PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius (after 83 - ca. 168 AD). La Geografia. Commentaries by Sebastian Münster, translated by Pietro Andrea Mattioli. Venice: Niccolò Bascarini for Giovanni Battista Pederzano, 1548 [colophon dated October 1547].

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PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius (after 83 - ca. 168 AD). La Geografia. Commentaries by Sebastian Münster, translated by Pietro Andrea Mattioli. Venice: Niccolò Bascarini for Giovanni Battista Pederzano, 1548 [colophon dated October 1547]. 8vo (6 ½ x 4 1/4 in.; 16.5 x 10.8 cm.). Decorative woodcut side-borders to title-page, fine woodcut portrait of Ptolemy observing the heavens, 60 fine double-page copper-engraved maps by Giacomo Gastaldi, including 2 world maps (Shirley 87 and 88), embellished with sea-monsters, mermaids, ships, wild and unusual animals such as elephants and leopards etc., descriptive letterpress text and map numbers on rectos and versos of maps, woodcut illustrations and diagrams throughout, initials, and Pederzano's large woodcut device on colophon leaf 2D7r and verso of final leaf [Vaccaro Marche p.318, fig. 427]. With blank 2D8; front free endpaper and title-page repaired in the gutter. Contemporary Italian limp vellum, titled in manuscript on the spine, yapp fore-edges, three of four leather ties remaining; a bit marked; modern slipcase. "THE VERY FIRST ATLAS OF THE NEW WORLD" (Nordenskiold). First edition in Italian of Ptolemy's Geographia, a compilation of what was known about the world's geography in the Roman Empire during his time (ca. 90-168 AD). The earliest known manuscripts of Ptolemy's Geographia date to about 1300. The first printed version was published in 1477, then 1488, and in Ulm in 1482. However, these are all very large format atlases. This is the first small format atlas and therefore the first to be widely used by travelers. All maps of the present edition were engraved on copper by Giacomo Gastaldi (ca. 1500-1565), Cosmographer to the Venetian Republic and one of the greatest cartographers of the 16th century (Burden). Karrow has argued that Gastaldi's early contact with the celebrated geographical editor, Giovanni Battista Ramusio, and his involvement with the latter's work, Navigationi et Viaggi, prompted him to take to cartography as a full-time occupation. Gastaldi spent two years putting together the maps for Pietro Andrea Mattioli's new Italian translation of Ptolemy's geography. Although the colophon is dated 1547, Gastaldi's preface is dated 1548, and apart from the twenty-six Ptolemaic maps, Gastaldi included thirty-four modern maps. These latter were very influential, being entirely new works engraved on copper. Nodenskiöld states that 26 of the maps are Ptolemy's based on the woodcuts by Munster which illustrated the Basel edition of 1540, and the remaining 34 were after Gastaldi's own design. "This edition of Ptolemy's Geography was the most comprehensive atlas produced between Martin Waldseemuller's Geographiae of 1513 and the Abraham Ortelius Theatrum of 1570. "It was the first to contain maps of the American continent" (Burden). The seven maps relating to the Americas are the modern World map (map 59); "Carta marina", the first sea chart depicting the modern world (map 60); "Tierra nova", the first separate map of the South American Continent (map 54); "Nueva Hispania", the earliest separate map of the Gulf Coast, Mexico, and the present south-western United States (map 55); and "Tierra nueva [del Bacalaos]", the earliest individual map of the east coast of North America (map 56), showing the discoveries of Verrazzano and Cartier. These last five maps are the earliest printed American regional maps. The work also includes the first separate map devoted to Arabia and the first reference to Singapore on a printed map. The translation by the celebrated botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1501-1577) appears only in this edition; it was superseded by Girolamo Ruscelli's translation, which was first published in 1561 and frequently reprinted. PROVENANCE: Near contemporary marginal annotations referencing page numbers from Girava's "Dos libros de Cosmographis", place names on maps 9 (Germany) and 23 (Poland/Hungary) highlighted in sienna wash; Charles J. Tanenbaum, Collection of American Cartography. REFERENCES: Adams P-2234; Burden 16-17; Harvard "Italian" 404; Nordenskiöld Collection 214; Phillips "Atlases" 369; Sabin 66502; Shirley "Atlases of the British Library" T.PTOL-9a and b. Bookseller Inventory # 001856 Price: $135,000.