[Title on Verso] Tabula Duodecima Asiae Continet Taprobanam Insulam

Cartographer(s): Laurent Fries
Date: 1545
Place: Vienne
Dimensions: 45.8 x 28.2 cm (18 x 11.1 in)
Condition Rating: VG

Out of stock

SKU: NL-00291 Category: Tag:

1541 woodcut Ptolemaic map of Sri Lanka


This is an early woodblock map of the island of Taprobana (Ceylon, Sri Lanka), which depicts the typical misconceptions of Ptolemy: the island is greatly enlarged, surrounded by smaller imaginary islands, and with a small part of India incorrectly drawn in the northeast corner of the map. Taprobana was drawn too large on most early maps due, in part, to its importance to trade between the Europe and Southeast Asia. Furthermore, Marco Polo had stated that the island had a circumference of 2400 miles and had been even larger in the past.

This map is largely based on the 1513 map by Waldseemüller, with the addition of more of the spurious Indian coastline and more small islands to the east of the island.

The title is on the verso along with Latin text.

This edition was printed by Gaspar Treschel and edited by Michael Villanovus (known as Servetus). Servetus was charged with heresy by John Calvin in 1553, in part due to the text in this atlas. The courts found him guilty and sentenced him to burning at the stake, atop a pyre of his own books, including this atlas.


Laurent Fries

Laurent/Lorenz Fries (ca. 1485-1532): Born in Alsace circa 1490, Fries studied medicine and mathematics at a number of European universities. He was trained as a physician, but was also keenly interested in cartography and medical publications. From 1518-19 Fries is mainly based in Strasbourg from where he was commissioned to compile the first edition of Waldseemüller’s atlas after his death in 1520.

Condition Description

A clean and bright example with a dark impression and minor marginal soiling.


Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #211-26.