Apian, Philipp: Bayerische Landtaflen, 1568

Philipp Apian (1531-1589) was born in Ingolstadt where he taught mathematics at university. Duke Albrecht V (1528-1579; duke from 1550) wished for the Bayerische Chronik (Bavarian Chronicle) by Johannes Aventinus (1477-1537) to be printed for the first time. However, Aventinus' associated map seemed outdated to him, which is why in 1554 he commissioned Philipp Apian to produce an exact map of Bavaria.

Consequently, until 1561, Apian travelled systematically through the country with some companions and conducted countless surveys. The result of this territorial survey was the so-called "Große Karte" (Great Map), painted on parchment at a scale of 1:45,000 and completed in 1563. Albrecht V had the map drawn up for his court library, which had been founded in 1558, and displayed it there as a showpiece.

Origins of the "Landtaflen"

At Albrecht's request for a small-format copy, 24 Landtafeln (referred to in the original title as "Landtaflen") and a comprehensive map at a reduced scale of about 1:144,000 were produced, showing Bavaria at an overall size of about 1.70 x 1.70 metres.

Apian had these Landtafeln made into woodcuts in 1567 at the workshop of Jost Amman (1539-1591). They were first published in 1568 by Apian's print shop and thus shortly before he had to leave Ingolstadt and Bavaria as a Protestant. Apian settled in Tübingen, where he died in 1589.

Since Apian's survey of Bavaria was the most precise of its time, the Landtafeln formed the basis for all cartographic representations of Bavaria up to the Napoleonic era. The maps impress by their many topographic details and by the very naturalistic representation of the mountains. Based on astronomic localisation, it already bears the features of the great land surveys that would begin much later. Not until the publication of the "Topographischer Atlas vom Königreiche Baiern" (Topographic Atlas of the Kingdom of Bavaria, 1812, completed in 1867) was there a real successor to Apian's maps.

The History of the "Große Karte"

Between 1756 and 1761, lieutenant engineer Franz Xaver Pusch made copies of the "Große Karte" in the Court Library. After his death in 1782, the "Große Karte" was burned. Push's copies were destroyed by fire during WWII. In 1921/22, however, the Bavarian State Surveying Office (since 2014: Landesamt für Digitalisierung, Breitband und Vermessung/Bavarian State Agency for Digitization, High-Speed Internet and Surveying) had in turn made copies of Push' copies, which it had printed in 1940 in an edition of ten facsimile sheets and reissued in 1976 in new colouration. These ten sheets are the only ones to be still preserved today.

The estate of Apian also contains the preparatory work for the "Große Karte".

>> This multi-part work is part of the collection "Sets of Topographic Maps" of the "Maps and Plans from the Holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek" (Bavarian State Library).