Gaius Julius Solinus
First 1538 edition
15.7 x 23.3 cms
First edition of this important work. A pristine offprint of the woodblock. Excellent collector's condition.
It is Sebastian Münster's earliest map of Africa, predating his map of the continent of Africa of 1540.
The geography is mostly Ptolemaic, with the Niger flowing west and the sources of the Nile located in the mountains of the moon. It uses Ptolemy's trapezoid projection.
The work was published in 1538 by Heinrich Petri, foremost printing-house in Basle. The text was edited and corrected by Sebastian Münster, professor in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. He also produced the maps.
When teaching at the University of Heidelberg, Münster had also worked as press-corrector for Heinrich's father Adam Petri. In 1529 Münster accepted a position at the University of Basle. In 1529, soon after his move to Basel, he left the Franciscan Order and adhered to Lutheranism; and in the following year he married Adam Petri's widow, thus gaining for himself a measure of financial security and the services of the substantial printing-house of his stepson Heinrich Petri, who was to produce most of his later works.
A second edition of the work would appear in 1543, with different signatures for the maps.
"GAIUS JULIUS SOLINUS, Latin grammarian and compiler, probably flourished during the first half of the 3rd century A.D. He was the author of Collectanea rerum memorabilium, a description of curiosities in a chorographical framework. Adventus, to whom it is dedicated, is identified with Oclatinius Adventus, consul A.D. 218. It contains a short description of the ancient world, with remarks on historical, social, religious and natural history questions. The greater part is taken from Pliny's Natural History and the geography of Pomponius Mela. According to Mommsen, Solinus also used a chronicle (possibly by Cornelius Bocchus) and a Chorographia pliniana, an epitome of Pliny's work with additions made about the time of Hadrian. Schanz, however, suggests the Roma and Pratum of Suetonius. The Collectanea was revised in the 6th century under the title of Polyhistor (subsequently taken for the author's name). It was popular in the middle ages, hexameter abridgments being current under the names of Theodericus and Petrus Diaconus.
The commentary by Saumaise in his Plinianae exercitationes (1689) is indispensable; best edition by Mommsen (1895), with valuable introduction on the MSS., the authorities used by Solinus, and subsequent compilers. See also Teuffel, Hist. of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., 1900), 389; and Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Litteratur (1904), iv. 1. There is an old English translation by A. Golding (1587)."
"Caius Julius Solinus was a Roman who lived in the third or fourth century AD, possibly worked as a grammarian, and is most widely recognized for his work, the Polyhistor. Possibly written sometime in the middle of the third century, the Polyhistor, alternatively known as the Collectanea rerum memorabilium and De situ orbis, relied heavily on Pliny's Natural History as well as Pomponius Mela's De situ orbis. The work touches on the natural history and geography of the regions known to the Roman Empire, as well as religious and social matters. Solinus's Polyhistor remained popular through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, particularly for its geographical content. The Polyhistor was first translated into English in 1587 by Arthur Golding."