Important Early Collection of New World Travels
With a Lengthy Introduction by Sebastian Münster
In a Handsome Contemporary Binding
A very attractive example of the first edition of Huttich's geography, an important very early collection of New World material that includes accounts of Columbus's voyages, and other voyages initiated by Spain and Portugal.
This book is often attributed to Grynaeus, but is more properly credited to Johann Huttich, who compiled most of the work. The work stems from the German-speaking, Protestant intellectual milieu that produced other important early geographical publications. Indeed, the volume opens with Sebastian Münster's 12-page description of the world map that should accompany this book (but is lacking here), with directions on its use.
Johann Huttich (1490-1544) was able to access accounts of early Spanish and Portuguese voyagers to America while in Madrid as part of the embassy associated with Charles V's election as Holy Roman Emperor. Included herein are the three voyages of Columbus, as well as those of Vespucci, Pedro Alonso Niño, Vicente Yánez Pinzón, Pedro Alvares Cabral, and Alvise Cadamosto. In addition to the Portuguese discoveries in Brazil and the East, Huttich incorporates accounts of Marco Polo, and material collected by Peter Martyr. There are also numerous accounts of other European voyages. Huttich's work is one of the earliest to bring together in a single volume a number of otherwise extremely rare contemporary accounts of the earliest explorers, some of which are virtually unobtainable.
In addition to several handsome woodcut capitals, there are two woodcuts in the text, including an illustration of a snake wrapped around a tree (page 30) and a version of Vespucci's triangle (page 129), here in a cosmographic diagram representing the earth's sphericity. S. Leitch has written on Vespucci's diagram and its influence on the emerging field of cosmography.
Vespucci’s diagram was brought into the orbit of astronomic notation where it helped the viewer to visualize cosmographic principles. The itinerary of this triangle in early 16th century print culture tracks the merging of diagrammatic thinking of astronomical propositions with other genres in the nascent field of cosmography - S. Leitch, Vespucci's Triangle and the Shape of the World (2010).
The printer's device of Johann Herwagen (d. 1558) appears on the title page and leaf 2C6 verso. It features a three-headed Hermes holding a caduceus, and on the side of the column may hang the head of John the Baptist, as an allusion to Herwagen's forename. The title page vignette version is smaller and differs slightly from the device on 2C6 verso.
Contents of the volume here follows:
- Prefatio Simonis Grynaei ad Collimitium. Preface by Simon Grynaeus.
- Typi Cosmographici et Declaratio et usus, per Sebastianum Munsterum. ( pages). Introduction by Sebastian Münster. In this example there are early Latin marginalia on the page of Münster's text treating Asia.
- Aloysii Cadamusti navigatio ad terras ignotas, Archangelo Madrignano interprete (pages 1-89). Account of Alvise Cadamosto (c 1432-1488), Venetian explorer and trader. Woodcut of snakes and bird (page 30).
- Navigatio Christophori Columbi, qua multas regionis hactenus orbis incognitas inuenit, inventasque Hispaniae rex coli jussit & frequentari (pages 90-121)
- Navigationvm Alberici Vespvtii epitome (pages 122-130) Woodcut on page 129 of Vespucci's triangle.
- Rervm Memorabilivm Calechvt, qvae non svnt absimiles illis quas Petrus Aliares secundo & altero tractatu scripsit... (pages 130-142)
- Qvomodo Iosephvs Indvs Venit vlisbonam, et exceptvs a regehonorifice (pages 142-153)
- Americi Vespvtii Illvstrissimo Renato Hiervsalem et Siciliae regi, duci Lothoringiae ac Barñ. Americus Vesputius humi lem reuerentiam, & debitã recommendationem (pages 154-188)
- Lvdovici Romani patritii navigationis Aethiopiae, Aegypti, Utriusque, Arabiae, Persidis, Syriae, Indiae intra & extra Gangem, liber primus, Archangelo Madrignano interprete (pages 189-296)
- Locorvm Terrae Sanctae exactissima descriptio, avtore F. Brocardo Monacho (pages 298-329)
- Marci Pavli Veneti de regionibvs orientalibvs (pages 330-418). Marco Polo.
- Haithoni Armeni ordinis praemonstratensis de Tartaris Liber (pages 419-482)
- Mathiae a Michov de Sarmatia Asiana atqve Evropea, Libri Dvo (pages 483-531)
- Pavli Iovii Novo Comensis de Legatione Moschovitarvm libellus, ad Ioanne Rusum Archiepiscopu Consentinu (pages 532-548)
- Petrvs Martyr de Insvlis nvper repertis, et de moribus incolarum earundem (pages 549-569)
- Erasmii Stellae Libonothani de Borvssiae Antiqvi Tatibvs Liber Primvs (pages 573-585)
A very attractive example of the complete text (lacking map, as is frequently the case), which is important for collecting numerous early New World voyages. The fairly extensive early marginalia in this example (in Latin) may be worth further study.
While the 1532 Novus Orbis is well represented in institutional confines, it is increasingly difficult to find clean collector-grade examples of the text, especially in attractive contemporary bindings, offered in the market.
Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a cosmographer and professor of Hebrew who taught at Tübingen, Heidelberg, and Basel. He settled in the latter in 1529 and died there, of plague, in 1552. Münster made himself the center of a large network of scholars from whom he obtained geographic descriptions, maps, and directions.
As a young man, Münster joined the Franciscan order, in which he became a priest. He then studied geography at Tübingen, graduating in 1518. He moved to Basel, where he published a Hebrew grammar, one of the first books in Hebrew published in Germany. In 1521 Münster moved again, to Heidelberg, where he continued to publish Hebrew texts and the first German-produced books in Aramaic. After converting to Protestantism in 1529, he took over the chair of Hebrew at Basel, where he published his main Hebrew work, a two-volume Old Testament with a Latin translation.
Münster published his first known map, a map of Germany, in 1525. Three years later, he released a treatise on sundials. In 1540, he published Geographia universalis vetus et nova, an updated edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia. In addition to the Ptolemaic maps, Münster added 21 modern maps. One of Münster’s innovations was to include one map for each continent, a concept that would influence Ortelius and other early atlas makers. The Geographia was reprinted in 1542, 1545, and 1552.
He is best known for his Cosmographia universalis, first published in 1544 and released in at least 35 editions by 1628. It was the first German-language description of the world and contained 471 woodcuts and 26 maps over six volumes. Many of the maps were taken from the Geographia and modified over time. The Cosmographia was widely used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The text, woodcuts, and maps all influenced geographical thought for generations.