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Claudius Ptolemy: Tabula VII Asiae [Central Asia]

Map: AS345
Cartographer: Claudius Ptolemy
Title: Tabula VII Asiae [Central Asia]
Date: 1535
Published: Lyon
Width: 19 inches / 49 cm
Height: 13 inches / 34 cm
Map ref: AS345
Ptolemaic woodcut map of Central Asia, specifically the region known to the Ancient Greeks and Romans as 'Scythia Extra Imaum'. This is now Mongolia and northwest China. Very little was known about this region in Classical times, and only snippets of new information had reached Europe by the 16th century when this map was published. In the upper-left corner of the map are the labels 'Antropophagi' (cannibals) and 'Hippophagi' (horse-eaters) which provides and indication of the mystery this region held. The Kingdom of Serica is also marked on the map. Serica, which translates to 'the place where silk comes from, was one of the names used in classical times for China.

This map is from the 1535 Lyon edition of Ptolemy's Geographia edited by Michael Servetus with maps by Laurent Fries. The map is largely a reduced version of Martin Waldseemuller's 1513 map of the same region, which is itself based on data collected by the ancient Greco-Roman geographer Claudius Ptolemy.

This is the most north-westerly Ptolemaic map in the Geographia representing the outer limits of the Classical known world.