Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1578. Disbound.
The Quatering of Bessus and the founding of Margiana by Alexander the Great from Cosmographia, das ist: Beschreibung der gantzen Welt by Sebastian Munster. Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1578. Disbound.
This disbound leaf from Munster's Cosmographia measures 8" x 13.5". It contains two woodcuts showing episodes from Alexander the Great's conquest of Central Asia. The leaf is in nice shape with some marginal toning.
One woodcut shows the torturous execution of Bessus (Artaxerxes V), who had proclaimed himself King of the Persians after the assassination of Darius III. After the final Persian defeat as Alexander marched across Central Asia, Bessus and fellow conspirators were captured. Alexander pardoned the other nobles involved in Darius's murder but condemned Bessus to be executed in the manner Persians reserved for regicide. After his nose and ears were cut off, his limbs were tied to recoiled trees which when released resulted in a long, agonizing death as the victim's ligaments, tendons, muscles, and organs would be slowly separated as the trees straightened themselves.
The other woodcut appears to show Alexander founding the city of Alexander Mariana near the source of the Murghab River in the region northwest of Afghanistan.. Very good. Item #009738
Sebastian Munster was a cosmographer and professor of Hebrew who taught at several European universitys. During his life, he became the center of a network of scholars who provided him with maps, anecdotes, and descriptions of pehnomena of the known world. In 1554, he first published his "Cosmographia" which contained 471 woodcut illustrations and 26 maps. it was reprinted in six languages in 46 ediitions of the next hundred years, and Munster's writings, maps, and illustrations influenced scholarly thought for generations beyond that..