In somnium Scipionis Libri duo: et septem eiusdem libri Saturnaliorum. Ambrosius Theodosius MACROBIUS.
In somnium Scipionis Libri duo: et septem eiusdem libri Saturnaliorum.
In somnium Scipionis Libri duo: et septem eiusdem libri Saturnaliorum.
In somnium Scipionis Libri duo: et septem eiusdem libri Saturnaliorum.

In somnium Scipionis Libri duo: et septem eiusdem libri Saturnaliorum.

Cologne: Eucharius Cervicornus, 1521.

Folio, title within an ornate woodcut border; fine woodcut map of the world and several woodcut diagrams, woodcut initials; nineteenth-century continental binding of half calf, flat spine gilt in compartments.

Early Macrobius with a refigured world map

An important early edition of Macrobius, the first to be edited by Arnoldus Vesaliensis (the classicist Arnold Haldrein of Wesel). This is a handsome edition, folio in size with an illustrated title-page and with many fine woodcuts and initials throughout, including a large and further developed, version of the famous Macrobian world map. One of the very earliest world maps, this half-page woodcut depicts a world split into two - Europe and the balancing Antipodes - and surrounded by ocean at the edges. This remarkable image, which survived by manuscript transmission from the fifth century into the age of printing, had a strong and lingering effect on post-Renaissance and pre-discovery geography: as Shirley points out, reprints "continued to appear from Venetian presses throughout the next century in at least 1521, 1528, 1565 and 1574. There was also a Basle edition of 1535… Crude variants also appeared in editions of Sacrobosco's Opusculum Sphericum throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, As late as 1640 the title-page of Rosaccio's Teatro del Cielo included a small rectangular map after Macrobius…" (Mapping of the World, p. 12).

An important early edition of Macrobius, the first to be edited by Arnoldus Vesaliensis (the classicist Arnold Haldrein of Wesel). This is a handsome edition, folio in size with an illustrated title-page and with many fine woodcuts and initials throughout, including a large and further developed, version of the famous Macrobian world map. One of the very earliest world maps, this half-page woodcut depicts a world split into two - Europe and the balancing Antipodes - and surrounded by ocean at the edges. This remarkable image, which survived by manuscript transmission from the fifth century into the age of printing, had a strong and lingering effect on post-Renaissance and pre-discovery geography: as Shirley points out, reprints "continued to appear from Venetian presses throughout the next century in at least 1521, 1528, 1565 and 1574. There was also a Basle edition of 1535… Crude variants also appeared in editions of Sacrobosco's Opusculum Sphericum throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, As late as 1640 the title-page of Rosaccio's Teatro del Cielo included a small rectangular map after Macrobius…" (Mapping of the World, p. 12).

There is an immense literature on the Macrobian world view: Carlos Sanz (El primer mapa del mundo…, Real Sociedad Geográfica, B 455, Madrid, 1966) has studied the significance of the maps with regard to Quiros and subsequent voyages of discovery into the southern hemisphere, while Beaglehole in his great edition of the journals of Cook has neatly written of 'the circular maps of another cycle, that of Macrobius… [who] goes rather further than Cicero or St. Isidore; for whereas Cicero thought the southern zone habitable, and St. Isidore noted that there 'the Antipodes are fabulously said to dwell', Macrobius considered that the heat of the torrid zone would forever keep men from providing any proof. There however is the neatly balanced round of the Macrobian map: in the middle the broad Bath of Ocean, bounded on either side by the wavy coastline of an insular continent, northern and southern, snugly fitted into the waters of its half-circle. Each is divided into three bands: the first, rather narrow, facing on the Alveus Oceani and labelled Perusta - 'burnt up'… So seductive, in the field of science, was harmony, symmetry, balance, the fitness of things; so difficult has it been for the geographer, as for other men, to wait on facts. So little, one is tempted cynically to add, has it mattered in the long run…' (Beaglehole, Journals, I, pp. xxv-vi ).

Adams, M60; Shirley, 13n.

Price (AUD): $10,500.00  other currencies Ref: #4104513

Condition Report