Geographia (Geography)

The restoration of Ptolemaic geography in the West in the fourteenth century was thanks to the endeavours of humanist scholars who revered classical authority, but it came at a time when that geography was being superseded. The front leaf of this copy of the Geography bears the coat of arms of Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile, who six years later would be the patrons of Christopher Columbus’s Atlantic voyage of 1492. The Geography may well have contributed to Columbus’s explorations by encouraging his belief that Asia was much closer to Europe than it was. The subsequent discovery by Columbus of the American continent rendered obsolete much of Ptolemy’s geographical model of the earth, and yet editions of the Geographia continued to be published after 1492 without any reference to this discovery.


Translated from the Greek by Jacobus Angelus

In Latin; 194 leaves, with thirty-two hand-coloured maps from the edition of Cosmographia published by Lienhart Holl in Ulm, 1492; 420 x 285 mm

Fifteenth-century wooden-boarded binding: recovered with brown sheepskin with blind and gold tooling, and provided with new endleaves, in England, early nineteenth century