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Ptolemy, active 2nd century

Prima Europa tabula.

Additional Title(s):

Prima Evropa tabvla

[Ulm] : [Lienhart Hol], [1486]
Physical Description:
1 map : woodcut ; 35 x 39 cm, on sheet 41 x 57 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio C 2010 1b
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Maps & Atlas (printed)
Scale not given
Woodcut probably by Johannes Schnitzer, who is known to have engraved the world map in the same atlas.
Second issue of the first woodcut map of the British Isles. It first appeared in the 1482 (Ulm) edition of Ptolemy's Cosmographia.
Includes names of places and natural features.
In margin: notes on latitude.
Map from Ptolemy's Cosmographia, printed by Lienhart Hol at Ulm in 1486.
Shirley, R.W. Early printed maps of the British Isles, 1477-1650 (1991 edition), 5
Selected exhibitions: "The Mapmaker's art : 300 years of British cartography" (Yale Center for British Art, January 17-March 12, 1989).
BAC: British Art Center copy is hand-colored.
Depicts the British Isles, including Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. The map is highly inaccurate. Ptolemy intended to use only authentic sightings as a base for his maps, but as Britain lay at the edge of the known world in 150 A.D., his sources consisted of second- or third-hand voyagers' reports rather than precise astronomical observations. The coastline is quite crudely defined and the whole of Britain is distorted by the peculiar east-west orientation of Scotland. There is no indication of longitude and latitude, though the length of the longest day is noted at intervals in the right-hand margin. As these figures are based on latitude, they give some indication of position.
Subject Terms:
British Isles -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Ireland -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Maps -- British Isles.
Woodcuts -- 1486.
Ptolemy, active 2nd century. Geographia. Latin.
Hol, Lienhart, publisher.
Schnitzer, Johannes, engraver.

The Mapmaker's Art: 300 Years of British Cartography (Yale Center for British Art, January 17, 1989-March 12, 1989) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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