Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Tabula Prima Aphricae”

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Article ID AF0328
Artist Ptolemy/ Fries (1490-1531)
Lorenz (Laurent) Fries was born in Alsace in 1490 or thereabouts, describing himself on one occasion as from Colmar, one of the towns of the region. He studied medicine at university, or rather at universities, as he seems to have had a peripatetic education, apparently spending time at the universities of Pavia, Piacenza, Montpellier and Vienna. Having successfully completed his education, Fries established himself as a physician, at a succession of places in the Alsace region, with a short spell in Switzerland, before settling in Strasbourg, in about 1519. By this time, he had established a reputation as a writer on medical topics, with several publications already to his credit. Indeed, it was thus that Fries met the Strasbourg printer and publisher Johann Grüninger, an associate of the St. Die group of scholars formed by, among others, Walter Lud, Martin Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller. Gruninger was responsible for printing several of the maps prepared by Waldseemuller, and for supervising the cutting of the maps for the 1513 edition of Ptolemy, edited by the group. This meeting was to introduce a important digression into Fries' life, and for the next five years, from about 1520 to about 1525, he worked in some capacity as a cartographic editor with Gruninger, exploiting the corpus of material that Waldseemuller had created. Claudius Ptolemy ( arround 100- 160 a.C.) 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 Tabula Prima Aphricae”
Year ca. 1520
Description Map show the northern part of Africa in trapezoid projection.
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 Strassburg
Dimensions (cm)28 x 45
ConditionVery good
Coloringoriginal colored
TechniqueWoodcut

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