Matthias Ringmann

Matthias Ringmann (also known as Philesius Vogesigena or Ringmannus Philesius; 1482 – 1511) was an Alsatian cartographer and humanist poet. Along with fellow cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, he is credited with drafting the first world map that named America as a land mass.

Ringmann was born in Eichhoffen, Alsace in 1482. He became a schoolmaster and was often described as a poet.

Around 1503, Ringmann visited Italy. There, he learned about the newly discovered western lands and the explorations that took place within them. These lands were initially known as the New World, and were later named the Americas. He also came to believe that Amerigo Vespucci had discovered South America.

Upon his return, Ringmann moved to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges in Lorraine with his friend, Martin Waldseemüller, a cartographer with whom he was working on a new Latin edition of Ptolemy's treatise on geography. Waldseemüller drew the maps while Ringmann edited the translation and wrote the preface. Ringmann was probably also the author of the introduction to Waldseemüller's great map and globe of the world, yet many historians attribute the work to Waldseemüller himself. Some historians have judged that Walter Ludd, the head of the Gymnasium Vosagense, paid Ringmann and Waldseemüller to do this work for publication at the Gymnasium's printing press at St. Dié.

Ringmann also may have read the French edition of Vespucci's letters, (Quatre Navigations d' Americ Vespuce). Since Vespucci's written accounts were in Italian, the translation to French could have been the source of Ringmann's misunderstanding of the accepted discoverer of the New World, as he believed that Vespucci discovered the new world. He described this in his introduction:

"There is a fourth quarter of the world which Amerigo Vespucci has discovered and which for this reason we can call 'America' or the land of Americus . We do not see why the name of the man of genius, Amerigo, who has discovered them, should not be given to these lands, as Europe and Asia have adopted the names of women."

This page was last edited on 30 December 2017, at 18:15.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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