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Fantastic mid-16th century Ptolemaic map of Turkey.

Place/Date: Basel / 1545
Title: Tabula Asiae I (Turkey)
Woodblock printing
26 x 34 cm (10.2 x 13.4 in)
Condition Rating


This wonderful map of Asia Minor is based on the work of classical geographer Claudius Ptolemy, and his landmark cartographic treatise, Geographia. The map includes parts of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, with the islands of Cyprus, Crete, Rhodes, and more. Up through the Dardanelles and the Sea of Marmara, we come to the Bosphorus and a representation of Constantinople spanning the divide between Europe and Asia.

Much of the Black Sea is depicted, within which are two boxes of Latin texts with classical place names. Crossing the Anatolian interior are stylized mountain ranges and river systems, including Cappadocia. The first section of the Euphrates River, which originates in the Armenian Highlands of eastern Turkey and then snakes down through Syria, is shown.

As expected, there is also excellent detail along the coast, with many important maritime ports.


Sebastian Münster

Sebastian Münster (1488 – 1552) was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and a Christian Hebraist scholar.

His Cosmographia of 1544 was the earliest German-language description of the world. It had numerous editions in different languages including Latin, French, Italian, English, and even Czech. The Cosmographia was one of the most successful and popular works of the 16th century. It passed through 24 editions in 100 years. This success was due to its excellent woodcuts (some by Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel), in addition to including the first to introduce separate maps for each of the four continents known then – America, Africa, Asia and Europe. It was most important in reviving geography in 16th-century Europe. The last German edition was published in 1628, long after his death.

Münster died in Basel of the plague in 1552.

Condition Description

Woodblock map with letterpress on verso. Paper with usual age-toning. Very good throughout.


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