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documents, dating from the 4th, 5th, and 6th cent. A. D., represent
later developments. Cf. our treatises in "The Scott. Geogr. Mag.", Febr.
and June 1914, and in the "Mitteil. z. Gesch. d. Medicin u. d. Natur-
wiss.", 1914, Vol. XIII, No. 5.

Our third question concerns the additional details — lines, vignettes,
spellings and entire names — which do not occur in the Ptolemaic text.
The figures of longitude and latitude leave sufficient room for individual
variation, — e. g. Ptolemy represents rivers and mountain chains gener-
ally by the two terminal points only, whereas the lines between these
extremities are left to the cartographer's divination. A reconstructor
with a lively fancy might here introduce quantities of "naturalistic details"
without directly destroying the traditional framework, as sometimes occurs
in late mediaeval MSS. The older MS. atlases, however, do not betray
the slightest inclination of the cartographers towards using their liberty
in an arbitrary manner. They represent features, it is true, which are
not implied by the words of the text, but such additions are made on a
limited scale and characterized by no divergence from the general scheme
of the Ptolemaic work. We notice e. g. that the mountains and rivers
of western Germany, as given by the Cod. Urbinas 82, are derived from
a special map of Roman fortification lines, cf. § 21. — Another addition
to the Ptolemaic scheme is the more specialised classification of towns:
whereas Ptolemy distinguishes only two classes, the atlases add a third,
as stated directly in the Editio Romana 1478: "Urbes insignes, secunde
urbes, tercie urbes" ^). The possibility is perhaps not excluded that the
more detailed classification may have been a mediaeval addition, but
there are no obvious reasons supporting this suggestion and the distri-
bution of classes II and III seems to point strongly towards tradition
from ancient times. — Finally, we notice that the MS. atlases contain
sometimes the more correct spelling or give entire names. which are left
out in the text.

Our main result may be expressed by the words of J. Fischer cited
above with special reference to the maps of the Cod. Urbinas 82: ''they
.... represent the maps designed by Marinus".

^) Cf. J. Fischer, "An Important Ptolemy MS.*', in the "Catholic Hist. Records and
Studies", New York, 1913, p. 227.



§ I. A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE MANUSCRIPT PROBLEM 7

As a matter of fact, the possibility — or even likelihood — of this
explanation is admitted by those scholars who have lately denied Pto-
lemy's authorship. Kretschmer says in "Petermanns Mitteilungen", 191 4,
p. 142: "We cannot sans phrase deny the possibility that the maps in
their fundamental elements may be traced back to ancient times and that
they, like the text, have been preserved by steadily repeated copying".
"Nobody denies . . . that Ptolemy must have constructed a cartographic
prototype on the basis of the map of Marinus". Herrmann says, "Zeit-
schr. des Vereins f. Erdkunde zu Berlin", 1914 (Heft 10): "If we con-
sider how much Ptolemy — even when attacking Marinus — depends
upon the latter, we must take it for granted that those 68 maps for
which the text gives instructions as to the method of design, are in
reality nothing else but the maps of Marinus."

If this is admitted by the opponents, the reasons for further ignoring
the Ptolemaic MS. atlases have practically been abandoned.

It remains but to add some few words concerning the MS. atlases
regarded from the point of view of text editors. — This is one of those
regions where the method of Ptolemy's sceptical critics appears in its
most astonishing light.

These expert philologists profess to give the sum total of the diver-
gent readings, known to them. Anxious to be exhaustive, they quote
not merely the MSS. containing the original Greek text, but also Latin
translations, and even printed editions from the 15th and i6th centuries.
But the readings of the MS. atlases are consistently ignored.

In order to understand this system, we might naturally expect a chapter
or paragraph tending to prove that the MS. atlases are later than the
15th and 1 6th century and contain a much inferior reading than do the
first printed editions. But no such chapter or paragraph is found. The
readings of the MS. atlases are simply ignored sans phrase ! !

As the editors give no reasons, we must apply to expert palaeographers
such as Messrs. Krumbacher, Mercati, and P'ranchi (cf. Fischer, "Die
handschriftliche Ueberlieferung der Ptolemaus-Karten", p. 228, and a
letter from the late Dr. BJ0rnbo, preserved in the Copenhagen Uni-
versity Library). To our surprise we learn here that there is no diffe-
rence of age between the MS. texts and the accompanying atlases.
The Laufentian. XXVIII, 41, the Mediolan. Ambrosian. 527, the Urbinas
83 and 82, the Fabritius fragm. in the Copenhagen Univ. Libr. — both
texts and atlases — , would all have been executed about 1200, whereas
the Athos MS. reproduced by Sewastionow and Langlois would be some
50 years later. The first named 5 MSS. are of a distinctly superior
quality.

Our review of the present editorial standard consequently results in
the following somewhat startling conclusion: superior MS. readings from



8 Ptolemy's maps of northern Europe

the 13th century have been ignored in favour of more or less corrupt
readings from the 15th and i6th century printed editions!!

The discovery of such procedure cannot but gravely shake our con-
fidence in the authority of the "expert" editors. The whole collection and
verification of text material must be deemed not merely unsatisfactory,
but utterly superficial.

The bad consequences of such false methods can soon be pointed
out in detail.

The editions leave out names which are found in the atlases.
According to Fischer, we miss e. g. Karkum, which is in the Urbinas
82 mentioned as an additional name of the town Babilon i Egypt. The
possibility that the addition could be of mediaeval origin is excluded be-
cause the vernacular Egyptian name Karkum vanished at the close of the
Roman period.

Moreover, Ptolemy is repeatedly accused of corruptions which could
have been amended by the aid of the atlases.

E. g. the Ptolemaic name of the present Tongern is given as Atu-
akuton, and the corrected form Atuatukon is added "e conjectura". But
the atlases of the Codd. Mediolan. Ambrosian. 527 and Urbinas 83
quite clearly write Atuatokon, which is consequently the true Ptolemaic
reading.

In eastern Germania, the editions record a town Setuia. But the one
class of MS. atlases write the name Artekuia (or Artekvia), and we shall
show later on that an addition of both readings gives the correct
Ptolemaic form *Arsekuia which is in reality a duplicate of the neigh-
bouring Arsikua (or Arsikva). The evidence of the Artekuia-class of
MSS. is highly valuable, as it unveils a sample of Ptolemy's well known
duplicates, pointing towards the lost prototypes of his work. Without
the help of the MS. atlases we should never have recognized Setuia as
duplicate of Arsikua.



The above consideration radically alters the valuation of the material
for examining the Ptolemaic cartography.

This altered view would still be of relatively little import, if our aim
were to analyze Ptolemy's work in its most minute local details. Then
we should still be obliged to fix the position of any mountain, river
or town by means of the longitude and latitude indicated in the text,
and we should have to discuss the complicated questions of text
genealogy in order to make our choice between the divergent figures.

We do not however aim at such gigantic research. The results would



§ I. A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE MANUSCRIPT PROBLEM 9

hardly be worth the trouble, — at least so far as Germania or Sarmatia
are concerned — , for in these and other parts of the ancient barbarian
world, one half of Ptolemy's "exact" astronomic definitions are pure
fiction.

Our task is only to furnish some preliminatory observations, in order
to prepare a methodical investigation of Ptolemy's lost prototypes from
a cartographic point of view. And for this purpose, the hitherto acces-
sible material seems to be sufficient.

We agree with C. Miiller and Mommsen who state that the Codex
Vaticanus 191 is the most valuable of all context MSS. Cf. the treatises
of the two said authors in the periodical "Hermes", Vol. XV.

As tp the MS. atlas, the approximate agreement of its best repre-
sentatives may be regarded as a trustworthy guide.

According to Jos. Fischer, the MS. atlases are divided into two ver-
sions, one with 27 maps, and one with some 6S. The 27 version corre-
sponds to C. Miiller's "Byzantine Family" of context MSS., and its
main representatives are the Cod. Urbinas 82, the Cod. Athous Vato-
pediensis (Athos Atlas), and the Venetus Marcianus 5661). The 68 version
corresponds to Miiller's "Asiatic P'amily", and its main representatives
are the Laurentianus Pluteus XXVIII, 79, the Mediolanus Ambrosianus
527, the Urbinas 83, and the Burney 111, 28.

The Athos Atlas has been published in phototypic reproduction by
Sewastionow and Langlois, Paris 1867. The Urbinas 82 will soon be
reproduced by Jos. Fischer.

The fact that only the Athos copy of the MS. atlas has hitherto
been reproduced, caused us first to use this document as a cartographic
basis of our investigations. We attached considerable value to the fol-
lowing details: i. the design of German mountains; 2. the representation
of the river Loire (as touching the city of Orleans); 3. the representation
of Scandinavian coasts; 4. the colouring, separating the Cimbric Cher-
sonese and the Scandian islands from Germany; 5. the occurrence of a
duplicate of the name Asanka in Bohemia. Cf. our paper "Une carte
du Danemark, agee de 1900 ans", in the periodical "Le Danemark"
Nov. 1912.

Later, we were informed by Jos. Fischer that the reproduction of the
Athos Atlas is all but reliable, and that the original MS. itself is exe-
cuted in a careless manner, forming no solid basis for conclusions. As
to the duplicate of Asanka, it is not found in any of the other MS.
atlases and consequently cannot be regarded as truly Ptolemaic.

Thus we had to discard a series of wrong presumptions and to accept
rather the Codex Urbinas 82 as our principal basis.



^) Cf. C. Mailer's treatise in the "Archives des missions scientifiques et litteraires", 1867.



8 Ptolemy's maps of northern Europe

the 13th century have been ignored in favour of more or less corrupt
readings from the 15th and i6th century printed editions!!

The discovery of such procedure cannot but gravely shake our con-
fidence in the authority of the ''expert" editors. The whole collection and
verification of text material must be deemed not merely unsatisfactory,
but utterly superficial.

The bad consequences of such false methods can soon be pointed
out in detail.

The editions leave out names which are found in the atlases.
According to Fischer, we miss e. g. Karkum, which is in the Urbinas
82 mentioned as an additional name of the town Babilon i Egypt. The
possibility that the addition could be of mediaeval origin is excluded be-
cause the vernacular Egyptian name Karkum vanished at the close of the
Roman period.

Moreover, Ptolemy is repeatedly accused of corruptions which could
have been amended by the aid of the atlases.

E. g. the Ptolemaic name of the present Tongern is given as Atu-
akuton, and the corrected form Atuatukon is added "e conjectura". But
the atlases of the Codd. Mediolan. Ambrosian. 527 and Urbinas 83
quite clearly write Atuatokon, which is consequently the true Ptolemaic
reading.

In eastern Germania, the editions record a town Setuia. But the one
class of MS. atlases write the name Artekuia (or Artekvia), and we shall
show later on that an addition of both readings gives the correct
Ptolemaic form *Arsekuia which is in reality a duplicate of the neigh-
bouring Arsikua (or Arsikva). The evidence of the Artekuia-class of
MSS. is highly valuable, as it unveils a sample of Ptolemy's well known
duplicates, pointing towards the lost prototypes of his work. Without
the help of the MS. atlases we should never have recognized Setuia as
duplicate of Arsikua.



The above consideration radically alters the valuation of the material
for examining the Ptolemaic cartography.

This altered view would still be of relatively little import, if our aim
were to analyze Ptolemy's work in its most minute local details. Then
we should still be obliged to fix the position of any mountain, river
or town by means of the longitude and latitude indicated in the text,
and we should have to discuss the complicated questions of text
genealogy in order to make our choice between the divergent figures.

We do not however aim at such gigantic research. The results would



§ I. A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE MANUSCRIPT PROBLEM 9

hardly be worth the trouble, — at least so far as Germania or Sarmatia
are concerned — , for in these and other parts of the ancient barbarian
world, one half of Ptolemy's "exact" astronomic definitions are pure
fiction.

Our task is only to furnish some preliminatory observations, in order
to prepare a methodical investigation of Ptolemy's lost prototypes from
a cartographic point of view. And for this purpose, the hitherto acces-
sible material seems to be sufficient.

We agree with C. Miiller and Mommsen who state that the Codex
Vaticanus 191 is the most valuable of all context MSS. Cf. the treatises
of the two said authors in the periodical "Hermes", Vol. XV.

As tp the MS. atlas, the approximate agreement of its best repre-
sentatives may be regarded as a trustworthy guide.

According to Jos. Fischer, the MS. atlases are divided into two ver-
sions, one with 27 maps, and one with some 68. The 27 version corre-
sponds to C. Miiller's "Byzantine Family" of context MSS., and its
main representatives are the Cod. Urbinas 82, the Cod. Athous Vato-
pediensis (Athos Atlas), and the Venetus Marcianus 5661). The 68 version
corresponds to Miiller's "Asiatic Family", and its main representatives
are the Laurentianus Pluteus XXVIII, 79, the Mediolanus Ambrosianus
527, the Urbinas 83, and the Burney 111, 28.

The Athos Atlas has been published in phototypic reproduction by
Sewastionow and Langlois, Paris 1867. The Urbinas 82 will soon be
reproduced by Jos. Fischer.

The fact that only the Athos copy of the MS. atlas has hitherto
been reproduced, caused us first to use this document as a cartographic
basis of our investigations. We attached considerable value to the fol-
lowing details: i. the design of German mountains; 2. the representation
of the river Loire (as touching the city of Orleans); 3. the representation
of Scandinavian coasts; 4. the colouring, separating the Cimbric Cher-
sonese and the Scandian islands from Germany; 5. the occurrence of a
duplicate of the name Asanka in Bohemia. Cf. our paper "Une carte
du Danemark, agee de 1900 ans", in the periodical "Le Danemark"
Nov. 1912.

Later, we were informed by Jos. Fischer that the reproduction of the
Athos Atlas is all but reliable, and that the original MS. itself is exe-
cuted in a careless manner, forming no solid basis for conclusions. As
to the duplicate of Asanka, it is not found in any of the other MS.
atlases and consequently cannot be regarded as truly Ptolemaic.

Thus we had to discard a series of wrong presumptions and to accept
rather the Codex Urbinas 82 as our principal basis.



^) Cf. C, Miiller's treatise in the "Archives des missions scientifiques et litteraires", 1867.



lO PTOLEMY S MAPS OF NORTHERN EUROPE

But this changed valuation of MSS. has not altered our theories con-
cerning the assumed Ptolemaic prototypes. As a matter of fact, the
change was but little, because the Athos Atlas and the Urbinas 82 belong
to the same group of MS. atlases, the version with the 27 maps.

Generally speaking, our reconstructions of prototypes remain unaffected.
The doubts concerning the reading of several names are scarcely of any
import to these theories.

Far from fearing that new discoveries within the text study will shake
our prototype theories, we believe rather that the latter will prove a
practical means of ascertaining the preferable texts.

§ 2. PTOLEMY'S PREDECESSORS IN THE FIRST CENTURY A. D.

The political centralisation of the classical world within the Roman
Empire led directly to a corresponding centraUsation of the geographical
and statistical studies. About the beginning of the Christian era, great
activity was displayed in chronicling the sum total of acquired know-
ledge, both from the well known Mediterranean shores, and from the
recently conquered reigns in the far North and East.

The Imperial family played an important part in this activity.

M. Vipsanius Agrippa, the son-in-law of Augustus, wrote statistical
"Commentaries" and designed a map of the world which was finished
between 27 and 20 B. C.

The Emperor Augustus himself also contributed greatly to the or-
ganisation of statistical and geographical studies. It is well known from
the Bible that he arranged the first world-census in Europe ; this occurred
in the birth-year of Christ. Seven years previously, a revision of Agrippa s
map of the world had been undertaken in Rome by order of Augustus.
The Imperial map thus constructed was of colossal size and painted in
bright colours. Copies seem to have been placed in several provincial
towns.

The classical geographers Strabo and Pliny are our main authorities
concerning the above-mentioned undertakings of Agrippa and Augustus.
Cf. the special literature, quoted by O. Bremer in his "Ethnographic der
germanischen Stamme" § 6.

The Imperial publication became the foundation of all subsequent
maps of the world during the remaining period of antiquity and during
the whole of mediaeval times.

§ 3. MARINUS, PTOLEMY'S IMMEDIATE PREDECESSOR. .

According to Ptolemy's Preface, his geography and atlas were directly
based on a work of Marinus from Tyrus, This scholar, as an older con-



§ 3- MARiNus, Ptolemy's immediate predecessor ii

temporary of Ptolemy, must have lived in the first half of the second
century A. D. Death overtook him before completing his work.

Ptolemy in ch. VI of the Preface characterizes his predecessor's work
with the following words:

*'Marinus from Tyrus appears to be the last of our contemporaries who
carried on the study with great zeal. In addition to the older commen-
taries which had come to our notice, he has discovered several more.
With great accuracy, he has investigated the works of nearly all prece-
ding authors, subjecting them to reasonable emendations".

We agree with this statement of Ptolemy's, — as a matter of fact,
Marinus must have been gifted with colossal energy in collecting. Ptolemy
has only augmented his collections in some few regions, mentioned in
Preface ch. XVII, viz.: the coasts of Africa, India and East Africa, the
extreme East Asiatic port Cattigara, China, and the mercantile road from
the silk-producing country to Palimbothra.

Ptolemy, however, felt obliged to criticize the scheme of Marinus in
several respects: the emendations introduced were not sufficient and
especially the square projection, used for constructing the maps, was not
up to scientific requirements, cf. Preface ch. XVIII.

Still, as a matter of fact, the Ptolemaic maps have preserved this
projection except one and as we have no reason for doubting their per-
tinence to Ptolemy's age we must assume that the criticized scheme of
Marinus remained the basis of the completed atlas.

Taking for granted that the existing Ptolemaic geography and maps
represent the unaltered work of Marinus, we must agree with Ptolemy's
judgment that they betray a considerable want of critical talent.

Marinus was not gifted with great divination in interpreting the phy-
sical outlines of the original maps from which he constructed his own
atlas. He often mistakes sea-coasts for rivers, and rivers for mountains,
or mountains for tribes and so on. North is changed into west, and
west into south, etc.

His philological capacity was still weaker. He was completely unable
to read and interpret barbarian names from little known regions. When
two of his prototypes had the same name spelt a little differently, he
did not recognize the identity. Thus the same name may occur twice,
thrice, and even four times on the maps.

As the maps of Marinus are now only preserved through the medium
of Ptolemy's work, it is often difficult to distinguish to which author the
various features are attributable. In the following research, we have
therefore introduced the expression "the Ptolemaic constructor", as em-
bracing both.



12 PTOLEMY S MAPS OF NORTHERN EUROPE

§ 4. PTOLEMY'S LIFETIME, IMPORTANCE, AND PRINCIPLES.

Claude Ptolemy in Alexandria succeded in completing the unfinished
work of Marinus towards the end of the second century. The publication
of his FeoyQacpiKr] vqyrjyrjoig forms the culmination of classical geography,
and with all its faults, it may be called the most colossal exploit ever
achieved in geographical literature. It marks a new epoch in so far^ as
not only the description, but also the accompanying monumental atlas
escaped destruction and has come down to posterity. And here, in con-
trast to the previous absolute want of cartographic relics, vast material
for study is suddenly placed within our hands. For more than 1 500
years, it was destined to remain unrivalled both in quantity and in
quality. Since the beginning of the humanistic era, it dominated for
centuries all construction of scientific maps.

The date of Ptolemy's birth and death is not recorded. He is known
to have undertaken astronomic observations in Alexandria during the
reign of the Emperors Hadrianus and Antoninus, more exactly between 128
and 151 A. D.^). As Ptolemy's Dacian tribe-names Biessoi and Sabokoi
with their surroundings re-appear only in the "Bellum Marcomannicum"
of Julius Capitolinus, it is possible that Ptolemy lived to witness the be-
ginning of the war against the Marcomans which was carried on from
166 to 180.

Ptolemy is known as the most famous astronomer of antiquity, though
others more truly deserved the title.

In the Preface, he spends numerous chapters on correcting wrong'
astronomic principles and details in the collections of his predecessor
Marinus.

In his own geography, Ptolemy relates the length of the midsummer
day at numerous important points of the world. The atlas marks the
places of observation by means of crosses, and by vignettes with towers.
Physical outlines and even the tiniest boroughs are localised by longitude
and latitude, so that we may reconstruct the atlas on the base of the
text with relative exactness. In the atlas, the lines of longitude and
latitude are designed in the most accurate manner, cf. Dinse's description.
The towns of the most important countries are arranged by Ptolemy
according to their pertinence to the respective tribal districts. Singularly
enough, all islands except Great Britain escape this sort of ethnic clas-
sification. The atlas expresses the classification by means of ethnic
signs 2). Statistical signs — vignettes with towers or battlements or without



^) See Heiberg's edition of Ptolemy's "Opera astronomica minora", Index p. 271, 273.
') The signs seem to have occurred already in some original maps, cf. § 10, but their
systematical introduction into the atlas seems to be due to Ptolemy.



§ 4- Ptolemy's lifetime, importance, and principles 13

either, distinguish 3 classes of towns: the "urbes insignes, secunde and
tercie urbes"^).

The critical principles, enunciated by Ptolemy in the Preface, are
praiseworthy, cf. especially chapter V.

"From the traditions of successive ages, which we have collected, it
appears that many inhabited parts of our Continent have still not come
to our notice, owing to the difficulty in exploring them. Whereas others
are not duly described according to their real appearance, owing to the
carelessness of those who received the information. Finally, several have
now actually changed their appearance, owing to revolutions or trans-
formations" ....

"The later times generally supply more accurate notice concerning
all regions which are not fully known" ....

"Therefore it is generally necessary to pay attention to the latest
records of our times. In our statements, we must observe what is re-
corded nowadays, and in ancient tradition we must discriminate between
what is trustworthy and what is not".


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Online LibraryGudmund SchüttePtolemy's maps of northern Europe, a reconstruction of the prototypes → online text (page 2 of 17)