Ptolemy World Map, 1482

Ptolemy World Map, 1482

The Geography consists of three sections, divided among 8 books. Book I is a treatise on cartography, describing the methods used to assemble and arrange Ptolemy's data. From Book II through the beginning of Book VII, a gazetteer provides longitude and latitude values for the world known to the ancient Romans (the "ecumene"). The rest of Book VII provides details on three projections to be used for the construction of a map of the world, varying in complexity and fidelity. Book VIII constitutes an atlas of regional maps. The maps include a recapitulation of some of the values given earlier in the work, which were intended to be used as captions to clarify the map's contents and maintain their accuracy during copying.

Further Reading:

Gerd Graßhoff, Elisabeth Rinner, and Florian Mittenhuber. 2017. “Of Paths and Places: the Origin of Ptolemy's Geography.” Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 71, 81–101.

Shalev, Zur, Charles Burnett, eds. 2011. Ptolemy's Geography in the Renaissance. London: Warburg Institute. (In Appendix: Latin text of Jacopo Angeli's introduction to his translation of the Geography, with English translation by C. Burnett.)

Commentary. Philipp Nothaft (May-June 2019)