Deutschland – Germany – Tabula IIII Europae : L. Fries / C. Ptolemy – 1525

Laurent Fries (1485-1532) / Martin Waldseemüller (1470-1520).

Sehr schöner altkolorierter antike Karte des germanischen Raumes von Laurent Fries nach Martin Waldseemüller. Holzschnitt aus einer Ptolemäus-Ausgabe von 1525.

Very attractive contemporary colored antique map of the German region by Laurent Fries after Martin Waldseemüller. Woodcut from a 1525 Ptolemy edition.


1 in stock


Early woodcut map showing the central part of Europe from Denmark to the Alps and from France to Poland. The origin of this map is the first so called ‘Modern Atlas’ by Martin Waldseemuller since it is the first Ptolemy edition with twenty new regional maps beside the traditional twenty-seven Ptolemaic maps derived from the 1482 Ulm edition. The Atlas is titled Geographie opus Novissima Traductione e Grecorum Archetypis and published by Johann Schott in Strasbourg in 1513 and is one of the most important editions of the Ptolemy Atlases. In 1520 a second edition of the atlas was printed by Schott from the same woodcut blocks. It was reissued in 1522 and 1525 by Laurent Fries and Johannes Gruninger with size reduced maps. This map is the second printing of the woodcut maps from the 1525 Strasbourg edition. The latin text on the verso of the map is flanked by ornate woodblock borders, which are said to be the work of Hans Holbein the Younger and Urs Graf.


  • Type: carthographic print
  • Title: Tabula IIII. Europae. Hae sunt e cognitis totius orbis prouincies seu prefecturis
  • Publication: 1525
  • Technique: woodcut  with contemporary coloring
  • Carthographer: Claudius Ptolemy / Martin Waldseemüller / Laurent Fries
  • Published in: Geographie opus Novissima Traductione e Grecorum Archetypis by Hans Koberger in Strasbourg
  • Printed by: Johannes Grünninger
  • 30.7 x 37.0 cm (12.1 x 14.6 inches)
  • Size paper: 38.5 x 50.0 cm (15.2 x 19.7 inches)
  • Verso: blank
  • M0580G
  • Source: Peter Meurer 2.5 1.b,  Nordenskiöld Early history of carthography 14

Condition: A

Sehr gut, dem Alter entsprechend. Centerfold wie ausgegeben, mit breiten Rändern. Scharfer Druck mit schöner – verblassender – Farbgebung. Altersbedingte Tonung und/oder vereinzelte kleinere Mängel durch Handhabung. Wenige Fleckchen, Oberrand ausgefranst.

Very good, given age. Centrefold as issued, with wide margins. Sharp print with beautiful – fading – coloring. Age-related toning and/or occasional minor defects from handling. A few stains, uppermargin frayed.


Laurent Fries (1485 – 1532)

Laurent Fries was a French physician and mathematician born in Mulhouse. After having successfully completed his education Fries established himself as a physician in Strasbourg in 1519. By this time, he had also established a reputation as a writer of medical publications. It was through these publications that Fries met the Strasbourg printer and publisher Johann Grüninger. Gruninger was associated with a group of scholars including, Walter Lud, Martin Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller. By the time they met, Gruninger was responsible for printing several of the maps prepared by Waldseemuller for the 1513 edition of Ptolemy.

In 1520 Fries produced a reduced version of Waldseemuller’s 1507 Ptolemaic World map. In 1522 Fries and Gruninger worked on a new edition of Geographia which was published by Johann Koberger. Here again, Fries evidently edited the maps reducing maps from the 1513 edition of the Geographie Opus Novissima, printed by Johann Schott. Fries also prepared three new maps for this publication, South-East Asia & the East Indies, China and the World. Again though, the geography for the three maps, were derived from Waldseemuller’s 1507 world map. The wood blocks of Fries were sold to Melchior and Gaspar Trechsel in Lyon. They published two editons of the Geographia in 1535 and 1541.

Martin Waldseemüller (1470 – 1520)

Waldseemüller was a German cartographer and humanist scholar. his work was influential among contemporary cartographers. He and his collaborator Matthias Ringmann are credited with the first recorded usage of the word America to name a portion of the New World in honour of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Waldseemüller was also the first to map South America as a continent separate from Asia, the first to produce a printed globe and the first to create a printed wall map of Europe. A set of his maps printed as an appendix to the 1513 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography is considered to be the first example of a modern atlas.

Ptolemy’s Geographia in Renaissance Europe

Claudius Ptolemy (Egypt: ca. 100-170 AD) was an ancient geographer, astronomer, and mathematician. He is known today through translations and transcriptions of his work, but little is known about his life besides his residence in Alexandria.

Several of his works are still known today, although they have passed through several alterations and languages over the centuries. The Almagest, in thirteen books, discusses astronomy. It is in the Almagest that Ptolemy postulates his geocentric universe. His geometric ideas are contained in the Analemma, and his optical ideas were presented in five books known as the Optica.

His geographic and cartographic work was immensely influential. In the Planisphaerium, Ptolemy discusses the stereographic projection. Perhaps his best-known work is his Geographia, in eight books. However, Ptolemy’s ideas had been absent from western European intellectual history for roughly a thousand years, although Arab scholars interacted with his ideas from the ninth century onward.

In 1295, a Greek monk found a copy of Geographia in Constantinople; the emperor ordered a copy made and the Greek text began to circulate in eastern Europe. In 1393, a Byzantine diplomat brought a copy of the Geographia to Italy, where it was translated into Latin in 1406 and called the Cosmographia. The manuscript maps were first recorded in 1415. These manuscripts, of which there are over eighty extant today, are the descendants of Ptolemy’s work and a now-lost atlas consisting of a world map and 26 regional maps.

When Ptolemy’s work was re-introduced to Western scholarship, it proved radically influential for the understanding and appearance of maps. Ptolemy employs the concept of a graticule, uses latitude and longitude, and orients his maps to the north—concepts we take for granted today. The Geographia’s text is concerned with three main issues with regard to geography: the size and shape of the earth; map projection, i.e. how to represent the world’s curve proportionally on a plane surface; and the corruption of spatial data as it transfers from source to source. The text also contains instructions as to how to map the world on a globe or a plane surface, complete with the only set of geographic coordinates (8000 toponyms, 6400 with coordinates) to survive from the classical world.

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