London, South Kensington
19 March 1999
[PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius or PTOLEMY] La Geografia, Venice: Giordano Ziletti, 1574. 3 parts in one volume; also containing the Discorso of Moleto, 4, (225 x 160mm), 65 engraved double-page maps, including the world map mounted on guards, two woodcuts of an astrologer using a sextant and other text woodcuts (some browning, quire U particularly browned, some staining and spotting), later half blue morocco (rubbed and slightly worn). THIRD EDITION IN ITALIAN. Adams P-2236; Philipps Atlases 381. Provenance: Eugene de Froberville.
La Geografia is an attempt to map the known world. It includes lists of places with their longitudes and latitudes, accompanied by brief descriptions of the chief topographical features of the larger land areas. Ptolemy tells us that the work is based on a similar recent work by Marinus of Tyre (for which La Geografia is the sole source of our knowledge). The factual content of La Geografia is, understandably, inaccurate. Only the Roman Empire was well known at the time, and, in the absence of anything resembling a modern survey, Ptolmey had to rely on "itineraries" derived from milestones along the main roads and the reports of merchants and soldiers. However, despite its inaccuracies, La Geografia remains a remarkable and highly influential scientific achievement.
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