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Fine example of the 1541 edition of Lorenz Fries's reduced version of Waldseemuller's map of 1513, which is often referred to as The Admiral's map.

The Waldseemuller prototype was the first printed atlas map to focus on the New World. Waldseemuller's map is preceded only by the small map of the Spanish Main by Peter Martyr in Seville, 1511, which is virtually unobtainable. Fries supplements the work of Waldseemuller with an inscription about Columbus not found in the 1513 version of the map and adds vignettes of Indians and a possum, which he borrowed from Waldseemuller's World Map of 1516.

The map shows a continuous coastline between North and South America, with the massive east-west coastline of South America being the map's single largest feature, extending south to approximately the Rio de la Plata lies. In the Caribbean, the islands of Cuba (named Isabella Ins. after Queen Isabella of Spain), Hispaniola (Spgnoha), and Puerto Rico (Boriguem) are shown, along with numerous other islands. A Spanish flag is shown planted in Cuba. Continuing north, North America is plotted to beyond the mouth of the St. Lawrence; at the correct latitude of the St. Lawrence there is a river named Caninor, quite possibly the St. Lawrence. This region had almost certainly been already explored by various Bristol expeditions. In all, over 15 placenames are shown on the North American Coastline, drawn primarily from Portuguese sources, including the Cantino Portolano of 1502 and the Caveri of c. 1505.

The representations of Florida pre-dates any recorded European contact, as does the mapping of the Gulf of Mexico prior to Pineda's voyage of 1519, suggesting Waldseemuller had access to the reports of unrecorded voyages prior to 1513. Both Waldseemuller and Fries credit Columbus in annotations on the map. Waldseemuller had previously credited Amerigo Vespucci with the discovery of America and was apparently trying to correct this error. In the text to his 1513 edition of Ptolemy, Waldseemuller refers to the Admiral as the source of the map. While it has been generally assumed that this is a reference to Columbus, it is much more likely that it references Cavieri's map of 1505, which according to Henry Stevens had been sent out for engraving. A copy of the Cavieri exists in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

Lorenz Fries's work was of great importance. Among his most important accomplishments, it was his sketch of the original 1507 Waldseemuller World Map which was copied by Peter Apian in Apian's World Map of 1520, which for more than 100 years was believed to be the oldest surviving map to name America, prior to the re-discovery of the original 1507 Waldseemuller map at the beginning of the 20th Century.

The dating of the map is based upon the titles on the verso.

  • 1522: Tabula Ter. Novae
  • 1525: Oceani Occidentalis Seu Terre Noue Tabula
  • 1535: Oceani Occidentalis Seu Terrae Novae Tabula
  • 1541: Tabula terrae novae
Burden 4.
Lorenz Fries Biography

Lorenz (Laurent) Fries (ca. 1485-1532) was born in Mulhouse, Alsace. He studied medicine, apparently spending time at the universities of Pavia, Piacenza, Montpellier and Vienna. After completing his education, Fries worked as a physician in several places before settling in Strasbourg in about 1519. While in Strasbourg, Fries met the Strasbourg printer and publisher Johann Grüninger, an associate of the St. Dié group of scholars formed by, among others, Walter Lud, Matthias Ringmann and Martin Waldseemüller.

From 1520 to 1525, Fries worked with Grüninger as a cartographic editor, exploiting the corpus of material that Waldseemüller had created. Fries' first venture into mapmaking was in 1520, when he executed a reduction of Martin Waldseemüller's wall map of the world, first published in 1507. While it would appear that Fries was the editor of the map, credit is actually given in the title to Peter Apian. The map, Tipus Orbis Universalis Iuxta Ptolomei Cosmographi Traditionem Et Americ Vespucii Aliorque Lustrationes A Petro Apiano Leysnico Elucubrat. An.o Dni MDXX, was issued in Caius Julius Solinus' Enarrationes, edited by Camers, and published in Vienna in 1520.

Fries’ next project was a new edition of the Geographia of Claudius Ptolemy, which was published by Johann Grüninger in 1522. Fries evidently edited the maps, in most cases simply producing a reduction of the equivalent map from Waldseemüller's 1513 edition of the Geographie Opus Novissima, printed by Johann Schott. Fries also prepared three new maps for the Geographia, of Southeast Asia and the East Indies, China, and the world, but the geography of these derives from Waldseemüller's world map of 1507.

The 1522 edition of Fries' work is very rare, suggesting that the work was not commercially successful. In 1525, an improved edition was issued, with a re-edit of the text by Willibald Pirkheimer, from the notes of Regiomontanus (Johannes Müller von Königsberg).

After Grüninger's death in ca. 1531, the business was continued by his son Christoph, who seems to have sold the materials for the Ptolemy to two Lyon publishers, the brothers Melchior and Gaspar Trechsel, who published a joint edition in 1535, before Gaspar Trechsel published an edition in his own right in 1541.