Slide #324

TITLE: Universalis Cosmographie Descriptio Tam In Solido Quem Plano
Louis Boulengier
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