478. PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. c.100-c.170. Cosmographia.  Translated by Jacobus Angelus. Edited by Domitius Calderinus. Rome: [Conradus Sweynheym, succeeded by] Arnold Bucking, 10 October 1478. PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. c.100-c.170. Cosmographia.  Translated by Jacobus Angelus. Edited by Domitius Calderinus. Rome: [Conradus Sweynheym, succeeded by] Arnold Bucking, 10 October 1478.
PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. c.100-c.170.
Cosmographia. Translated by Jacobus Angelus. Edited by Domitius Calderinus. Rome: [Conradus Sweynheym, succeeded by] Arnold Bucking, 10 October 1478.
Folio (393 x 296 mm). Collation: [1-48.10 5-78 810 9-148 156]. 123 (of 124) leaves (lacks8/10 blank). 1/1r blank; 1/1v dedication to Sixtus IV; 1/2r-8/9r text; 8/9v colophon; 8/10 blank [lacking]; 9-15 copperplate maps printed on one side only. Type 1:115R. 50 lines. Double-column. 2-, 3- and 7-line initial spaces, mostly with printed guide letters, initials supplied in alternating red and blue. 27 COPPER-ENGRAVED MAPS with 23 additional engraved maps bound in at end from the 1541 Vienna edition published by Gaspar Trechsel. 19-century morocco richly gilt by Guerin, covers with elaborate inlaid geometrical strap-work designs in gilt, with red and black morocco inlays, spine in six compartments with similarly decoration, gilt lettered in second, some rubbing, wear at corners. Text and engraved maps mounted on modern guards throughout, initial on 1/2r replaced, marginal repair to few text leaves, first and third maps, fourth and last map with several repaired tears crossing image, a few maps trimmed closely just touching text, some intermittent soiling, pale stains, light marginal staining, some maps with light worming.

ONE OF THE RAREST PTOLEMY EDITIONS OF THE COSMOGRAPHIA, PRINTED A YEAR AFTER THE BOLOGNA EDITION, THIS THE THIRD EDITION, AND THE SECOND WITH MAPS, IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST PRINTED BOOKS TO CONTAIN COPPER-ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATIONS. This 1478 Rome edition of Ptolemy was preceded only by the 1475 Vicenza edition (without maps), Goff P-1081, and the Bologna edition dated "1462" but printed in 1477, also with copperplate maps but of far cruder quality.

"THIS EDITION OF PTOLEMY'S ATLAS BY FAR OUTSHONE ANY OTHER FIFTEENTH CENTURY EDITION, both in regard to the scholarship of the text and in the accuracy, beauty and careful engraving of the maps themselves ... the labor on this Rome edition had been in progress even before the Bologna partnership was formed to produce the Ptolemaic maps that succeeded in appearing first" (The World Encompassed).

An unsigned dedication to Pope Sixtus IV appears in this Rome edition, is possibly supplied by Dom Nicolaus, known to have been in Rome under Sixtus's patronage at the time. The dedication mentions both Sweynheym and the editor Calderinus as recently dead (probably of plague in June 1478), and says that Sweynheym's work on the plates was begun more than three years previously. Arnoldus Buckinck, the printer named on the colophon, is not recorded in any other book and was most likely one of Sweynheym's workmen.

"There is evidence that the work on the Rome edition had been started in 1473 or 1474 ... many consider the Rome plates to be the finest Ptolemaic plates produced until Gerard Mercator engraved his classical world atlas of 1578" (Shirley World 4). The plates were saved and reused in the 1490 Rome edition of Petrus de Turre and in the 1507 Rome edition of Bernardinus de Vitalibus. This copy contains 23 additional maps from the 1541 Vienna edition of Gaspar Trechsel (the second edition edited by Servetus). These comprise the 22 maps of the modern world and the map of Lotharingia. The maps are printed from unaltered blocks used in Lorenz Fries's edition printed by Gruninger in 1522 (the final map is captioned with this date and Fries's initials), in Gruninger's Strasbourg edition of 1525 and in the first Trechsel edition printed at Lyons in 1535 (see Burden 4).

THIS IS THE EDITION OF PTOLEMY USED BY CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS prior to his Voyage of Discovery to the New World in 1492 (see R.A. Skelton's introduction to the 1966 facsimile edition of the 1478 edition). This atlas is of the greatest rarity: only one other copy of this work in atlas form has appeared at auction over the last 100 years, namely the Garden copy, with colored maps, sold at Sotheby's New York, 9 November 1989, for $264,000. In 1936, Sothebys London sold a set of the maps bound without text but printed on vellum.

BMC IV 78; BSB-Ink P-858; Goff P-1083; GW M36368; HC 13537; Klebs 812.3; Pr 6313; PMM 18 (note); Rosenwald LC 225; Sabin 66470; Sander 5975; Shirley 4; Stevens-Ayer 38; The World Encompassed 36.
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