The first atlas wholly printed in colours, incorporating the first printed map to indicate Japan
By PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius; Bernardus SYLVANUS , 1511

Liber geographiae cum tabulis et universali figura et cum additione locorum quae a recentiorbus reperta sunt.

  • Author: PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius; Bernardus SYLVANUS
  • Publication place: Venice
  • Publisher: Jacobus Pentius de Lencho
  • Publication date: 1511.
  • Physical description: Folio atlas (440 by 300mm), title in red, poem on verso printed in red and black, 6pp. preliminary text printed in red and black, 115pp. text printed in red and black with four woodcut and letterpress diagrammatic illustrations, 28 woodcut maps printed in red and black (each double-page with all but the final world map printed in red and black in two sections on facing pages), remnants of collector's stamp to title, contemporary limp vellum, remnants of old ties, title in manuscript to spine.

    Collation: [4]; A8, B-H6, I8, 28 maps.
  • Inventory reference: 1050


A very fine example of this Venetian editon of Ptolemy’s Geographia. This is the first illustrated edition of Ptolemy’s work in which an attempt was made to update the information given on the maps. It is also one of the earliest examples of two-colour printing in cartography with the major regional names printed in red, others in black, using inset type. The large cordiform world map is the earliest of its kind, and this is only the second Ptolemaic world map to show America (Regalis domus and Terra laboratpru[m]). It is also the first printed map to indicate Japan (Zampagu Ins).


  1. Shirley, 'Mapping of the World', 32
  2. Phillips, Atlases 358
  3. Sabin 66477
  4. Nordenskiöld Collection 2:204
  5. Sander 5979.

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