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Pagani, Lelio (Introduction), Cosmography: Maps from Ptolemy's Geography,  Leicester, Magna Books, 1990, ISBN 1-85422-103-5, 14½ x 10 inches, xv [text], 27 double-page color plates, laminated covers  (Magna Books, Magna Road, Wigston, Leicester, LC8 2ZH, England)

Originally published in Italian under the title Claudii Ptolemaei Cosmographia, this volume contains facsimiles of the maps (but not the accompanying text) from a 15th century manuscript, now in the National Library collection in Naples.  The manuscript is unsigned, but attributed to Nicolaus Germanus, chiefly on stylistic grounds.  That some, including Pagani, believe Germanus prepared the printed 1482 Ulm edition, lends further interest to these maps.

In his introduction, Pagani reviews theories of Ptolemy and other geographers from the classical period.  He emphasizes the impact that reintroduction of Ptolemy's works had on the rise of humanist thought in western Europe, and gives detailed descriptions of the physical aspects of the manuscript.

The color plates are handsomely printed on matte paper which gives depth to the colors, particularly the lapis lazuli blue. This reader was not able to examine all 27 plates, as the copy inspected suffered from binding errors (one signature dropped, another repeated).  However, the quality of the photography and the informative commentary make this a welcome addition to any cartophile's library.

Jon K. Rosenthal, 1993

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