Africa Tertia Pars Terrae

Cartographer(s): Heinrich Bünting
Date: ca. 1585
Place: Leipzig
Dimensions: 30.5 x 36.8 (12 x 14.5 in)
Condition Rating: VG

Out of stock

SKU: NL-00066 Category: Tag:

Excellent woodcut map of Africa with Mountains of the Moon and mythical cities.


Decorative Ptolemaic map of Africa with an unusual shape, tapering to a point in the south. It comes from Heinrich Bunting’s Itinerarum Sacrae Scripturae, and is based upon the map of Africa by Sebastian Münster which appeared in 1540.

The Nile is represented according to Ptolemy, with two lakes and the Mountains of the Moon serving as its source. Bunting’s map, however, offers a fascinating deviation from that of Münster in that is also depicts a third large lake – Nidilis lacus – located in Central Africa as a third source for the Nile.

Cities and kingdoms are noted, including the mythical kingdom of the Christian king Prester John. On an island in the Nile we see Meroe, which archaeological excavations have revealed to be part of the capital city of the ancient Nubian Kingdom of Kush.

The stylized wavy seas are dotted with islands, the largest of which, Zaphala, would appear to represent Madagascar.


Heinrich Bünting

Henrich Bünting was a Protestant theologian and teacher from Hannover who is most renowned for his influential work on Biblical geography. His Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae, first published in 1581, became very popular due to its comprehensive summary of Biblical geography through travel narratives and commentary. The book contained Bünting’s own unique woodcut maps, including imaginative representations of the continents as a Clover Leaf, Europe personified as a crowned woman, and Asia depicted as the winged horse Pegasus.

With over sixty editions published between 1581 and 1757, Heinrich Bünting’s Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae remains a significant contribution to the history of Biblical geography.

Condition Description

Two areas of minor repair in the margin at the centerfold. Map image bright and clean.


Betz #24.3; Norwich #17; Tooley (MCC-29) #141.