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Crete, by Lorenz Fries. 1541

Lorenz Fries* (c. 1485 – 1532)

Lorenz Fries, a physician, astrologer, and cartographic editor, was a native Alsatian. Nothing is known about his youth and early schooling. His university education in philosophy and medicine seems to have been acquired at several schools. Probably he attended the universities of Vienna, Montpellier, Piacenza, and Pavia. He obtained the degree of doctor of arts at one of these institutions.

His first professional position was in Sélestat, near Strasbourg. He practised medicine in Colmar from 1514 to 1518. He wrote several medical works, among them a practice entitled Spiegel der Artzny (Mirror of Medicine), a trendy book with seven editions up to 1546. After 1519 he moved to Strasbourg, where he stayed until about 1527.

In 1520, Fries became involved in the publication of new editions of maps by Martin Waldseemüller. He collaborated with Peter Apian in the publication of a much-reduced version of Waldseemüller's map of 1507.

In the meantime, Fries was busy preparing a new edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. The book was printed in 1522 by Johannes Grüninger, an esteemed printer from Strasbourg who had previously printed the Waldseemüller. It was based on Waldseemüller's editions of 1513 and 1520. Fries says in a note to the reader: "…, we declare that these maps were originally constructed by Martin Waldseemüller piously deceased and that they have been drawn in a format smaller than that which they ever had before". The book sold well, and new editions would follow, printed with the same woodblocks.

In 1525, Willibald Pirkheimer, the Nuremberg humanist, published a new edition with Grüninger. The volume was published jointly with the Nuremberg printer Johannes Koberger. It included the same fifty Waldseemüller/Fries maps as the 1522 edition.

Two more editions were printed by Michael Servetus (= Michael Villanovus) in Lyon in 1535 and 1541. Servetus was tried for heresy in 1553. One of the allegations was that he had written a statement on the verso of the map of the Holy Land describing it as mostly infertile. The statement originated in Fries's edition in 1522. Servetus was burned at stake, and at Calvin's orders, many copies of Servetus's books followed him into the flames.

Fries also published other books on astrology and medicine. He undertook a reduction of Waldseemüller's large map of 1516, the Carta marina navigatoria, which he translated into German at the same time. The map was published in 1525, but no copy survived of this edition. The earliest copy known is dated 1530.

In 1525 Strasbourg had become a thoroughly reformed city, and the Roman church's adherents found themselves increasingly unwelcome. It was probably for this reason that Fries renounced his citizenship and moved to Metz. In this period, he published his last two medical works.

*He should not be confused with the historian Lorenz Fries of Mergentheim (1491-1550).

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Tabula nova Candiae.

€450  ($6300 / £387)
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Item Number:  28127
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Southeastern Europe
References: Karrow - 28/49; Zacharakis - #2801

Old, antique map of Crete, by Lorenz Fries.

Title: Tabula nova Candiae.

Cartographer: Martin Waldseemüller.

Date of the first edition: 1522.
Date of this map: 1541.

Woodcut, printed on paper.
Size (not including margins): 280 x 455mm (11.02 x 17.91 inches).
Verso: Latin text.
Condition: Excellent.
Condition Rating: A+.
References: Karrow, 28/49; Zacharakis, #28/01

From: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini geographicae enarrationis libri octo. Lyon, M. Servetus, 1541. (Karrow, 288/G.3)

Lorenz Fries* (c. 1485 – 1532)

Lorenz Fries, a physician, astrologer, and cartographic editor, was a native Alsatian. Nothing is known about his youth and early schooling. His university education in philosophy and medicine seems to have been acquired at several schools. Probably he attended the universities of Vienna, Montpellier, Piacenza, and Pavia. He obtained the degree of doctor of arts at one of these institutions.

His first professional position was in Sélestat, near Strasbourg. He practised medicine in Colmar from 1514 to 1518. He wrote several medical works, among them a practice entitled Spiegel der Artzny (Mirror of Medicine), a trendy book with seven editions up to 1546. After 1519 he moved to Strasbourg, where he stayed until about 1527.

In 1520, Fries became involved in the publication of new editions of maps by Martin Waldseemüller. He collaborated with Peter Apian in the publication of a much-reduced version of Waldseemüller's map of 1507.

In the meantime, Fries was busy preparing a new edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. The book was printed in 1522 by Johannes Grüninger, an esteemed printer from Strasbourg who had previously printed the Waldseemüller. It was based on Waldseemüller's editions of 1513 and 1520. Fries says in a note to the reader: "…, we declare that these maps were originally constructed by Martin Waldseemüller piously deceased and that they have been drawn in a format smaller than that which they ever had before". The book sold well, and new editions would follow, printed with the same woodblocks.

In 1525, Willibald Pirkheimer, the Nuremberg humanist, published a new edition with Grüninger. The volume was published jointly with the Nuremberg printer Johannes Koberger. It included the same fifty Waldseemüller/Fries maps as the 1522 edition.

Two more editions were printed by Michael Servetus (= Michael Villanovus) in Lyon in 1535 and 1541. Servetus was tried for heresy in 1553. One of the allegations was that he had written a statement on the verso of the map of the Holy Land describing it as mostly infertile. The statement originated in Fries's edition in 1522. Servetus was burned at stake, and at Calvin's orders, many copies of Servetus's books followed him into the flames.

Fries also published other books on astrology and medicine. He undertook a reduction of Waldseemüller's large map of 1516, the Carta marina navigatoria, which he translated into German at the same time. The map was published in 1525, but no copy survived of this edition. The earliest copy known is dated 1530.

In 1525 Strasbourg had become a thoroughly reformed city, and the Roman church's adherents found themselves increasingly unwelcome. It was probably for this reason that Fries renounced his citizenship and moved to Metz. In this period, he published his last two medical works.

*He should not be confused with the historian Lorenz Fries of Mergentheim (1491-1550).

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