Lot 16. Shakespeare, William. Nova translatio primi [et septimi] libri Geographiae Cl. Ptolomaei

Starting price: $ 24 000
Auction date: 15.10.2021   00:00 UTC +01:00
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ID 627506
Lot 16 | Shakespeare, William. Nova translatio primi [et septimi] libri Geographiae Cl. Ptolomaei
PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius (c.100-170). Nova translatio primi [et septimi] libri Geographiae Cl. Ptolomaei. [And:] WERNER, Johannes (1468-1522). Libellus de quatuor terrarum orbis in plano figurationibus. [And:] AMIROUTZES, George (1400-1470). Opusculum de his quae geographiae. [And:] REGIOMONTANUS, Johannes (1436–1476). Epistula ad Reverendissimum patrem et dominum Bessarionem Cardinalem. Nuremberg: J. Stuchs, November 1514.

Scarce first edition of a new Latin translation of Ptolemy's Geography, with first appearance in print of Johannes Werner's iconic cordiform map projection. The work of the eminent Alexandrine geographer enjoyed a long and complicated afterlife in both the Arab and Latin worlds. Werner's translation was only the second to be published after that of Jacobus Angelus. Werner, a student of Regionmontanus, sought to update some mathematical errors in both the earlier translation and the original Geographia itself, and also here proposes a new cordiform map projection which is now referred to as the Stabius-Werner after Johannes Stabius, whose work Werner built upon. This projection was highly influential on the next generation of cartographers, including Mercator and Ortelius. This treatise is also the first publication of the Lunar Distance Theory for determining longitude, first proposed by Werner but later popularized by his fellow-countryman Peter Apian.

This edition also includes a little-known text by George Amiroutzes, which may have been originally intended to accompany a large map he had been commissioned to create for Mehmed II after the fall of Trebizond. "The content here is purely mathematical, and the essential problem considered is that of the variation in the degree of longitude, the resolution of which was considered indispensable for the resolution of two further issues, one scientific and the other practical: how to establish the relative distance between cities and between cities and the ends of the world and how to provide means for planning swift and efficient military operations. This is the only fifteenth-century treatise to deal with such questions" (Dalché). While Ptolemy fascinated for a variety of reasons, historical and philological as well as geographical, Germany was a particular hotbed of interest in his mathematical contributions. Werner's treatise is dedicated to the German humanist Willibald Pirckheimer, who—while not wholly uncritical of Werner's translation—certainly was influenced by it in the production of his own, quite well respected, edition of Ptolemy in 1525. No copies recorded at auction by ABPC/RBH. Sabin 66479. See also Patrick Gautier Dalché, “The Reception of Ptolemy’s Geography (End of the Fourteenth to Beginning of the Sixteenth Century)” in The History of Cartography, Volume 3: Cartography in the European Renaissance (2007).

Folio (299 x 203mm). Woodcut illustrations and diagrams (first and last leaves a little soiled with a few wormholes in blank margins, remains of paper index tab on first leaf). Modern gilt-stamped calf to style.

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Preview 01.10.2021 - 15.10.2021
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