TITLE: Universalis Cosmographie Descriptio Tam In
Solido Quem Plano
AUTHOR: Louis Boulengier
DESCRIPTION: This a set of twelve gores was engraved on a copper plate
measuring 18 X 39 cm., and bears neither date nor name of place where it
was made, or of its maker. It is encircled with the following inscription:
Vniversalis cosmographie descriptio tam in solido quem [sic] plano. The
gores were found inserted in a copy of Waldseemüller's Cosmographiæ
Introducio, printed by Jean de la Place, at Lyons, sine anno,
but between November 22, 1517, which is the date when Bishop Jacques Robertet,
to whom it is dedicated, was installed into the see of Alby, and May 26,
1518, when he died. Even if we suppose that Jacques could assume the episcopal
title upon the death of Charles Robertet, who had resigned the bishopric
in his favour in articulo mortis, this would only yield August 9, 1515 for
the date of its publication.
Together with the twelve gores, there were inserted in that copy two copper
plates. One is entitled: Astrolabium phisicum; the other: Motus
novæ spere et trepidacionis spere MDXIV., and signed, Artificio
Ludovici Boulengier, Allebie, 1514. And as that edition of the Cosmographæ
introductio was prepared for the press by Louis Boulengier of Alby,
a somewhat noted astronomer, geometrician, and geographer of the time, critics
have inferred that he also designed the map, at the same time as the other
plates, in 1514.
The three plates have not been found in a book preserving its original binding;
there is no evidence that the gores and the other two plates were engraved
at the same time, and Boulengier continued to write on scientific subjects
until 1535, if not 1565. It follows that the gores may well be of a later
period than 1514. On the other hand, Louis Boulengier was the editor of
the work in which those gores were found, and a cartographer, if we may
judge from the titles of two of his hooks. It must also be noted that the
Lyons Cosmographiæ Introductio, just like the St. Diey edition,
but in different terms (which shows that in this respect the former is not
a servile copy of the latter), reference is made to a globe which the reader
is supposed to have before him:
You have, Dear Reader, before you, a small plate on which are inscribed
the degrees of latitude of the countries . . . On the globe [you see] the
duration of the day and night . . . Thereby you will be able to ascertain
[the position of] every country, by the globe as well as by the sexennium.
These facts authorize the question whether Boulengier did not construct,
or cause to be constructed, a globe to sell with his edition of the Cosmographæ
introductio, just as Waldseemüller constructed one to accompany
the editio princeps of that work ? And yet, the reference may also
apply to the diagram engraved on the recto of the folded leaf. Withal, it
should be noticed that Boulengier in his dedicatory epistle, states having
added to his edition "other globes previously published by others:
auctam a ceteris globis ab aliis jamdudum in lucem editis. Was this
set of gores originally intended for one of those globes, and is it, consequently,
in its present form, a mere copy or reprint ? If so, although the configurations
are of an older date, as we already see them in Hauslab No. 1, the
gores were engraved, like the book, between 1517 and 1518.
In geographic terms, states Shirley, these gores break no new ground. The
Americas, still divided by a strait, are shown in no more detail than be
Waldseemüller, and their proximity to Japan and Asia is emphasized
on these gores. The northwestern continental land therein is derived from
a map akin to Canerio, as is seen by the deep gulf, and the extension of
the coast southward as far as 18° north latitude. The southern continent
bears this inscription: America noviter reperta, while the northern
exhibits a truncated one of which remains only NOVA. It was originally
TERRA NOVA, but without any reference to our Newfoundland. An island
to the northeast of Cuba, contains the unintelligible letters C O D. Perhaps
it is the Terra Corterealis displaced, and inserted in the position
of Hispaniola, with what was left of the original inscription: Cort.
The seas are heavily incised with an attractive wavy pattern after the
style of the Bologna Ptolemy and there is a graceful arched border. Only
one copy is known to exist today.
Referred to in Winsor as the "Tross Gores" after the Paris bookseller.
LOCATION: New York Public Library
Harrisse, H., The Discovery of North America, pp. 494-496.
*Nordenskiöld, A.E., Facsimile Atlas, p. 76, Plate XXXVII
*Shirley, R.W., The Mapping of the World, Plate 40, #38, p. 43
*Stevenson, E.L., Terrestrial and Celestrial Globes, pp. 78-79, Figure 40.
*Winsor, J., Narrative and Critical History of America, p. 120
Index of Renaissance Maps