La Cosmographia, corregida y anadida por Gemma Frisio

£15,000

La Cosmographia, corregida y anadida por Gemma Frisio, medico y mathematico…

En Anvers, por Juan Bellero al Aguila de Or, 1575, 4to (210 x 170mm), contemporary limp vellum, with (2) numerous woodcuts, including 4 volvelles with moveable parts, and this edition with the one folding map of the world that includes America.

The second of only two Spanish Text Editions, but the First to Include Excerpts from Francisco Lopez De Gomara and Jeronimo Girava, and a long description of Iceland abridged from the 1574 Latin edition.

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… La manera de descrivir y situar los lugares con el uso del anillo astronomico, del mismo auctor Gemma Frisio. El stio y descripcion de las Indias y Mundo Nuevo, sacada de la historia de Francisco Lopez de Gomara, y de la cosmographia de Ieronymo Giraua Tarragonez.

En Anvers, por Juan Bellero al Aguila de Or, 1575, 4to (210 x 170mm), contemporary limp vellum, with (2) numerous woodcuts, including 4 volvelles with moveable parts, and this edition with the one folding map of the world that includes America.

The second of only two Spanish Text Editions, but the First to Include Excerpts from Francisco Lopez De Gomara and Jeronimo Girava, and a long description of Iceland abridged from the 1574 Latin edition.

An important edition by Gemma Frisius with the cordiform world map after Waldseemuller that first appeared in a Frisius edition of 1544.
It was with Frisius’ additions that the popularity of the Cosmographia soared. The manual became a highly respected work on astronomy and navigation that was to see over forty reprints in 14 languages and that remained popular until the end of the 16th century. Although one of the reasons for the book’s enormous popularity was undoubtedly its discussion of the newly discovered lands in the New World, available in all editions. Another was the book’s inclusion of ingenious volvelles or paper devices which enabled one to solve practical mathematical problems relating to time, the calendar, astronomy and astrology. Apianus manual is divided into two main parts; one discussing the principles of cosmography, the other providing cosmographical data, e.g. a general geographical description of four continents, and a table of 1417 places with their coordinates. Generally speaking it teaches its readers four things: (1) it provides a brief explanation of essential concepts of astronomy and geography; (2) it explains how to find latitude, longitude and time with mathematical instruments, (3) it provides arithmetical methods for converting differences in coordinates to distances, and (4) it explains how to draw a cosmographical map. Among the instruments depicted in the work is an armillary sphere, portable time telling devices, including a diptych and nocturnal,annulus astronomicus or astronomical rings and an astrolabe.

The Cosmographia also incorporates five volvelles, i.e. paper instruments with moving parts. The first of these is a horizon instrument (Ci verso). This is a simple volvelle demonstrating the relationship between the local horizon, the zenith, the polar axis and the equator. The second volvelle is a circular calendar without moveable parts (Cii verso). The outer scale shows the Zodiac, each sign divided into 30 degrees. The lower left quadrant of the inner disc can be used to tell the time in unequal hours, which were widely used in the 16th century. Because unequal hours divided both day and night into twelve hours each, these hours varied in length with the seasons, as do day and night. The right quadrant shows a shadow square, a proportional measuring device often used to measure heights at a distance. The third volvelle (Civ verso), called Ptolemy’s Instrument by Apianus, is an altitude sun dial, which can be used to tell time in any latitude, hence is a universal instrument. It also tells the times of sunrise and sunset and gives the lengths of day and night in any latitude. The fourth volvelle is a terrestrial astrolabe (Hiii) equipped with a geographical or map-plate. This exclusively cosmographical variant of the age-old astrolabe indicated the latitude and longitude of a region, the movement of the sun as seen from the earth, and the relative time in different parts of the earth. The fifth volvelle is a lunar clock (Oi), which in conjunction with a sundial, can be used to determine time at night. In use, the inner disc is set to show the current phase of the moon through the window. After determining the hour angle of the moon (with a sundial used as a moondial) and setting the lunar dial of the volvelle to that hour angle, one can nd the location of the sun, hence ascertain the time at night (cf. S. Vanden Broecke, The Use of Visual Media in Renaissance Cosmography: the ‘Cosmography’ of Peter Apian and Gemma Frisius, in: “Paedagogica Historica”, 36/1, 2000, pp. 131-150).
A fine unsophisticated copy in its original binding.
Provenance: J.Peeters-Fontainas collection.
Alden 575/2; Leclerc Bibliotheca Americana, 39; Palau 13809; Peeters- Fontainas 63; Sabin 1756; Van Ortroy 55.

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