1513. Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem

  • Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem

Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem information:

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 14614x11409 px
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Printing at 72 dpi 
  202.97 х 158.46
Printing at 150 dpi 
 97.43 х 76.06
Printing at 300 dpi 
 48.71 х 38.03

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Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem

The Earliest Obtainable Waldseemüller Map of the World

Nice example of Martin Waldseemüller's modern map of the world, the earliest obtainable world map published by noted sixteenth-century cosmographer Waldseemüller. It was included in the first published collection of modern maps and made up part of the influential 1513 Strasbourg edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia.

This map is one of the earliest obtainable world maps to depict the discoveries of the earliest modern explorers including Christopher Columbus, Vasco Da Gama, Amerigo Vespucci. It draws heavily from Portuguese sources in its expanded view of India, and presciently separates Asia from America, something that would not be clarified by mapmakers until the second half of the sixteenth century. Included in the Caribbean are isabella and spagnolla, Cuba and Haiti/Dominican Republic, where the Spanish were already setting up colonies. Interestingly, Waldseemüller chose not to use the name “America” on this world map, as he did on his famous 1507 world map, the earliest map to use the name. This shows the continuing consideration Waldseemüller gave to his work.

The 1513 Strasbourg edition of Ptolemy

According to Burden, Waldseemüller likely began work on this map in ca. 1505, when he was a professor of cosmography in St.-Dié. Waldseemüller worked on the Ptolemy with Matthias Ringmann, who collated the texts, while Waldseemüller compiled the maps. However, when their patron René II died in 1508, the St.-Dié Press closed down. Ringmann died in 1511. These events stalled the project and it was only in 1513 that the Ptolemy appeared, printed by Waldseemüller’s friend Johann Schott.

The Strasbourg edition is widely considered the most important edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. It includes 47 maps cut from woodblocks. This edition had not one but two world maps, this modern map and a map of the world as known to Ptolemy, which includes 8 windheads and other remarkable decorative embellishments. This map lacks those decorative elements and adopts a simple format in order to emphasize the rapid expansion of the known world.

The modern maps were separated from the Ptolemaic map with their own separate title page, making them the first published collection of modern maps. They were issued in a second edition published in Strasbourg in 1520. Lorent Fries copied, simplified, and reduced the Waldseemüller maps for his 1522 Ptolemy published by Grüninger; these Fries woodblocks were also used in three later editions: 1525 Strasbourg edited by Willibald Pirkheimer, 1535 Lyons edited by Michael Servetus, and 1541 Vienna (reprint of the Servetus). The innovative nature of this map and its influential maker make this an essential map for early world map collectors.

Robert W. Karrow Jr., Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and Their Maps: Bio-Bibliographies of the Cartographers of Abraham Ortelius, 1570 (Chicago: Speculum Orbis Press for the Newberry Library, 1993), 577-9. Shirley, 35.

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Year of creation:
14614x11409 px
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Martin Waldseemüller.

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