This item has been sold, but you can get on the Waitlist to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1597 Ptolemy / Magini / Keschedt Map of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan

Tabula Asiae IX. - Main View

1597 Ptolemy / Magini / Keschedt Map of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan



Tabula Asiae IX.
  1597 (undated)     5.5 x 7 in (13.97 x 17.78 cm)


A scarce and unusual 1597 Ptolemaic map of what constitutes modern day Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Presented on a trapezoidal projection with bold mountain ranges dividing the region. This map was engraved by G. Magini and G. Porro based upon the 1561 Valgrisi/Ruscelli edition of Ptolemy's Geography. Shortly after Magini issued his edition of the Geographiae in 1596, Petrus Keschedt, a German publisher operating out of Cologne, copied it and began issuing his own pirated editions. In November of 1597, no less a figure than Abraham Ortelius spotted the pirate. Ortelius informed Magini and, in the face of legal action, Keschedt stopped publishing the atlas until 1608, at which point he recut the plates and issued a new edition. The 1596 Magini edition of Ptolemy's Geographiae was the first small format edition of Mercator's Atlas.


Claudius Ptolemy (83 - 161 AD) is considered to be the father of cartography. A native of Alexandria living at the height of the Roman Empire, Ptolemy was renowned as a student of Astronomy and Geography. His work as an astronomer, as published in his Almagest, held considerable influence over western thought until Isaac Newton. His cartographic influence remains to this day. Ptolemy was the first to introduce projection techniques and to publish an atlas, the Geographiae. Ptolemy based his geographical and historical information on the "Geographiae" of Strabo, the cartographic materials assembled by Marinus of Tyre, and contemporary accounts provided by the many traders and navigators passing through Alexandria. Ptolemy's Geographiae was a groundbreaking achievement far in advance of any known pre-existent cartography, not for any accuracy in its data, but in his method. His projection of a conic portion of the globe on a grid, and his meticulous tabulation of the known cities and geographical features of his world, allowed scholars for the first time to produce a mathematical model of the world's surface. In this, Ptolemy's work provided the foundation for all mapmaking to follow. His errors in the estimation of the size of the globe (more than twenty percent too small) resulted in Columbus's fateful expedition to India in 1492.

Ptolemy's text was lost to Western Europe in the middle ages, but survived in the Arab world and was passed along to the Greek world. Although the original text almost certainly did not include maps, the instructions contained in the text of Ptolemy's Geographiae allowed the execution of such maps. When vellum and paper books became available, manuscript examples of Ptolemy began to include maps. The earliest known manuscript Geographias survive from the fourteenth century; of Ptolemies that have come down to us today are based upon the manuscript editions produced in the mid 15th century by Donnus Nicolaus Germanus, who provided the basis for all but one of the printed fifteenth century editions of the work. More by this mapmaker...

Giovanni Antonio Magini (June 13, 1555 - February 11, 1617) was an Italian astronomer, astrologer, cartographer, and mathematician. Born in Padua, he completed his studies in philosophy in Bologna in 1579. In 1588 he was chosen over Galileo Galilei as the chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna after the death of Egnatio Danti. Magini was a prolific writer, putting forth theories of celestial motion (he was a supporter of a geocentric solar system), the use of quadrants in surveying and astronomy, and trigonometry. In 1608, Magini produced the first map of Italy to improve on that of Gastaldi: his meticulously researched and beautifully engraved 8-sheet Italia Nuova was hugely influential: upon its publication, Blaeu promptly copied it to produce his own wall map of Italy; the rest of the mapmaking establishment swiftly followed suit. Consequently, virtually every 17th century map of Italy can be identified as a derivative of Magini's monumental achievement. His atlas, Atlante geografico d’Italia, was published posthumously by his son in 1620. This work was intended to include maps of every Italian region with exact nomenclature and historical notes. He also served as court astrologer for the Duke of Mantua. Learn More...

Petrus Keschedt (fl. c. 1596 - 1598) was a 16th century engraver and publisher based in Cologne, Germany. He is best known for his nefarious piracy of Giovanni Magini's 1596 issue of Ptoloemy's Geographiae. Learn More...


Geographiae universae tum veteris tum novae absolutissimum opus duobus voluminibus distinctum, In quorum priore habentur Cl. Ptolomaei Pelusiensis Geographicae enarrationis Libri octo: Quorum primus, qui praecepta ipsius facultatis omnia complectitur, commentariis uberrimis illustratus est a Io. Antonio Magino Patavino. (1597 Keschedt edition)    


Good condition. Upper margin narrow, cutting slightly into title text, as issued.


Phillips, P.L. (Atlases) 405.