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Tabulae geographicae Cl: Ptolemęi ad mentem autoris restitutæ & emendatę Per Gerardum Mercatorem Illustriss: Ducis Cliuię &c: Cosmographum. Köln 1578.
Department of Maps, Prints, and Photographs, 6 1578 2º

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Title page Europe 4th plate: Northern Germany, Jutland (Cimbrica
Chersonesus), the “four Scandinavian Islands”
(Insulę Scandię quatuor), etc.

Atlas based on the geographical work of Claudius Ptolemaeus (c. A.D. 100-c. A.D. 170) from about 150. He was an astronomer, mathematician, and geographer of Greek origin, and he lived in Alexandria where he gathered knowledge from manuscripts and travelling merchants. Ptolemaeus systematized antiquity’s knowledge of geography. The principles of map making established in his work were pathbreaking, and so was his description of the known world at that time: Europe, the Mediterranean area, and parts of Africa and Asia.
His geographical work was almost unknown in Europe for more than 1,000 years until Byzantine scholars about 1300 began making manuscript copies in Arabic and Greek of which many were illustrated with exquisite reconstructions of Ptolemaeus’s maps. In the 15th century they were translated into Latin.
Ptolemaeus’s picture of the world was revised during the 14th and 15th centuries. Contributing to this development was the Norse discovery of Greenland, information about which was passed on by the Danish scholar Claudius Clavus during his stay in Italy. The maps of the world had to be revised in order to fit in the newly discovered areas in the north. However, Ptolemaeus’s maps were used in atlases up until the 18th century.
The book was published by the Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator (1512-1594). This copy belonged to the Danish collector of books Christian Reitzer (1665-1736), who sold his collection to the Royal Library in 1721.

41 x 29.3 cm.

See more maps at the web exhibition of the Department of Maps, Prints, and Photographs Denmark on the world map.

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