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Introduction:

The Ulm edition of Ptolemy was first published in 1482 by Lienhart Holle. In contrast to the two earlier illustrated editions of Ptolemy's geography - Bologna (1477) and Rome (1478) - the maps in the Ulm edition are woodblock prints, not copperplate engravings. The maps in the Ulm edition follow the manuscript maps of Donnus Nicolaus Germanus, a Benedictine monk from Breslau who produced brilliant presentation copies for Italian elites in the 1460s and 1470s. Specifically, the Ulm was patterned after the manuscript atlas prepared for Pope Paul II. The Ulm Ptolemy was the first book Holle published, but it was also to be one of his last. Holle went bankrupt shortly after the original publication. The work was then taken over by Johann Reger, who issued another edition in 1486. The brilliant blue of the 1482 maps, made from crushed lapis lazuli, was replaced by a purple-brown color in 1486, making the 1482 copies beautifully distinct.