Sebastian Munster. “Bohemiae Nova Descriptio.” From Geographia. Basel: Henric Petri, 1552. 11 x 15. Wood cut. Trimmed to and just into side borders, as issued. Else, very good.
In the Second Century A.D. Ptolemy was the librarian at Alexandria, the greatest center of learning in the Classical world. Ptolemy wrote two major works, the Almagest, an account of the heavens, and the Geographia, the first atlas of the world. This latter consisted of Ptolemy’s compilation of all known geographic information, including instructions for how to make maps. Rediscovered in the middle ages, the Geographia had a profound impact on the awaking western European mind and it was reissued by a number of publishers, such as Sebastian Munster. By mid-sixteenth century, new maps had been drawn which were inserted into the work and this is a fine example of Munster’s new rendering of Bohemia. The map is centered on Prague, with rivers and myriad towns, castles and so forth drawn around. Interestingly, the map is oriented to the south. The wood cut is impressive in its detail but also aesthetic beauty, making this one of the earliest and most attractive maps of the Czech Republic one can find.