Ptolemy Ptolémée


2nd Century A.D. - IIe siècle après J.C.

Iconography of Ptolemy's Portrait
Iconographie du portrait de Ptolémée

1504 Gregor Reisch, Margarita Philosophica.

Anonymous, Ptolemaeus and Astronomia, 1504, wood engraving, ? x ? cm, in Gregor Reisch, Margarita Philosophica, 1504 edition.

(Digitized image from Giancarlo Truffa)

Anonymous, Ptolemaeus et Astronomia, 1504, gravure sur bois, ? x ? cm, dans Gregor Reisch, Margarita Philosophica, édition de 1504.

(Image numérisée de Giancarlo Truffa)


Ptolemaeus presenting Astronomia as one of the Seven Liberal Arts.

Note in the 1512 reprint several changes to the original plate: the title "Typus Astronomie", moon, mountains, numbers on quadrant, Ptolomeo's name and his face, flowers and ground...

Ptolemaeus présentant Astronomia comme l'un des sept arts libéraux.

Remarquez dans la réédition de 1512 plusieurs changements de la plaque originale : le titre « Typus Astronomie », la lune, les montagnes, les chiffres sur le quadrant, le nom « Ptolomeo » et son viage, les fleurs et le sol...


Collaboration from Eileen MEILLON

I have taken time to compare our portraits (Stewart Museum, Montreal) of Ptolemy with those on your website. One of them, our 1982.60.1 is identical to the 1504 woodcut identified as having come from Margarita Philosophica.


Collaboration from Kristen LIPPINCOTT

Another depiction of Ptolemy the king can be found in the Margarita philosophica... of Gregor Reisch, in which he is being instructed how to use a quadrant by a figure labelled "Astronomia". An armillary sphere lies on the gound at their feet.

Gregor Reisch, Margarita Philosophica, Strassburg, Iohannes Grüninger, 1512.


Collaboration from Robert H. van Gent

Several Ptolemy portraits can found in this book: BENNETT, J.A., & D.B. Meli, Sphaera Mundi - Astronomy Books 1478-1600, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge, 1994. Page 45 has a nice woodcut from Gregor Reisch, Margarita Philosophica (1512 Strasbourg edition) with Ptolemy looking at the stars with a quadrant in the company of Astronomia.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997), ed. by M. Hoskin, has three depictions of Ptolemy: p. 76 has a woodcut from Gregor Reisch, Margarita Philosophica (1504 edition) with Ptolemy representing Astronomy as one of the seven Liberal Arts; p. 77 has a woodcut of Ptolemy (with an astrolabe) and Astrologia and Sacrobosco from a text identified by Hoskin as the Urania Ptolomacus (1538). A severely cropped version of the c. 1453 Giovanni Rossi portrait is found on p. 42.



LIPPINCOTT Kristen, Director, Royal Observatory Greenwich.
MEILLON Eileen, bibliothécaire, Montréal, Musée Stewart.
TRUFFA Giancarlo, Milan.
VAN GENT Robert H., Utrecht.


Hoskin 1997 - Hoskin, M. (ed.), Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, ill. p. 76.
mise à jour le 15 janvier 2001

Ptolemy Ptolémée


web Robert DEROME