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Lorenz Fries:  Norbegia et Gottia

Maps of Scandinavia

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Title: Norbegia et Gottia

Map Maker: Lorenz Fries

Place / Date: Strasbourg / 1541

Coloring: Uncolored

Size: 18 x 12 inches

Condition: VG

Price: $2,400.00

Inventory ID: 38964se


Nice example of the 1541 edition of Lorenz Fries's map of Scandinavia and neighboring countries, extending to Iceland, Scotland, England, Finland and the Baltic Sea.

Fries's map is one of the earliest modern regional maps of Scandinavia and the first which was reasonably obtainable for most collectors.

First published in Strasbourg by Johannes Gruninger in 1522, the Fries's map is based upon Waldseemuller's map of 1513, but with changes.  As noted by Ginsburg:

Waldseemuller's map of Scandinavia appeared in the supplement section of his modern maps.  A faithful copy of the Ulm map published [in 1482] . . . Norway is shown as "norbega."  Most of the same cities are also included--"astro" (Oslo), "begensis " (Bergen), "nodrosia (Nidranos or Trondheim) and "Stauargerensis." 

Regarding the changes, Ginsburg notes:

"The shape of the recut Scandinavia map differs noticeably from the 1513 version.  The height and length along the top are basically identical, but the left-hand side is now almost vertical and the width along the lower border is about fourteen centimeters less. . . . [Fries] added four lines of descriptive text . . . these regions are very abundant in precious furs, which are brought to Western ports.  This region, having overthrown its own leader, is subject to the Russian ruler.  The savage inhabitants are similar in countenance to the Samoyeds."

Lorenz (Laurent) Fries was born in Alsace in about 1490. He studied medicine, apparently spending time at the universities of Pavia, Piacenza, Montpellier and Vienna.  After completing his education, Fries worked as a physician in several places, before settling in Strassburg, in about 1519.  While in Strassburg, Fries met the Strasbourg printer and publisher, Johann Grüninger, an associate of the St. Die group of scholars formed by, among others, Walter Lud, Martin Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller.

From 1520 to 1525, Fries worked with Gruninger as a cartographic editor, exploiting the corpus of material that Waldseemuller had created.  Fries's first venture into mapmaking was in 1520, when he executed a reduction of Martin Waldseemuller's wall-map of the World, published in 1507.  While it would appear that Fries was the editor of the map, credit is actually given in the title to Peter Apian.  The map, Tipus Orbis Universalis Iuxta Ptolomei Cosmographi Traditionem Et Americ Vespucii Aliorque Lustrationes A Petro Apiano Leysnico Elucubrat. An.o Dni MDXX, was issued in Caius Julius Solinus' Enarrationes, edited by Camers and published in Vienna in 1520. 

The next project for Fries was a new edition of the Geographia of Claudius Ptolemy, which was published by Johann Koberger in 1522.  Fries evidently edited the maps, in most cases simply producing a reduction of the equivalent map from Waldseemuller's 1513 edition of the Geographie Opus Novissima, printed by Johann Schott. Fries also prepared three new maps for the Geographie: maps of South-East Asia and the East Indies, China and the World, but the geography of these derive from Waldseemuller's world map of 1507. 

The 1522 edition of Fries's work is very rare, suggesting that the work was not commercially successful.  In 1525, an improved edition was issued with a re-edit of the text by Wilibald Pirkheimer, from the notes of Johannes Regiomontanus.  After Grüninger's death in 1531, the business was continued by his son Christoph, who seems to have sold the materials for the Ptolemy to two Lyon publishers, the brothers Melchior and Gaspar Trechsel, who published a joint edition in 1535, before Gaspar Trechsel published an edition in his own right, in 1541.

Condition Description: Some loss and discoloration at the centerfold, along with two wormholes.

References: Ginsburg 6

Related Categories:
Maps of the Baltic
Maps of Scandinavia