Deutschland – Germany – Tabula Europae IIII ; S. Münster / C. Ptolemy – 1540-1552

Sebastian Münster (1488 – 1552) / Claudius Ptolemy (ca. 100-170 AD) / Heinrich Petri (1508–1579).

Sehr attraktiver antike Ptolemäus-Karte des germanischen Raumes von Sebastian Münster nach Claudius Ptolemäus. Holzschnit aus der Geographia, Münsters Ptolemäus-Ausgabe, erschienen zwischen 1540 und 1552.

Very attractive antique Ptolemy map of the German region by Sebastian Münster after Claudius Ptolemy. Woodcut from the Geographia, Münster’s Ptolemy edition, published between 1540 and 1552.


1 in stock



  • Type: cartographic print
  • Title: Tabula Europae IIII
  • Publication: 1540-1552
  • Technique: woodcut
  • Carthographer: Claudius Ptolemy / Martin Waldseemüller / Sebastian Münster (adjustments)
  • Illustrator: Sebastian Münster
  • Geographia Universalis, Vetus et Nova (..) by Henri Petri in Basel
  • 26.5 x 34.0 cm (10.4 x 13.4 inches)
  • 31.0 x 41.3 cm (12.2 x 16.3 inches)
  • Verso: Latin text, pg. 6
  • M2290G
  • Source: Meurer Corpus 0.2.3 / 2.8.1, Nordenskiöld Early history of carthography 34, Ruland Imago Mundi

Condition: A

Sehr gut, dem Alter entsprechend. Mittelfalte wie veröffentlicht. Schöner klarer Druck. Allgemeine altersbedingte Tönung und/oder gelegentliche kleinere Mängel durch die Handhabung. Einige Verfärbungen an den Rändern aufgrund vorheriger Rahmung. Kleines Loch im unteren Rand.

Very good, given age. Centrefold as issued. Nice clear print. General age-related toning and/or occasional minor defects from handling. Some discoloration in the margins due to previous framing. Little hole in lower margin.

Sebastian Münster (1488 – 1552)

Sebastian Münster was een beroemde Duitse carthograaf en cosmograaf. In 1505 werd Münster Franciscaner monnik, vanaf 1509 als leerling van Konrad Pelikan. Münster voltooide zijn studie aan de Universiteit van Tübingen in 1518. Nadat Münster in 1518 naar Bazel was verhuisd publiceerde hij zijn eerste tekst Epitome Hebraicae Grammaticae. Dit werk was één van de eerste taalboeken over Hebreeuws die in Duitsland werd gepubliceerd. Van 1521 tot 1529 werkte en doceerde Münster in Heidelberg. Hij publiceerde er talrijke Hebreeuwse teksten, in 1531 Horologiographia (uurwerken en zonnewijzers) en in 1536 Organum Uranicum (bewegingen der planeten).

In 1536 maakte Münster als eerste een kaart van Europa op één blad. Bovendien op het zuiden georiënteerd, een noviteit in navolging van Waldseemüller en Ertzlaub. Deze kaartenmakers waren in staat om de gangbare Ptolemeus kaarten te verbeteren en de nieuwe wereld vorm te geven. Vanaf 1544 publiceerde Münster de Cosmographia met kaarten en beschrijvingen van de wereld. De impact van dit vernieuwende boek was zo groot, dat wij Münster mogen beschouwen als één van de belangrijkste wetenschappers van onze geschiedenis.

In mei 1552 stierf Münster aan de pest in Bazel en werd daar begraven. Zijn werken bleven invloedrijk in de periode van de volgende generatie ‘moderne’ kaartenmakers. Na de dood van Heinnrich Petri in 1579 naam zijn zoon Sebastian Henric Petri de uitgeverij over.

Sebastian Münster was a German cartographer, cosmographer and professor. He was born in Niederingelheim, as a farmer’s son. In 1505 Münster became a Franciscan monk and studied philosophy and theology at the university of the order in Heidelberg. In 1507 he continued his education in Löwen, where he studied mathematics, geography and astronomy. After a transfer to Freiburg, he also began to study Hebrew, which he continued after entering the St. Katharina monastery in Rouffach/Alsace in 1509 to study under Konrad Pellikan, the important German humanist. Beyond theology, Pellikan was a teacher of Hebrew, Greek, mathematics and cosmography and Münster became interested in these subjects. In 1511, when Pellikan moved to Pforzheim, Münster duly followed him. In 1512 Sebastian Münster was ordained as a priest in Pforzheim. From 1514 to 1518 he taught as a lecturer of philosophy and theology at the university of his order in Tübingen and conducted astronomical-mathematical and geographical studies.

After Münster moved to Basel in 1518, he published his first text, a survey of Hebrew grammar Epitome Hebraicae Grammaticae, which was one of the first-ever language books on Hebrew published in Germany. From 1521 to 1529 Münster worked and taught in Heidelberg, published numerous Hebrew texts and wrote the first books written in Aramaic ever to be published in Germany. His permanent cosmographical interest is reflected by his lectures at the university and his published map of Germany in 1525, as well as his treatise on sundials in Erklerung des newen Instrument der Sunnen in 1528.

Being a Franciscan monk, he subsequently became a friend of Martin Luther and in 1529 Sebastian Münster converted to the reformation and took over the chair of Hebrew at the University of Basel, where reformation had just been established. A little later he married Ana Selber, the widow of his book printer. Münster’s stepson Heinrich Petri from then on published most of his books. In 1534-1535 Sebastian Münster finally published his main work in Hebrew, which met with international acclaim: a two-volume edition of the Old Testament “Biblia Hebraica” with a Latin translation and annotations.

In 1536, Münster was the first to make a map of Europe on one sheet. Moreover, it is oriented to the south, a novelty following Waldseemüller and Ertzlaub. These mapmakers were able to improve the common Ptolemy maps and shape the new world. From 1540 Münster published the Cosmographia with maps and descriptions of the world. The impact of this innovative book was so great that we can consider Münster as one of the most important scientists in our history.

In the May of 1552, Münster died of plague in Basle and was buried in there, but his works remained influential in the period of the next generation of great modern map makers. After the death of Heinnrich Petri in 1579, his son Sebastian Henric Petri continued publishing.

Ptolemy’s Geographia in Renaissance Europe

Claudius Ptolemy (Egypt: ca. 100-170 AD) was an ancient geographer, astronomer, and mathematician. He was the first to use longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates. This idea of a global coordinates system was highly influential, and we use a similar system today. 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.

You may also like…