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1581 APIANUS Cosmographia (French) COSMOGRAPHY ASTRONOMY Geography MAP Americana


Item History and Pricing
Information:
Year Printed: 1581Author: Petrus Apianus; Gemma Frisius
Modified Item: NoSubject: Science & Medicine
Country/Region of Manufacture: BelgiumOriginal/Facsimile: Original
Topic: AstronomyLanguage: French
Binding: LeatherPublisher: Jean Bellére
Region: EuropePlace of Publication: Antwerp
Format: QuartoSpecial Attributes: 2nd French Edition, PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED WITH LARGE WOODCUTS, 4 woodcuts w/ VOLVELLES, FOLD-OUT CORDIFORM WORLD MAP by Gemma Frisius, w/ GEMMA FRISIUS' ON TRIANGULATION etc., +excerpts of LOPEZ DE GOMARA & GIRAVA on AMERICA, Illustrated
Original Description:
[Early Printing - Low Countries - Antwerp] [Early Illustrated Books] [History of Science] [Cosmography] [Astronomy - Ptolemaic] [Geography] [Applied Geometry and Geodesy] [Instruments - Astronomical & Geodesic] [Early Americana] [Maps & Cartography]

Printed in Antwerp by Jean Bellère, 1581.Text in French. Lavishly illustrated with numerous superb large woodcuts, maps and astronomical diagrams (? of which with volvelles), and a FINE FOLDING WOODCUT CORDIFORM WORLD MAP.SC...ARCE 2ND (ENLARGED) FRENCH EDITION of Apianus' immensely popular Cosmographia, a landmark of Renaissance astronomical and geographical literature. This edition was CONSIDERABLY EXPANDED TO INCLUDE ADDITIONAL MATERIAL ON THE NEW WORLD (AMERICAS) compiled from the accounts by Lopez de Gomara and Geronimo Girava (which were invluded in the 1575 Spanish edition of Apianus' Cosmographia)."IN ITS LATER FORM, AS MODIFIED BY GEMMA FRISIUS, THE COSMOGRAPHIA WAS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR TEXTS OF THE TIME AND WAS TRANSLATED INTO ALL MAJOR EUROPEAN LANGUAGES." (DSB I, p.179)An important feature of this edition is A FINE FOLD-OUT WOODCUT CORDIFORM WORLD MAP BY GEMMA FRISIUS. This remarkable map (see Shirley 82) which first appeared in the 1544 Frisius' edition of of Apianus' Cosmographia is "one of the earliest obtainable world maps not based upon the works of Ptolemy. North America is depicted as a narrow stretch of land extending almost eastwards. Cuba and Hispaniola are shown as huge islands and the Mountains of the Moon considered the source of the River Nile. The map includes a Northwest passage, above which is a fascinating Asian projection. North America, called Baccalearum for its Cod fisheries. The narrow Straits of Magellan represent the only passage between South America and an understated Southern Continent. A 'truncated' cordiform projection is used which prevents the south polar regions being represented. "The map is bordered by signs of the zodiac and the Ptolemaic climatic zones. Zeus and Mars, wearing the coats of arms of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, are shown atop the map while wind-heads at the south represent the traditional believed plague-bearing nature of those winds. The map is highly decorative but also AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN THE HISTORY OF CARTOGRAPHY as it is one of the earliest maps to show a representation of America, or the name itself." (Barry Lawrence Ruderman Map Collection at Stanford Libraries)Also included in this edition are some supplemental works by Gemma Frisius, mostly dealing with the use and construction of various astronomical, geodesic and cartographic instruments and techniques.  Of these the most influential and important is Gemma's treatise on topographical triangulation Libellus de locorum describendorum ratione (here given in French translation), "suggesting the present method of obtaining longitude by means of the difference of time, and taking one of the first steps toward the modern methods of triangulation" (Smith, History of Mathematics I, p.341). "For many decades the book, updated with triangulation surveying methods in 1533, was the standard handbook for geographers as well as surveyors." (Bill Katz, Cuneiform to Computer: A History of Reference Sources, p.232)"The Flemish mathematician Reiner Gemma Frisius (1508 - 55), a student and then lecturer at the University of Louvain, described and presumably invented in 1533 the technique of triangulation. He described and illustrated the principles in his Libellus de locorum describendorum ratione, which formed the appendix to his edition of Peter Apian's Cosmographicus liber (1533). The technique was essential for large-scale mapping, but only slowly came into use. Philipp Apian (son of Peter) used it for his map of Bavaria, published at Ingolstadt in 1568. The astronomer Tycho Brahe used it for his map of the island of Hveen, Denmark, in 1596, and for a map of Baden around 1600." (I. Grattan-Guiness, Companion Encyclopedia of the History and Philosophy of the Mathematical Sciences, vol.II)"Gemma published a work in 1533 on land surveying methods that [...] was printed with subsequent editions of Apian's Cosmographicus liber. The aim of the work was to explain how to construct a map of a particular area with the aid of land measurements. It contained information on astronomical as well as terrestrial principles and the necessary instruments. Many editions of the Cosmographicus liber were published, with translations in Spanish, French, and Flemish. [...] The work became by far the most widespread manual for mapmakers and instrumentmakers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Gemma's most important example relates to the determination of the positions of the towns near  Brussels and Antwerp through the use of angle measurements made from particular viewpoints. To measure the angles, Gemma used a compass, a circle divided into quarters (each further divided into ninety degrees), an alidade, and a circular sheet of paper on which to record the observations for each city." (David Woodward, Cartography in the European Renaissance, Part I, p.483)Throughout the 16th century. Apianus' Cosmographicus liber (later editions titled Cosmographia) was a fundamental work on cosmography as well as cartography, geography, and astronomy. First published in 1524 in Latin, it was subsequently translated into Spanish, French, and Dutch. Twenty-nine editions were published within eighty-five years. Karrow notes that in the Cosmographia the author explains "the division of the earth into climatic zones, the uses of parallels and meridians, the determination of latitude, several methods for determining longitude including that of lunar distance, the use of trigonometry to determine distances, several types of map projections, and many other topics." (R. Karrow, Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century & Their Maps, p.53)In his work Apianus gave short but vivid descriptions of the newly discovered lands in the New World: one section in Chap. 4 of Part II is devoted to America (Apianus' description uses material derived from Johann Schöner's Luculentissima quaedam terrae totius descriptio, Nuremberg, 1515), he mentions Vespucci, while neglecting to mention the name of Columbus; also of American interest is the list of islands of the New World "Insulae Americae" in Chap. 5, which gives a long inventory of geographical locales with their longitude & latitude coordinates. Apianus was one of the leading early promoters of the name America for the newly-discovered continent.This 1581 French edition also provides additional accounts of America excerpted from 'Historia general de las Indias' by Francisco López de Gómara (c. 1511 - 1566), a Spanish historian particularly noted for his description of Hernán Cortés' expedition to the New World, and from the Cosmographia by Geronimo Girava (c.1495 - 1556), a Spanish cartographer and engineer, who worked in Italy. Altogether the American material occupies pages 153-187 of this edition.A pioneer in astronomical and geographical instrumentation, and one of the most successful scientific popularizers of the sixteenth century, Petrus Apianus (1495-1552) was born as Peter Bienewitz, a son of a shoemaker in Leinig in Saxony and was educated at the University of Leipzig in 1516-19. In 1519, Apianus moved to Vienna and continued his studies at the University of Vienna, which was considered one of the leading universities in geography and mathematics at the time. When the plague broke out in Vienna in 1521, he moved to Regensburg and then to Landshut, where in 1524 he produced his Cosmographia (initially titled Cosmographicus liber). "Apian's first major work, Cosmographia (1524), was based on Ptolemy. Starting with the distinction between cosmography, geography, and chorography, and using an ingenious and simple diagrams, the book defines terrestrial grids; describes the use of maps and simple surveying; defines weather and climate; and provides thumbnail sketches of the continents. In its later form, as modified by Gemma Frisius, the Cosmographia was one of the most popular texts of the time and was translated into all major European languages." (DSB) In 1527 Apianus moved from Landshut to Ingolstadt, when he was appointed professor of mathematics at the university, and remained there until his death in 1552. With his brother Georg, Petrus Apianus established his own private press here, from which he published maps, astronomical tables, and, most famously, the lavish 1540 Astronomicon Caesareum, called by Owen Gingerich "the most spectacular contribution of the book-maker's art to sixteenth-century science." Starting from 1529, editions of Apianus' Cosmographicus liber have been amended and enlarged by his eminent student, the Gemma Frisius, a Dutch globe- and instrument-maker, mathematician and cartographer, who was native of Friesland. "Although he was a practicing physician, he is remembered for his contributions to geography and mathematics. ... His edition greatly expanded Apianus' work, especially the astronomical content, and he added the volvelles. He later added to his Apianus edition (1533) a chapter, 'Libellus de locorum describendorum ratione', [in which] he was first to propose - and illustrate - the principle of triangulation as a means of carefully locating places and accurately mapping areas". (DSB) Apianus "followed the traditional Ptolemaic theory of an inhabited world of four quarters correlated with the four triangles recognized in the Zodiac, though he attributed the irregular procession of the equinoxes to the oscillating movement of the sphere of the fixed stars, an idea derived from Arab astronomers. The inhabited earth stands in the middle of the universe and is a mere dot in such vastness. Apianus followed contemporary teaching on the zones, circles of latitudes and climates, and on how to determine latitude and longitude in relation to the pole star, and also on the representation of the earth on a globe. [...] "[He] followed Ptolemy's interpretations of geography as essentially map drawing. This included studies such as the relation of islands, peninsulas, isthmuses and even continents to the water by which they were surrounded. In the Cosmographicus liber he gives a survey of the world beginning in western Europe and then to Asia, Africa and, finally, America. Rivers, lakes and mountains are mentioned, though little is said of the ocean, and in general precedence is given to the listing of kingdoms, countries and provinces with their cities and peoples. [...]"Nevertheless his list of 1,417 places in the Cosmographicus liber is of interest [...] The 0°meridian appeared to Apianus to run through the Canary Islands and Lisbon, and to end at 356° on the east coast of America. The latitudes for localities in Germany and central Europe are surprisingly accurate though those for Switzerland deviate by as much as 1° from their true location. Remoter areas are less precisely located, for Apianus had to depend entirely on written information. On longitudes the errors are far greater, even for places such as Paris and Leipzig. Even so, the list of places with latitude and longitude represents the first substantial progress since the work of Ptolemy and this explains the wide circulation of [...] Cosmographicus liber. "Apianus in his own lifetime was regarded as a major exponent of the then conventional view of the universe. The Cosmographicus liber made his name known for a century, especially for the heart-shaped projection and the gazetteer of places with their coordinates. It seemed that mathematical geography would be taught to many generations of school pupils, but in the Reformation period a broader and more humanistic geography gained strength. The work on astronomy and cosmography was soon outdated by Copernican revolution, but the measurement of the movement of stars remained respected for several years." (K. Hoheisel, Peter Apianus, in T. W. Freeman (ed.), 'Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies') Bibliographic references:Alden and Landis 581/2; JCB I:283; Van Ortoy 57; Sabin 1751n. Physical description:Quarto, textblock measures 23 x 16 cm. Rebound in modern half-leather over marbled boards, spine with raised bands and a red, gilt-lettered label. (Endpopers renewed, but retaining earlier fly-leaves.)  Pagination: [8], 333 (i.e. 337), [1] pages.
Collation: ¶4 A-I4 L-Z4 Aa-Tt4 Vv6 [-Vv6 blank]; signature K used for the folding map.
Collated and COMPLETE (without the rear blank), including the fold-out map.Title with large woodcut of a globe. Profusely illustrated with numerous, mostly large (a few full-page) astronomical, geographical, and geodesic woodcuts (including a few small maps) and geometrical diagrams in text, as well as a superb folding woodcut cordiform Map of the World facing p.72. Four of the woodcuts (on C2v, D1v, I1v and Bb3r) are with volvelles, i.e. movable parts (but, as often, without string pointers). Numerous fine historiated and decorative woodcut initials of various sizes.Preliminaries include tables of contents, prefatory poems, and a dedicatory epistle by the printer Jean Bellère, addressed to Antwerp merchants, brothers Gaspar, Melchior and Baltasar de Smidt.Condition:Very Good antiquarian condition. Complete, with a fold-out world map and four volvelles (the volvelle on C2v is partially glued to page, making it immobile; others are fully mobile and functional, although without string-pointers, as often). Light oily-stain to top outer corner, mostly within blank margin, a bit heavier in the last five quires (Qq-Vv), otherwise barely noticeable and entirely confined to the blank margins. Occasional light toning to paper. A few leaves with very minor marginal worming (quite harmless, and not affecting printed area). Folding map with bottom margin somewhat cropped and slightly chipped along the bottom edge (cutting into printed names of South winds, the actual image of the map proper not affected). In all, a nice, well-margined, solid and clean example of this fine and uncommon edition.
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