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A Basel atlas in Persia

Ptolemaeus, Claudius. Geographia universalis, vetus et nova, complectens Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini enarrationis libros VIII; quorum primus nova translatione Pirckheimeri [...].

Basel, H. Petri, (March 1542).

Small folio. 194 pp. (instead of 195; lacks last f. with printer's device on reverse). With 48 double-page-sized woodcut maps and 7 schematic woodcuts in the text. Somewhat later red calf binding with flap, probably of Persian origin. Covers with blindstamped ornament and borders; fore-edge flap also decorated with blindstamping. Blue marbled pastedowns.

Second printing of the "Geographia universalis" (edited by Sebastian Münster), the standard geographical work of the early Renaissance. The present copy, in an oriental binding, is of special interest for its reception history: all the 27 old Ptolemaic maps and the 21 additional maps introduced by Münster bear Arabic caption translations in the margins by a near-contemporary hand; the title page and flyleaves also show notes in Arabic script (though some are more probably in Persian or Urdu), as well as some in indecipherable characters. Thus, the present atlas provided the Orient with illustrative material of the Western world view and was made accessible to Persian readers who had no command of Latin.

Complete copies of the "Geographia" are extremely rare; last complete copy in auction records sold in 1971.

Slight burns to margin (not touching text); several 17th-c. remarginings with oriental polished paper. Corner defects to map "Europae III" (quarter-page loss to image); several further small corner defects and restored tears (occasionally touching text). Half of the map "Angliae II nova tabula" has been supplied from another copy of the present edition.

Adams P 2227 (incomplete). VD 16, P 5216. Burmeister 167. Sanz 25. Sabin 66486. Alden/L. 542/22.