MELA, Pomponius (fl. 43-50). Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis. Venice: Bernard Maler, Erhard Ratdolt, and Peter Löslein, 1478.
Median 4° (233 x 163). Collation: a-f8 (a1r text within woodcut border, f8v colophon). 48 leaves. 26 lines, printed shoulder notes. Type: 1:109R. Full-page woodcut vine-work border incorporating crossed armorial shields on a1, woodcut white-on-black initials, red printing on first page (border, headings), c1v (heading and initial opening book 2), and e2v (heading to book 3). (Repaired marginal tear in e2, slight worming at hinge of final quires.) 19th-century calf, Greek-key roll in blind on sides (rebacked preserving earlier backstrip, minor restorations). Provenance: Oscar L. Viney (bookplate) -- W.R.H. Jeudwine (bookplate, sale Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 18 September 1984, lot 19) -- George Abrams (booklabel, sale Sotheby's, 17 November 1989, lot 102).
Third edition of the earliest extant geography in Latin and the only Roman work devoted solely to the subject. Mela elaborated his description of the world with details -- much fantastic -- of the habits and customs of nations around the world. His knowledge of the positions of Britain, Ireland, and the coasts of Gaul and north Germany were superior to Strabo, and he was the first to mention the Orkney Islands (cf. E.H. Bunbury, A History of Ancient Geography, III, 1) HC *11016; BMC V, 245 (IA. 20494); CIBN M-281; Essling 273; Klebs 675.3; Redgrave 11; Sander 4484; Goff M-449.