Claudii Ptolemaei: Geographiae Codex Urbinas Graecus 82. Phototypice depictus consilio et opera curatorum Bibliothecae Vaticanae, ed. Joseph Fischer [Codices e Vaticanis selecti 19], 4 vols., Lugduni Batavorum: Brill and Lipsiae: Harrassowitz 1932, vol. 2,2
Signature: Zh 500-5320/2(2 grgr
Figures: Frontispiece; I (World Map, 2 parts); IX (European part of Sarmatia)
The German Jesuit and geographer Josef Fischer (1858–1944) is remembered mainly for two reasons: his sensational discovery, in 1899, of early modern world maps made by Martin Waldseemüller (1472/75–1520) and Jodocus Hondius (1563–1612) at Wolfegg Castle in Upper Swabia and his groundbreaking Ptolemy research. On trips to archives in Italian libraries, Fischer was able to find several unknown Greek and Latin Ptolemy manuscripts, which allowed him to make informative comparisons with his primary source: the Codex Urbinas Graecus 82 of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Fischer refers to Ptolemy as the author of the textual descriptions in Geographike hyphegesis (c. 150 AD) and credits him with the authorship of the 27 maps (cf. vol. 1,1, p. 5), which current research considers unlikely (cf. Stückelberger/Graßhoff 2006, vol. 1, pp. 26–27).
The area stretching across today’s eastern Poland and Ukraine is represented as the European part of Sarmatia in a map included in the third book of the manuscript (chap. 5). Inhabited by migrant tribes described by Pliny and Tacitus, this region would become, alongside Scythia, a classical reference point for establishing Eastern European identities in the following centuries. The terrain is bound by the Baltic Sea to the north, the Don River to the east, the Black Sea coasts to the south, and the Vistula River to the west. A separate particularly detailed chapter (chap. 6) is devoted to Crimea, whose eastern peninsula, Kerch, was apparently unknown to Ptolemy. [TT]