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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 98

    MELA, Pomponius (fl. 37-42 A.D.). Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis. - DIONYSIUS PERIEGETES. De situ orbis, translated by Priscianus. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 18 July 1482.

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    MELA, Pomponius (fl. 37-42 A.D.). Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis. - DIONYSIUS PERIEGETES. De situ orbis, translated by Priscianus. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 18 July 1482.

    Chancery 4° (191 x 145mm). Collation: A-F8 (A1r blank, A1v woodcut world map, A2r incipit printed in red, Cosmographia, D6v De situ orbis, F8r colophon, F8v blank). 48 leaves. 30 lines. Type: 3:91G, 7:92G, 6:56(75)G (map text). Full-page woodcut map with type inserts, coloured in green by an early hand, woodcut white-on-black initials. Occasional rubrication. (First leaf [map] probably supplied from another copy, fore-margin of A2 restored, a few small wormholes.) 18th-century Italian green goatskin gilt, sides with dentelle, red leather spine label, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges (endpapers renewed). Provenance: a few early marginal annotations -- ?stamp removed from first leaf.

    FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION of the earliest surviving Latin work on geography. The woodcut map, only the second woodcut map printed in Italy (Campbell p.119), is the first to depict current Portuguese knowledge of the west coast of Africa which led only six years later to the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope. Campbell suggests that the edition's printer, Erhard Ratdolt, may have been the mapmaker, since this and his T-O map of 1480 are the two earliest woodcut maps printed in Italy. The map was copied for a Salamanca edition and, with greater impact, in Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle. FIRST EDITION of Priscianus' verse translation of Dionysius's De situ orbis; Ratdolt's is the only incunable edition to contain both geographical treatises. HC *11019; BMC V, 286 (IA.20518); BSB-Ink. P-687; Bod-inc. M-179; Essling 275; Sander 3667-8; Klebs 675.6; Campbell, Earliest Maps, 91; Goff M-452.


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