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Ptolemy's World

Tour of Maps

1520s

World map from Ptolemy, Geographia, edited by Lorenz Fries

World map from Ptolemy, Geographia, edited by Lorenz Fries. Strassburg: J. Grueninger, 1522.

Did the incorporation of modern geographical knowledge in Ptolemy’s maps in the 1520s signal the end of the importance of the Geographia? Indeed it did not.

One of the remarkable things about the Geographia is the number of editors who worked with it–for over two centuries after it initially appeared in print. For example, Laurentius Fries edited the Geographia for an edition printed in Strassburg in 1522 by Joannes Grüninger.

Fifty maps accompany the text. In one map the name "America" appears in South America. This is the earliest use of the name in an edition of Ptolemy’s maps. In 1525, another edition by the same printer, again with 50 maps, was newly translated. It was edited by Johann Huttich.