New Findings and Discoveries in the 1507/8 Rome Edition of Ptolemy’s Cosmography

R.H.J. Peerlings, F. Laurentius, J. van den Bovenkamp
  • Quaerendo, June 2018, Brill
  • DOI: 10.1163/15700690-12341408

Ptolemy's Cosmography 1507 1508 watermarks Ruysch world map new states

What is it about?

It shows the development in the paper used for the 1507 and 1508 editions of Ptolemy's cosmography. It shows the discovery of new states of three maps up till now unknown. It explains when the Ruysch world map was integrated in this atlas. It shows that the development of the paper used is equal to the development of what is printed on the paper. The development of the watermarks and the states of the maps confirm each other. It presents a theory about the number of printed copies.

Why is it important?

It shows how watermarks can be used to discover and explain the production of a book or atlas and the logistics of the process. For the first time the existence of more than one state of several maps present in these atlases is described. Up till now the idea was that all maps in all editions (1478, 1490, 1507 and 1508) were the same. It reveals more information about the development of the Ruysch world map and about the year the map was printed and introduced in this atlas. It shows that the combination of maps together with a title page and text pages of these editions is at random. Obviously in 1507 printed sets of maps are bound together with a 1508 title page and text pages and vice versa. Therefore the atlases often do not contain what is printed on the binding or the title page.


Dr Robert Peerlings (Author)

The article shows how watermarks can be used in research about maps and atlases and how they help in finding answers to centuries-long unanswered questions and ongoing discussions. Studying watermarks present in the paper can help to understand what is printed on the paper, when it was printed and help to understand the logistics of the process. Up till now in cartography often only what is printed is studied but not the paper where it is printed on nor the combination of the information provided by the print and the information present in the paper by the watermarks. In future research of printed matter one should combine the findings from the prints with the findings about the paper used.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Robert Peerlings