Travel and Exploration

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506). De Insulis Nuper in Mari Indico Repertis. Basel: Johann Bergmann de Olpe, 1494. Preceded by Carolus Verardus's In Laudem Serenissimi Ferdinandi Hispania … Obsidio Victoria et Triumphus (a drama celebrating the capture of Grenada). 36 leaves, Roman type, Gothic headings, five wood-cuts in the Columbus letter. Latin translation by Leonardo de Cosco of Columbus's letter to Gabriel Sánchez giving an account of his first voyage to America.

Columbus wrote letters on February 15, 1493, aboard the "Nina" and sent them to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Luis de Santangel, chancellor of the Household of Aragon, and Gabriel Sánchez, the treasurer. The Basel edition of 1493 had five woodcuts giving the earliest pictures of the new world and the blocks were reprinted in this 1494 edition.

Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514). Liber Chronicarum. Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, July 12, 1495. Gothic type, 326 leaves, with woodcut portrait of Pope Joan on folio 169 intact, the unfoliated "De Sarmacia regione Europe" bound in after folio 266, two colophons, the first on folio cclxvi dated 1493, the second on the verso of the map at the end of the book, dated 1495. The binding is probably the original vellum over boards, with brass panels, corners, remains of clasps.

The Latin edition was issued first, followed by a German edition in December 1495. Popularly known as Die Weltchronik or The Nuremberg Chronicle, this is a lavishly illustrated history of the world from the time of creation to the beginning of Emperor Maximilian's reign in 1492. The 1,809 woodcuts were designed by Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and Michael Wolgemut, the latter Albrecht Dürer's teacher. Only 645 separate blocks were used in printing, the repetition of which gives amusing results: Nebuchadnezzar and several German emperors all bear the same likeness and Isaiah, Pythagoras, and Boccaccio resemble each other.

Included are maps of the ancient world and of northern Europe and views of cities, such as Basel, Cologne, Vienna and Rome which are still of topographical value.


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