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The Iberian Peninsula by G. Mercator - Ptolemy

Gerard Mercator (1512 – 1594)

Gerard Mercator was born as Gerard de Cremere in Rupelmonde (near Antwerp) on 5 March 1512.

Young Gerard learned what Latin he could in Rupelmonde, and when he was about fifteen, his uncle sent him to ’s Hertogenbosch to study at a school run by the Brothers of the Common Life. One of Mercator’s teachers was the celebrated humanist Macropedius. After three and a half years with the brothers, Gerard went to Louvain, where he enrolled in the university in 1530 as one of the poor students at Castle College.

By this time, he had Latinized his name to Mercator. He studied philosophy and took his master’s degree in 1532. The problems of the creation of the Universe and the Earth interested him in particular; this is reflected by his works, written in later years.

After spending a few years in Antwerp, he returned to Louvain c. 1535, where he took courses in mathematics under the guidance of Gemma Frisius. Soon he was recognised as an expert on the construction of mathematical instruments, as a land-surveyor and, after 1537, as a cartographer. He drew his income from these activities after his marriage on 3 August 1536. He also qualified himself as a copper-engraver; he was the first in history to introduce the italic handwriting to this trade. The first maps, drawn and engraved by Gerard Mercator are: Palestine, 1537; the world in double heart-shaped projection, 1538; and Flanders, 1540.

In 1544, Mercator came into great danger: he was arrested on the accusation of heresy and put into jail. Thanks to intervention of the University of Louvain, he was released after four months. In 1552, he moved with his family into the city of Duisburg (Germany). In 1560, Mercator became cosmographer in service of the Duke of Jülich-Cleve-Berge and in 1563 he became lecturer at the Grammar School of the new University in Duisburg. During this period, he made wall-maps of Europe, 1554; of Loraine, 1564; the British Isles, 1564; and the famous map of the world with increasing latitudes, 1569. About this time, Mercator was also working on the project for a complete description of the Creation, the Heavens, Earth, and Sea and a world history. Out of this resulted his Atlas, sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. He worked also on an edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia which appeared in 1578. The first part of his book with modern maps (France, Germany and the Netherlands) appeared in 1585.

Shortly after the publication of the second part of his map-book (not yet called Atlas) with the maps of Italy (1589), he had a stroke which brought an end to his extremely great productivity. The great man passed away on 2 December 1594, leaving the responsibility of finishing the map-book to his son Rumold. The final part of it appeared in 1595. Its title is Pars Altera and it constitutes an essential part of what was then called Mercator’s Atlas.

The map of Europe and the world map in the Atlas are by Rumold Mercator. After Rumold’s death in 1599, the Atlas was reissued once more in 1602.

The plates of the maps, both of the Ptolemy edition and the Atlas, were sold in 1604 to Jodocus Hondius of Amsterdam. The following year Hondius managed to bring out Ptolemy’s Geographia. In the following year, 1606, the first Amsterdam edition of the Mercator Atlas appeared. From then to 1638, the Atlas saw many enlarged editions in various languages.


Claudius Ptolemy (c.100 – c.170 AD)

In Latin: Claudius Ptolemaeus, was a Greek astronomer, mathematician, and geographer who lived in Alexandria during the 2nd century. Much of medieval astronomy and geography were built on his ideas. He was the first to use longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates. This idea of a global coordinates system was highly influential, and we use a similar system today.
Ptolemy wrote several scientific treatises. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, the second is the Geography, which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the Apotelesmatika, an astrological treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.
The Geographia is a compilation of geographical coordinates of the part of the world known to the Roman Empire during his time. The maps in surviving manuscripts of Ptolemy's Geography, however, only date from about 1300, after Maximus Planudes rediscovered the text. It seems likely that the topographical tables are cumulative texts – texts which were altered and added to as new knowledge became available in the centuries after Ptolemy.
The earliest printed edition with engraved maps was produced in Bologna in 1477, followed quickly by a Roman edition in 1478. An edition printed at Ulm in 1482, including woodcut maps, was the first one published north of the Alps.

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Europae II. Tab. - Mercator - Ptolemy, 1578 .

€420  ($495.6 / £386.4)
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Item Number:  24590
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Spain and Portugal

Antique map of the Iberian Peninsula by G. Mercator - Ptolemy

Date of the first edition: 1578
Date of this map: 1578

Copper engraving
Size: 34 x 44cm (13.3 x 17.2 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Repair at right margin, flattened.
Condition Rating: B+
References: Van der Krogt 1, 0902:1.1.

From: Tabulae Geographicae Cl. Ptolemai ... per Gerardum Mercatorem. Cologne, G. von Kempen, 1578.

Gerard Mercator (1512 – 1594)

Gerard Mercator was born as Gerard de Cremere in Rupelmonde (near Antwerp) on 5 March 1512.

Young Gerard learned what Latin he could in Rupelmonde, and when he was about fifteen, his uncle sent him to ’s Hertogenbosch to study at a school run by the Brothers of the Common Life. One of Mercator’s teachers was the celebrated humanist Macropedius. After three and a half years with the brothers, Gerard went to Louvain, where he enrolled in the university in 1530 as one of the poor students at Castle College.

By this time, he had Latinized his name to Mercator. He studied philosophy and took his master’s degree in 1532. The problems of the creation of the Universe and the Earth interested him in particular; this is reflected by his works, written in later years.

After spending a few years in Antwerp, he returned to Louvain c. 1535, where he took courses in mathematics under the guidance of Gemma Frisius. Soon he was recognised as an expert on the construction of mathematical instruments, as a land-surveyor and, after 1537, as a cartographer. He drew his income from these activities after his marriage on 3 August 1536. He also qualified himself as a copper-engraver; he was the first in history to introduce the italic handwriting to this trade. The first maps, drawn and engraved by Gerard Mercator are: Palestine, 1537; the world in double heart-shaped projection, 1538; and Flanders, 1540.

In 1544, Mercator came into great danger: he was arrested on the accusation of heresy and put into jail. Thanks to intervention of the University of Louvain, he was released after four months. In 1552, he moved with his family into the city of Duisburg (Germany). In 1560, Mercator became cosmographer in service of the Duke of Jülich-Cleve-Berge and in 1563 he became lecturer at the Grammar School of the new University in Duisburg. During this period, he made wall-maps of Europe, 1554; of Loraine, 1564; the British Isles, 1564; and the famous map of the world with increasing latitudes, 1569. About this time, Mercator was also working on the project for a complete description of the Creation, the Heavens, Earth, and Sea and a world history. Out of this resulted his Atlas, sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. He worked also on an edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia which appeared in 1578. The first part of his book with modern maps (France, Germany and the Netherlands) appeared in 1585.

Shortly after the publication of the second part of his map-book (not yet called Atlas) with the maps of Italy (1589), he had a stroke which brought an end to his extremely great productivity. The great man passed away on 2 December 1594, leaving the responsibility of finishing the map-book to his son Rumold. The final part of it appeared in 1595. Its title is Pars Altera and it constitutes an essential part of what was then called Mercator’s Atlas.

The map of Europe and the world map in the Atlas are by Rumold Mercator. After Rumold’s death in 1599, the Atlas was reissued once more in 1602.

The plates of the maps, both of the Ptolemy edition and the Atlas, were sold in 1604 to Jodocus Hondius of Amsterdam. The following year Hondius managed to bring out Ptolemy’s Geographia. In the following year, 1606, the first Amsterdam edition of the Mercator Atlas appeared. From then to 1638, the Atlas saw many enlarged editions in various languages.


Claudius Ptolemy (c.100 – c.170 AD)

In Latin: Claudius Ptolemaeus, was a Greek astronomer, mathematician, and geographer who lived in Alexandria during the 2nd century. Much of medieval astronomy and geography were built on his ideas. He was the first to use longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates. This idea of a global coordinates system was highly influential, and we use a similar system today.
Ptolemy wrote several scientific treatises. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest, the second is the Geography, which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the Apotelesmatika, an astrological treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day.
The Geographia is a compilation of geographical coordinates of the part of the world known to the Roman Empire during his time. The maps in surviving manuscripts of Ptolemy's Geography, however, only date from about 1300, after Maximus Planudes rediscovered the text. It seems likely that the topographical tables are cumulative texts – texts which were altered and added to as new knowledge became available in the centuries after Ptolemy.
The earliest printed edition with engraved maps was produced in Bologna in 1477, followed quickly by a Roman edition in 1478. An edition printed at Ulm in 1482, including woodcut maps, was the first one published north of the Alps.