Amsterdam: Nicolas Bergier. unbound. Map in 8 joined sheets. Concertina folds. Uncolored engraving. Image measures 7 3/8 x 159". 1628. very good.
This stunning map is the famous "Peutinger Table" or a Roman road map of the world dating to circa 1622. It maps the imperial roads and posts within the Roman Empire and extends from Europe to the Near East, North Africa, Mesopotamia, Persia, India to finally end at 'Toprobana' or modern day Sri Lanka.
The original Peutinger Table was considered the oldest road map of the world and shows main roads covering a distance of about 70000 Roman miles. It also notes spas, rivers, forests, staging posts with distances between stages marked. The important cities of Rome, Constantinople and Antioch are depicted with illustrations of emperors.
The original map, probably dating to 4th or 5th century, was drawn on parchment and was found by Konrad Celtes around the 13th century in the library of Augustus. This parchment itself is believed to be based upon a map prepared during the reign of Emperor Augustus created for the use of couriers of emperors. From Konrad Celtes, the parchment came into the possession of Konrad Peutinger, from whom it derives its popular name. Mark Welser, a relative of Peutinger was the first to publish a copy in 1591. Later Ortelius included it in his historical atlas and the map gained popularity. This version by Bergier, is almost identical to the Ortelius edition. The original manuscript parchment is held at the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek in Hofburg, Vienna.
The map distorts the proportions of the landmasess so that distances east-west are on a scale larger than the north-south distances. This can be evident when you look at the location of Rome which looks closer to Carthage than Naples is to Pompeii. Sequence of 8 segments joined together. Dark impression. Some toning at a few fold lines. Some damage and toning with minor chipping on segment V. Some stains over title. Overall a good example of this important map.
Nicolas Bergier (1567-1623) was a lawyer and Jesuit historian who taught at the University in Reims. His interest in Roman roads got him appointed as a royal historian and was later commanded by Louis XIII to study the Roman roads. In 1622, Bergier published his work about the origin, progress and extent of military roads paved until the end of the Roman Empire in his book "Histoire des Grands Chemins de l'Empire Romain" The book was later translated into English in 1712. The French edition was published in 1728 and 1736. Although all editions are hard to come by, this particular map is most likely from the 1622 first edition.