Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Prima Africae Tabula

  • Translation

Article ID AF0273
Artist Ptolemy/Conrad Sweynheym
Arnold Pannartz and Konrad Sweinheim were two printers of the 15th century. Pannartz died about 1476, Sweinheim in 1477. Pannartz was, perhaps, a native of Prague, and Sweinheim of Eltville near Mainz. Zedler believes (Gutenberg-Forschungen, 1901) that Sweinheim worked at Eltville with Gutenberg in 1461-1464. Whether Pannartz had been connected with Sweinheim in Germany is not known. It is certain that the two brought Gutenberg's invention to Italy. The Benedictine abbey of Subiaco was the cradle of Italian printing. Probably Cardinal Giovanni of Turrecremata, who was Abbot in commendam of Subiaco, summoned the two printers there. They came in 1464. The first book that they printed at Subiaco was a Donatus; it has not, however, been preserved. The first book printed in Italy that is extant was a Cicero, De oratore (now in the Buchgewerbehaus at Leipzig), issued in September, 1465. It was followed by Lactantius, De divinis institutionibus, in October, 1465, and Augustine's De civitate Dei (1467). These four impressions from Subiaco are of particular importance, because they abandon the Blackletter of the early German books. In Italy, Roman characters were demanded. Pannartz and Sweinheim, however, did not produce a pure but only a ""half Roman"" type with Blackletter-like characteristics. n 1467, the two printers left Subiaco and settled at Rome, where the brothers Pietro and Francesco Massimo placed a house at their disposal. The same year, they published an edition of Cicero's letters that gave its name to the cicero, the Continental equivalent of the pica. Their proof and manuscript reader was Giovan de' Bussi, since 1469 Bishop of Aleria in Corsica. In 1472, they applied to Pope Sixtus IV for Church benefices. From this we know that both were ecclesiastics: Pannartz of Cologne and Sweinheim of Mainz. The pope had a reversion drawn up for them, a proof of his great interest in printing. In 1474, Sweinheim was made a canon at St. Victor at Mainz. It is not known whether Pannartz also obtained benefice. Perhaps the pope also aided them, at any rate, they printed eighteen more works in 1472 and 1473. After this they separated. Pannartz printed by himself thirteen further volumes. Sweinheim took up engraving on metal and executed the fine maps for the Cosmography of Ptolemy (arround 100- 160 a.C.), the first work of this kind, but died before he had finished his task. Claudius Ptolemy Geographia, gives a list of geographic coordinates of spherical longitude and latitude of almost ten thousand point locations on the earth surface, as they were known at his times. The list is organized in Tabulae which cor- respond to specific regions of the three known continents at that time, Africa, Asia and Europe. Research on Ptolemy’s Geographia has started at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in the eighties, focused mainly, but not exclusively, on data re- lated to territories which are now under the sovereignty of the modern Greek state. The World of Ptolemy is classified in Regions, since each Chapter is referred to one of them, giving by this way the concept of Atlas as it is understood today.
Title Prima Africae Tabula
Year ca. 1490
Description Map shows trapezoid northwest Africa, Algeria, Arocco and Mauretania. Rivers and mountains are roughly shown in the country on the side the climatically zones. Ptolomey watermark on the right side.
According to the "Out-of-Africa theory", Africa is considered the "cradle of mankind", where homo development led to the development of the anatomically modern human Homo sapiens. One of the earliest advanced civilizations in mankind was formed in ancient Egypt. Over the millennia, various "great empires" such as the Empire of Abyssinia emerged on the continent. There were other kingdoms in West Africa, such as the Ashanti and Haussa, but they emerged much later. There were also some important cultures in East and South Africa, as in the area of today's Sudan, then called Nubia or Kush. Nubian pharaohs ruled all of Egypt for a dynasty. For example, the inhabitants of Greater Zimbabwe were important cultures in southern Africa. This stone castle was architecturally a masterpiece at that time and important for trade between the peoples of the south and east. The Swahili were known in East Africa. North Africa was connected to Europe and the Near East by the Mediterranean rather than separated. Carthage, a foundation of the Phoenicians in what is now Tunisia, was around the middle of the 1st millennium BC. The dominant power in the western Mediterranean until it was replaced by Rome in the Punic Wars. This prevailed from 30 BC. BC (conquest of Egypt) over all of North Africa. Even the ancient Egyptians (Queen Hatshepsut) made trips to Punt, probably in what is now Somalia. The kingdom of the Queen of Sheba, which probably had its center in southern Arabia, is said to have spanned parts of the Horn from Africa to the north of Ethiopia.
Place of Publication Rome
Dimensions (cm)34 x 53
ConditionTear on the left side perfectly restored, printed on two sheets and joined together
Coloringoriginal colored


390.00 €

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