WITH THE 1504 REISCH MAP
PICCOLOMINI, AENEAS SYLVIS [POPE PIUS II]
Cosmographia PII Papae i Asiae et Europae Elegai Descriptione, Paris 1509. With Gregor Reisch’s untitled world map
Small quarto. Later stiff vellum binding. Untitled folding world map. Excellent condition.
This rare work by Pope Pius II contains the second in a series of fascinating woodcut world maps that between 1503 and 1535 appeared in Gregor Reisch’s Margarita Philosophica. The Reisch maps have great significance for the New World. “Here we find the first hint of Columbus’ discoveries on a printed map,” writes Suarez, “though Ptolemaic in its geographical content, this map contains a legend which alludes to the discovery of the New World. That legend appears on the Ptolemaic land bridge connecting Southeast Asia to Africa. It states, in Latin, that ‘here there is not land but sea, in which there are such islands not known to Ptolemy’.” This version of the Reisch map was first published in 1504.
Pope Pius II’s text holds additional importance in that, while assimilating the classic Ptolemaic picture of the world, he adds information about China and western Asia derived from Marco Polo and Odoric de Pordenone. He also borrowed from Conti’s description of India in rejecting the theory of a landlocked Indian Ocean, lending both his support and prestige to the idea that India could be reached by rounding the horn of Africa.
Inventory No. 13507