Maps of Transcaucasia. From the first edition of "The Geography by Ptolemy" by Miguel Servet

    Maps of Transcaucasia. From the first edition of "The Geography by Ptolemy" by Miguel Servet

    France, Lyon


    Mapmaker: Martin Waldseemuller.
    Editors: Lorenz Friez, Melchior & Gaspar Trechsel.

    Paper; xylography

    39.5 х 53.0 cm (size of the sheet)


    In the projection, based on the isosceles trapezium, the horizontal sheet features the detailed map of the region lying between the Caspian (Hyrcani sive Caspii Maris pars) and the Black (Ponti pars) Seas including Armenia Minor (Armenia maioris), Iberia, Colchis, Caucasian Albania with the outlined adjacent neighbouring territories. The names of the settlements, rivers, mountains, etc. are given in the Latin language and their location is determined by geographic coordinates. Explanatory inscriptions are to the right and to the left from the coordinate grid.

    Text in Latin in fancy ornamented frame describing in detail the region presented in the map and named: "TABULA III ASIAE" is on the reverse side in the right and in the left parts of the sheet.


    The map originated from the first edition of “Geography of Claudius Ptolemy” compiled by Spanish thinker and philologist Miguel Servet (1511-1553) and published in Lyons in 1535 by brothers Melchior and Gaspar Trechsel (Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae enarrationis libri octo. Lyons: Melchior & Gaspar Trechsel, 1535).

    It consists of three parts; the second section of the book includes fifty maps, and twenty seven of them are made on the basis of “The Geography” by Claudius Ptolemy and compiled in 1522 by French scientist Lorenz Friez (1490-1532/1533), a great admirer of German mapmaker Martin Waldseemüller (1470-1520). After M. Waldseemüller died, L. Friez together with print worker Johann Gruninher (1455 - 1532/1533), republished some of his works including the edition of “The Geography” by Claudius Ptolemy (1513) issued in Strasbourg in 1522 and published again in 1525. After J. Gruninher died, his son Christopher sold the rights for this edition to brothers Melchior and Gaspar Trechsel, owners of the largest printing house in Lyons founded by their father Johann Trechsel. The brothers invited Spanish thinker and philologist Miguel Servet (subsequently burned at the stake for his views) to edit the text. In 1535 the book «Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae enarrationis libri octo» was published.

    Iberia ( Iveria, Iviria Kartli) is an ancient kingdom on the territory of the historic area of Kartli (Georgia) mentioned by Roman, Greek and Byzantine authors.

    The territory in the eastern Transcaucasia covering some of the present-day territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Dagestan was called Caucasian Albania.

    Colchis is a Classical Greek name for historical region in the west of Transcaucasia. The Area lied along the eastern coast of the Black Sea (the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus) covering the Colchis lowlands and the adjacent regions. The present day location — Abkhazia, Georgian provinces of Samegrelo, Svaneti, Guria and Adjara; Turkey’s Ardahan, Artvin and Rize.

    Armenia Minor is a historic region in the headwaters of the Euphrates, Lykus and Halys Rivers bordering with Pontos (Greek and Persian Hellenistic state in Asia Minor) in the north, with the Kingdom of Greater Armenia in the east (the border went across the Euphrates River), with Syria and Cilicia - in the south (the border went along the Taurus Mountains), with Cappadocia - in the west. The borders of the Asia Minor regions changed many times so there is no exact identification of the territory.