Slide #331

TITLE: Tipus Orbis universalis Iuxta Ptolomei Cosmographi Traditionem et Americi

Vespucii Aliorque Lustrationes A Petro Apiano Leysnico Elucbrat An. Do.


DATE: 1520

AUTHOR: Peter Apianus [Pierre Apian]

DESCRIPTION: This is a cordiform (heart-shaped) mappamundi, roughly engraved on wood, 41 X28.5 cm., and bearing the following title:Tipus Orbis universalis Iuxta Ptolomei Cosmographi Traditionem et Americi Vespucii Aliorque Lustrationes A Petro Apiano Leysnico Elucbrat An. Do. M.DXX. The map's shape, or projection which is thought to have been perfected by Apianus, was not devised because of its artistic possibilities; it was based upon a carefully conceived formula designed to maintain proportions on a map, which had to represent curved areas on a flat surface. This type of projection was subsequently used by many map-makers including Honter, Vopell, Mercator andFine. This map by Apianus was first published bound with the edition of Solinus' Polyhistor given at Vienna by johann Kamers [Camertius] in 1520, and then also inserted in Pomponius Mela's De Situ Orbis printed at Basle in 1522. When those works are found bound together in a binding of that period, the map is usually inserted between the two. In the border of the map, on the left of the reader, there is the monogram of Luc Alantse, of Vienna, at whose expense the map was doubtless engraved In the corresponding lower right-hand corner are the initials of Lorenz Friess [Laurent Fries], of Colmar who was probably the co-draftsman or woodcutter. The twelve windheads and the decorative areas around to the map are robust examples of contemporary woodcut work.

Peter Bienewitz (better known by the Latinized form of his name as Apianus), a professor of mathematics in Vienna and Ingolstadt was also a geographic writer and publisher as well as a cartographer. Apian borrowed his geographical elements from a Lusitano- Germanic map of Harrisse's fourth type, and which was the same model used for the Ingolstadt/Nordenskiöld gores (Slide #321.3). Waldseemüller's large 1507 world map (Slide #312) is the unacknowledged source of Apianus' map of 1520. Much detail has been left out but there is a close geographic correspondence, a similaritry of woodcutting style, and the same truncated cordiform projection. Additionally, the northwestern continental land is akin to the same region in the Canerio chart (Slide #310), the prototype, or a near derivative of which Apianus has certainly consulted, as can be seen from the two Spanish flags placed at both ends of that land. The inscription Parias, inscribed thereon, as in the early globes of Johann Schöner (Slide #323), must proceed from a Canerio modified, which was probably the source of the geographical information for the New World used, at first, by the Nuremberg cartographer. The marking of Calicut is the only hint of the great Portuguese discoveries in the East.

The map of Apianus also contains the legend about Guaiacum wood, and the one which states that the discovery of the southern continent was accomplished in 1497; but it is worthy of notice that immediately under the date of 1497 Apianus inscribes: Haec terra cum adiacentibus insulis inuenta est per Columbum lanuensem ex mandato regis Castellæ ; thus blending his Vespuccian data with those derived from Columbus. As to the inscription: America prouincia, it is not found anywhere else. Until the discovery of Waldseemüller's map of 1507 in 1901, Apian's map of 1520 was thought to have been the earliest apply the name America to any portion of the newly discovered lands. The map was apparently designed at Landshut. Apianus continued to construct maps, and he seems to have had a preference for the ellipsoidal form. There must have been a number of such mapparnundi which came out of his laboratory; but we know only of the following:


1. Ante 1522, to accompany the Declaratio et Usus Typi Cosmographici. (Lost).

2. 1522, Small planisphere inserted in the work just mentioned

3. 1524, Two diminutive maps in the Cosmographicus liber.

4 . Circa 1524, Described in the Isagoge. (Lost.)

5. 1530 IngolstadL from his own private press.

6. 1530, Antwerp. Printed by Peter de Vales de Guldenhant.

7. A MS mappamundi rnade for Charles V, formerly preserved in the Escurial. (Lost.)


The privilege of the Astronomicum Cæsareum, granted at Ratisbon, July 3, 1532, mentions: Tabulas seu Mappas, vt vocant, vniversi terrarum orbis generales. Harrisse is unable to say whether these maps are different from those above mentioned. The present cordiform mappamundi has been reproduced in facsimile several times, particularly in the atlas of Nordenskiöld.

Apianus' text book Cosmographicus Liber first came out in 1524 and was re-issued for over eighty years. From 1544 onwards it often contains the world map of his pupil Gemma Frisius. Two years earlier, in 1522, Apianus published a small treatise Isagore in typum Cosmographicum describing his new map (now lost) rather than this truncated cordiform one of 1520. In 1530 he produced another world map on a cordiform projection.


LOCATION: BL.32.m.5, British Library, London



*Goss, J., The Mapping of North America, p. 20, #4

Harrisse, H., The Discovery of North America, pp. 505-506

*Nordenskiöld, A.E., Facsimile Atlas, pp. 88, 99, Plate XXXVIII

*Shirley, R. W., The Mapping of the World, pp. 51-53, #45, Plate 45.

*The World Encompassed, #61, Plate XXIII

Index of Renaissance Maps