The _GEOGRAPHY_ (Greek : Γεωγραφικὴ Ὑφήγησις,
_Geōgraphikḕ Hyphḗgēsis_, lit. "Geographical Guidance"), also
known by its
Latin names as the _GEOGRAPHIA_ and the _COSMOGRAPHIA_,
is a gazetteer , an atlas , and a treatise on cartography , compiling
the geographical knowledge of the 2nd-century
* 1 Manuscripts
* 2 Contents
* 2.1 Cartographical treatise * 2.2 Gazetteer * 2.3 Atlas
* 3 History
* 4 Longitudes error and
* 11 External links
* 11.1 Primary sources * 11.2 Secondary material
The world map from Codex Vaticanus Urbinas Graecus 82, done according to Ptolemy's 1st projection The world map from Codex Seragliensis 57, done according to Ptolemy's 2nd projection
Versions of Ptolemy's work in antiquity were probably proper atlases with attached maps, although some scholars aver that the references to maps in the text were later additions.
No Greek manuscript of the _Geography_ survives from earlier than the
13th century. A letter written by the Byzantine monk Maximus Planudes
records that he searched for one for
Chora Monastery in the summer of
1295; one of the earliest surviving texts may have been one of those
he then assembled. In Europe, maps were sometimes made redrawn using
the coordinates provided by the text, as Planudes was forced to do.
Later scribes and publishers could then copy these new maps, as
Athanasius did for the emperor
Andronicus II Palaeologus . The three
earliest surviving texts with maps are those from Constantinople
Latin translation of these texts was made in 1406 or 1407
Jacobus Angelus in Florence ,
The _Geography_ consists of three sections, divided among 8 books. Book I is a treatise on cartography , describing the methods used to assemble and arrange Ptolemy's data. From Book II through the beginning of Book VII, a gazetteer provides longitude and latitude values for the world known to the ancient Romans (the "ecumene "). The rest of Book VII provides details on three projections to be used for the construction of a map of the world, varying in complexity and fidelity. Book VIII constitutes an atlas of regional maps. The maps include a recapitulation of some of the values given earlier in the work, which were intended to be used as captions to clarify the map's contents and maintain their accuracy during copying.
Maps based on scientific principles had been made in Europe since the time of Eratosthenes in the 3rd century BC. Ptolemy improved the treatment of map projections . He provided instructions on how to create his maps in the first section of the work.
The gazetteer section of Ptolemy's work provided latitude and
longitude coördinates for all the places and geographical features in
Latitude was measured from the equator in
Ptolemy was aware that Europe knew only about a quarter of the globe.
Ptolemy's work included a single large and less detailed world map and then separate and more detailed regional maps. The first Greek manuscripts compiled after Maximus Planudes 's rediscovery of the text had as many as 64 regional maps, the standard set in Western Europe came to be 26: 10 European maps, 4 African maps, and 12 Asian maps. As early as the 1420s, these canonical maps were complemented by extra-Ptolemaic regional maps depicting, e.g., Scandinavia .
1st Map of Europe Albion ">
2nd Map of Europe Tarragonese , Baetic , ">
3rd Map of Europe Parisian , Narbonese , ">
4th Map of Europe Greater Germany ">
6th Map of Europe
7th Map of Europe Sardinia ">
8th Map of Europe Sarmatia in Europe *
1st Map of Africa Tangerine ">
2nd Map of Africa
4th Map of Africa Inner Libya ">
1st Map of Asia Bithynia & Pontus , Asia , Lycia , Pamphylia , Galatia , Cappadocia , Cilicia , ">
2nd Map of Asia Asiatic Sarmatia *
3rd Map of Asia Colchis , Iberia , Albania , ">
4th Map of Asia Cyprus Island , Syria , Palestine or Judea , Arabia Petrea & Deserta , Mesopotamia , ">
6th Map of Asia Arabia Felix ">
8th Map of Asia Scythia beyond Imaus ">
10th Map of Asia India within the Ganges *
12th Map of Asia Taprobana Island
The original treatise by
Marinus of Tyre that formed the basis of
Ptolemy's _Geography_ has been completely lost. A world map based on
Ptolemy was displayed in
Whereas previous Greco-Roman geographers such as
Strabo and Pliny the
Elder demonstrated a reluctance to rely on the contemporary accounts
of sailors and merchants who plied distant areas of the
See also: Geography and cartography in medieval Islam The Amir of Bani Bu Ali tribe, the likely "Bliulaie" of Ptolemy's map.
Muslim cartographers were using copies of Ptolemy's _
Almagest _ and
_Geography_ by the 9th century. At that time, in the court of the
caliph al-Maʾmūm , al-Khwārazmī compiled his _Book of the
Depiction of the
Despite beginning to compile numerous gazetteers of places and coördinates indebted to Ptolemy, Muslim scholars made almost no direct use of Ptolemy's principles in the maps which have survived. Instead, they followed al-Khwārazmī's modifications and the orthogonal projection advocated by Suhrāb 's early 10th-century treatise on the _Marvels of the Seven Climes to the End of Habitation _. Surviving maps from the medieval period were not done according to mathematical principles. The world map from the 11th-century _Book of Curiosities _ is the earliest surviving map of the Muslim or Christian world to include a graticule but the cartographer seems to have not understood its purpose, starting it from the left using twice the intended scale and then (apparently realizing his mistake) giving up halfway through. Its presence does strongly suggest the existence of earlier, now-lost maps which had been mathematically derived in the manner of Ptolemy, al-Khwārazmi, or Suhrāb. There are surviving reports of such maps.
Ptolemy's text reached
Ptolemy had mapped the whole world from the _Fortunatae Insulae_ ( Cape Verde or Canary Islands ) eastward to the eastern shore of the _Magnus Sinus_. This known portion of the world was comprised within 180 degrees. In his extreme east Ptolemy placed _Serica_ (the Land of Silk), the _Sinarum Situs_ (the Port of the Sinae ), and the emporium of _ Cattigara _. On the 1489 map of the world by Henricus Martellus, which was based on Ptolemy’s work, Asia terminated in its southeastern point in a cape, the Cape of Cattigara. Cattigara was understood by Ptolemy to be a port on the _Sinus Magnus,_ or Great Gulf, the actual Gulf of Thailand, at eight and a half degrees north of the Equator, on the coast of Cambodia, which is where he located it in his Canon of Famous Cities . It was the easternmost port reached by shipping trading from the Graeco-Roman world to the lands of the Far East. In Ptolemy’s later and more well-known Geography, a scribal error was made and Cattigara was located at eight and a half degrees South of the Equator. On Ptolemaic maps, such as that of Martellus, _Catigara_ was located on the easternmost shore of the _Mare Indicum,_ 180 degrees East of the Cape St Vincent at, due to the scribal error, eight and a half degrees South of the Equator.
_Catigara_ is also shown at this location on Martin
Waldseemueller’s 1507 world map, which avowedly followed the
tradition of Ptolemy. Ptolemy’s information was thereby
misinterpreted so that the coast of China, which should have been
represented as part of the coast of eastern Asia, was falsely made to
represent an eastern shore of the Indian Ocean. As a result, Ptolemy
implied more land east of the 180th meridian and an ocean beyond.
Marco Polo ’s account of his travels in eastern Asia described lands
and seaports on an eastern ocean apparently unknown to Ptolemy. Marco
Polo’s narrative authorized the extensive additions to the Ptolemaic
map shown on the 1492 globe of
Martin Behaim . The fact that Ptolemy
did not represent an eastern coast of Asia made it admissible for
Behaim to extend that continent far to the east. Behaim’s globe
placed Marco Polo’s Mangi and
Cathay east of Ptolemy’s 180th
meridian, and the Great Khan’s capital, _Cambaluc_ (
The Codex Seragliensis was used as the base of a new edition of the work in 2006. This new edition was used to "decode" Ptolemy's coordinates of Books 2 and 3 by an interdisciplinary team of TU Berlin , presented in publications in 2010 and 2012.
Relevant research on Ptolemy's _Geography_ manuscripts and printed editions, concerning the _Geography_ versions coordinates, has been carried out since 1998 by members of the cartography group, school of surveying engineering, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. See, e.g. selective papers in the web journal "e-Perimetron"
Christopher Columbus modified this geography further by using 53⅔
Italian nautical miles as the length of a degree instead of the longer
degree of Ptolemy, and by adopting
Marinus of Tyre ’s longitude of
225 degrees for the east coast of the _
Magnus Sinus _. This resulted
in a considerable eastward advancement of the longitudes given by
Martin Behaim and other contemporaries of Columbus. By some process
Columbus reasoned that the longitudes of eastern Asia and Cipangu
respectively were about 270 and 300 degrees east, or 90 and 60 degrees
west of the
Canary Islands . He said that he had sailed 1100 leagues
from the Canaries when he found
EARLY MODERN OTTOMAN EMPIRE
Prior to the 16th century knowledge of geography in the Ottoman Empire was limited in scope, with almost no access to the works of earlier Islamic scholars that superseded Ptolemy. His Geography would again be translated and updated with commentary into Arabic under Mehmed II , who commissioned works from Byzantine scholar George Amiroutzes in 1465 and the Florentine humanist Francesco Berlinghieri in 1481.
LONGITUDES ERROR AND EARTH SIZE
Italian scholar Lucio Russo points out two apparently distinct errors:
* considering a sample of 80 cities amongst the 6345 listed by
Ptolemy, those that are both identifiable and for which we can expect
a better distance measurement since they were well known, there is a
systematic overestimation of the longitude by a factor 1.428 with a
high confidence (coefficient of determination r² = 0.9935). This
error produces an evident deformations in Ptolemy's world map most
apparent for exampled in the profile of
Ptolemy took as location for the longitude 0° the Fortunate Isles
which at his times were identified with the
Canary Islands . The
strange coincidence of the two aforementioned errors may be accounted
for if one assumes that this identification was wrong and that at the
time of Ptolemy's sources the
Fortunate Isles where actually the
Antilles . Since Ptolemy could estimate the actual distance to
the Canaries, Russo proposes that he purposely shrank the
The Ptolemy world map , including the countries of " Serica " and "Sinae" ( Cattigara ) at the extreme right beyond the island of "Taprobane" ( Sri Lanka ) and the "Aurea Chersonesus" (Malay peninsula ). *
Codex Seragliensis GI 57, fol. 33v *
1535 printed edition, title page *
19th-century print in Greek (3 volumes) *
_Prima Europe tabula_ One of the earliest surviving copies of Ptolemy's 2nd century map of the British Isles. 2nd edition, 1482.
* Atlas portal
* ^ They are the Urbanas Graecus 82 , the Fragmentum Fabricianum Graecum 23 , and the Seragliensis 57 The Urbanas Graecus is usually considered the oldest, although some argue for the precedence of the Turkish manuscript. * ^ For example, the illustrations for Burney MS 111, most of which were inserted into an earlier copy of the _Geography_ during the early 15th century.
* ^ Berggren (2001) .
* ^ Dilkeb (1987) , pp. 267–268.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Dilkeb (1987) , p. 268.
* ^ Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana . Vat. Gr. 177. Late 13th
* ^ Milanesi (1996) .
* ^ Dilke (1987b) , p. 268.
* ^ Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana . Urbinas Graecus 82. Late 13th
* ^ Universitetsbiblioteket . Fragmentum Fabricianum Graecum 23.
Late 13th century
* ^ The Sultan's Library in Istanbul. Codex Seragliensis GI 57.
Late 13th century
* ^ Dilke (1987b) , p. 269.
* ^ Diller (1940) .
* ^ _A_ _B_ Stückelberger (2006) .
* ^ _A_ _B_ Angelus (c. 1406) .
* ^ Clemens (2008) , p. 244.
* ^ Wright (1923) .
* ^ Images from Burney MS 111 at Wikicommons.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Dilke (1987a) , p. 234.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Parker (2008) , p. 118.
* ^ Young (2001) , p. 29.
* ^ Mawer (2013) , p. 38.
* ^ Suárez (1999) , p. 90-92.
* ^ Yule (1915) , p. 52.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Edson (2004) , pp. 61–62.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Rapoport (2008) , p. 128.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Rapoport (2008) , p. 127.
* ^ Nallino (1939) .
* ^ al-Masʿūdī , 33.
* ^ Rapoport (2008) , p. 130.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Rapoport (2008) , p. 129.
* ^ Rapoport (2008) , p. 126–127.
* ^ Landau, David, and Parshall, Peter. _The
Yale, 1996, p. 241, ISBN 0300068832 ; Crone, G.R., review of _Theatrum
Orbis Terrarum. A Series of Atlases in Facsimile_, _The Geographical
Journal_, Vol. 130, No. 4 (Dec., 1964), pp. 577-578, Published by: The
Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British
Geographers), Article DOI: 10.2307/1792324, JSTOR
* ^ David Landau & Peter Parshall, The
Renaissance Print, pp 241-2,
Yale, 1996, ISBN 0-300-06883-2
* ^ Dennis Rawlins, "The Ptolemy GEOGRAPHY's Secrets", DIO - The
International Journal of Scientific History, Vol. 14, March 2008 .
* ^ See
Oc Eo .
* ^ J.W. McCrindle, _Ancient India as described by Ptolemy,_
London, Trubner, 1885, revised edition by Ramachandra Jain, New Delhi,
Today & Tomorrow’s Printers Albert Herrmann, “Der
Magnus Sinus und
Cattigara nach Ptolemaeus”, _Comptes Rendus du 15me Congrès
International de Géographie,_ Amsterdam, 1938, Leiden, Brill, 1938,
tome II, sect. IV, Géographie Historique et Histoire de la
* ^ Paul Schnabel, „Die Entstehungsgeschichte des
kartographischen Erdbildes des Klaudios Ptolemaios“,
_Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften:
Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Verlag der Akademie der
Wissenschaften,_ Bd.XIV, 1930, S.214-250, n.b. 239-243; cited in
Albert Herrmann, “South-
* Ptolemy. Translated by
Jacobus Angelus (c. 1406), _Geographia_ .
* Berggren, J. Lennart & al. (2001), _Ptolemy's Geography by
Ptolemy_, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-09259-1 .
* Clemens, Raymond (2008), "Medieval Maps in a
Gregorio Dati", in Talbert, Richard J.A.; Unger, Richard Watson,
Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Fresh Perspectives, New
Methods_, Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV, pp. 237–256
* Dilke, Oswald Ashton Wentworth (1987a), "14 · Itineraries and
Geographical Maps in the Early and Late Roman Empires" (PDF), _History
of Cartography_, I, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp.
* Dilke, Oswald Ashton Wentworth (1987b), "15 ·
the Byzantine Empire" (PDF), _History of Cartography_, I, Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, pp. 258–275 .
* Diller, Aubrey (1940), "The Oldest Manuscripts of Ptolemaic Maps",
_Transactions of the American Philological Association_ (71), pp.
* Edson, Evelyn & al. (2004), _Medieval Views of the Cosmos_,
Oxford: Bodleian Library, ISBN 1-85124-184-1 .
* al-Masʿūdī (1894), "Kitāb al-Tanbīh wa-al-ishrāf",
_Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum_, 8, Leiden: Brill .
* Mawer, Granville Allen (2013). "The Riddle of Cattigara". In
Nichols, Robert and Martin Woods. _Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita
to Australia_. National Library of Australia. pp. 38–39. ISBN
* Milanesi, Marica (1996), "A Forgotten Ptolemy: Harley Codex 3686
in the British Library", _
Imago Mundi _, 48, pp. 43–64, doi
* Nallino, C.A. (1939), "Al-Ḥuwārismī e il suo rifacimento della
Geografia di Tolomeo", _Raccolta di scritti editi e inediti_, V, Rome:
Istituto per l'Oriente, pp. 458–532 . (in Italian)
* Parker, Grant (2008). _The Making of Roman India_. Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-85834-2 .
* Rapoport, Yossef; et al. (2008), "The _Book of Curiosities_ and a
Unique Map of the World", _
Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle
Ages: Fresh Perspectives, New Methods_, Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV,
pp. 121–138 .
* Stückelberger, Alfred & al., eds. (2006), _Ptolemaios Handbuch
der Geographie (Griechisch-Deutsch)_ , ISBN 3-7965-2148-7 . (in
German) & (in Greek)
* Suárez, Thomas (1999), _Early Mapping of Southeast Asia_,
Periplus Editions, ISBN 962-593-470-7 .
* Wright, John Kirtland (1923), "Notes on the Knowledge of Latitudes
and Longitudes in the Middle Ages", _Isis_, V (1), pp. 75–98, JSTOR
223599 , doi :10.1086/358121 .
* Young, Gary Keith (2001). _Rome's Eastern Trade: International
Commerce and Imperial Policy, 31 BC-AD 305_. Routledge. ISBN
* Yule, Henry (1915). Henri Cordier, ed. _
Cathay and the Way
Thither: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol I:
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* Berggren, J. Lennart and Jones, Alexander. 2000. _Ptolemy's_
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* Cosgrove, Dennis. 2003. _Apollo's Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of