We Love Geography

Last month I gave a paper at the Kartographiehistorisches Colloquium, and was surprised that more than 100 people were waiting in Friedenstein Palace in Gotha, Germany to listen. Geography and its paraphernalia fascinate a lot of people.

That feeling seems to have taken hold back in the 15th century, when Italian nobles began spending insane amounts of money to own their own Geographies of Ptolemy.

The Vatican Library has just digitized Vat.lat.3810, volume one of a two-volume luxury edition dating from about 1470. Anthony Grafton wrote when this was displayed in the United States:
By the middle of the century increasingly opulent manuscripts of the Geography had become fashionable as conspicuous displays of wealth; and travellers and explorers as well as scholars read them.
Now it has to said that Ptolemy is not light reading, for any of the above. Most of his book is a directory of places with latitudes and longitudes, like the coast of Puglia here:

About as interesting as tide tables or the phone book. The real reason that this gorgeous book was commissioned was for the maps by Nicholas Germanus, which are in the previously released Vat.lat.3811, and these would make any of my historical cartography friends drool with pleasure:

This week's digitizations are few in number, but perhaps there is a rush in store for us. Here is the list of 17:
  1. Ross.86.pt.1,
  2. Vat.lat.2339,
  3. Vat.lat.2358,
  4. Vat.lat.2869,
  5. Vat.lat.2979,
  6. Vat.lat.3035, Logic of Paulus Pergulensis, see Jordanus. With this fine Porphyrian Tree: 
  7. Vat.lat.3737,
  8. Vat.lat.3810 (Upgraded to HQ), Geography of Ptolemy (above)
  9. Vat.lat.4018,
  10. Vat.lat.4157,
  11. Vat.lat.4159,
  12. Vat.lat.4161,
  13. Vat.lat.4163,
  14. Vat.lat.4166,
  15. Vat.lat.4190,
  16. Vat.lat.4226,
  17. Vat.lat.13362,
Five more items already online at Heidelberg now at Vatican too:
  1. Pal.lat.571,
  2. Pal.lat.572 (Upgraded to HQ),
  3. Pal.lat.603 (Upgraded to HQ),
  4. Pal.lat.606 (Upgraded to HQ),
  5. Pal.lat.609,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 183. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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