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MERULA, Paulus

Cosmographiae Generalis Libri Tres Item Geographiae Particularis Libri Quatuor: Quibus Evropa in genere; speciatim Hispania, Gallia, Italia, describuntur. Cum tabulis Geographicis aeneis

Cornelium Nicolai, Amsterdam, 1605
Quarto (255 x 195 mm.), full contemporary calf, spine with raised bands, ornate gilt compartments, gilt title, worn. With typographic title page containing printers device, pp. (16), 1358, (1), with 45 maps comprising 5 folding, 39 miniature maps set within the text, 1 view of the Escurial Palace, France with portion of lower margin torn away, the map unaffected, light even toning, otherwise in good condition.
Paulus Merula (1558-1607) was a solicitor and academic being a history teacher at Leiden University from 1592. He first published the ‘Cosmographiae Generalis’ in 1605. It was an historical treatise on Strabo’s geography and ‘in particular on the geography of the Mediterranean and the antique world’ (Koeman). ‘Merula’s work is little known but of outstanding importance for the study of cartography of the period’ (Wagner). Of the five larger maps in the work, that of the world is engraved by Johannes van Doetechum Jr. (fl.1592-1630), the remaining being the hand of Baptista van Doetichum (d. 1611). The world is derived from that engraved by his father Baptista van Doetichum for Petrus Plancius in 1590. There are however a couple of alterations. Novaya Zemlya is added as are celestial hemispheres. Also new are four new oval maps in the corners or Iceland, Japan, St. Helena and Ceylon. The map did not appear in the ensuing editions of 1621 and 1636 which also contained an entirely different series of maps.

The remaining larger maps are of Europe, Spain, France and Italy, the latter three regions being the focus of the text. Some examples of the book have been noted with a matching map of the British Isles but it is not called for. ‘It seems no mere incident that the map of England is missing, given the fact that England is no main chapter in the book’ (New Hollstein, Doetecum 995-999). The forty plates set in the text were first published by Barent Langenes in 1598 in the ‘Caert-Thresoor’. Provenance: bookplate of J.-B. Huart, Curé-Doyen. Borri (1999) no. 67 (source unknown); Koeman (1967-70) III p. 1; Shirley (1991) 211 & 254; Shirley (2004) T.Meru 1a (with an incorrect collation); STCN 061238805; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004).
Stock number: 10050

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