PETRUS APIANUS (1495-1552). Tipus Orbis Universalis Iuxta Ptolomei Cosmographi Traditionem Et Americi Vespucii Alorique. Vienna: Johannes Singrenius for Lucas Alantse, 1520.

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PETRUS APIANUS (1495-1552).

Tipus Orbis Universalis Iuxta Ptolomei Cosmographi Traditionem Et Americi Vespucii Alorique. Vienna: Johannes Singrenius for Lucas Alantse, 1520.

Along with the book in which this map is found, De Orbis situ libri tres which is described below the description of the map. 

Single sheet, float-mounted and framed (sheet size: 13 x 18 inches; 11 4/8 x 16 inches to the neat line; framed size: 24 x 29 inches). Fine woodcut map of the world in a cordiform projection by Laurent Fries, the title within a banner along the top edge, with a globe and sphere hanging beneath, the compass directions outside the neat line, showing North and South America, all surrounded by an elaborate border of windheads, wreaths and clouds.


Published in the 1520 edition of Julius Caius SOLINUS's (second half 3rd-century AD) "in. C.IVLII Solini [Polyhistora] Enarrationes". The world map prepared by Peter Apian is preceded in naming "America" only by and modeled on the large 1507 wall map by Waldseemüller, of which only one example remains. North and South America are represented as narrow strips of land separated by a wide channel. The northern continent is called merely "Terra incognita," but the southern has the inscription: "Anno d 1497 haec terra cum adiacetib, insulis inuenta est per Columbum Ianuensem ex mandato regis Castellae America puincia", in homage to Columbus as the discoverer of America, rather than Amerigo Vespucci, whom Waldeseemuller had named the landmass for on his map of 1507.

Three sets of initials appear cut into the woodblock: "Laurent Fries, whose initials appear in the lower right-hand corner, was probably the co-draughtsman or woodcutter... the other initials are those of Johann Kamers (Camertius) in whose book the map appeared and (in monograme form) L A or Luca Alantses who paid for the production of the map" (Shirley 45).

During the sixteenth-century, the quest for geographical knowledge of the world was primarily spurred on by trade and, in turn, the great trading nations of Europe also became leaders in the printing of maps. Italy and Germany were at the forefront of both, the former through her various sea-ports and the latter because of her location connecting land routes to the east and south-east. Centers for Italian map-making developed in Venice and in Germany, Nuremberg, the Rhineland and Vienna were pre-eminent. Peter Apian, also known by his Latin name Petrus Apainus, was professor of mathematics in the latter of these German centers. He also held mathematic chairs at Ingolstadt and Innsbruck and was known as a great astronomer. These skills combined with his interest in geography led to the establishment of his own printing press in Landshut. "His text book 'Cosmographicus Liber' first came out in 1524 and was re-issued for over eighty years" (Shirley, 45).


Description of the Book as follows:

Mela, Pomponius. De Orbis situ libri tres Two parts in one volume. Basel: Andreas Cratander, 1532.


Folio (11 15/16” X 7 ¾”, 303mm X 197mm). Title with woodcut historiated border signed HF, woodcut border for part 2 title, numerous woodcut historiated and foliated initials, double-page woodcut cordiform map of the world, woodcut printer's device on terminal leaf.


Bound in contemporary vellum. On the boards, an elaborate blind set of borders surrounding a panel of scrollwork. On the spine, four raised bands. Title manuscript to the first panel, author manuscript to the second, date manuscript at the foot.


With some loss at the foot. Scattered worming to the boards. Some general soiling and staining. A patch of wear to the lower fore-edge of the rear board. Leaves a3.4 loose, early tape repair to bottom margin of a4, a few short tears to bottom margin of preliminaries, light dampstaining to bottom margins throughout, more pronounced in latter half of text, margins of map skillfully restored, affecting some letters. The map is framed separately. With the ink ownership of the convent of St. Joseph, Innsbruck.  


Pomponius Mela was a first-century Roman geographer, whose three-book work on the geography and nature of the then-known world would remain central through the sixteenth century, was frequently cited as a crucial source by the better-known Pliny the Elder. The practice of inserting world maps in geographical texts flourished in the early sixteenth century, in many cases being one of the few ways that these rare maps have survived down the years.


Adams M-1056; Shirley 45;  Burden, The Mapping of North America, p. xxv, pl. XII.