German humanist and law scholar Nicolaus Gerbel or Gerbelius (1485-1560) was born in Pforzheim. He studied at the Universities of Vienna (1502-1505), Köln (1505-1506) and Tübingen (1508-1512), and later in Bologna. He was professor of Law for many years in the University of Strasburg, the city where he ended his days. Gerbelius was a friend of Martin Luther and corresponded with Erasmus and Melanchthon. He published books on ancient Greek geography and Roman history.
In 1540, Nicolaos Sofianos from Corfu, a humanist versed in mathematics and astronomy, published in Venice the “Description of Greece” with a map which extended, beyond Greece, to Asia Minor and Southeastern Europe up to the south of the Danube, as well as a table of place names. The work was received well by scholars of the time and was twice reprinted the following years. All copies of these editions have been lost, except the 1545 edition with Gerbelius’ accompanying commentaries. The twenty one in-text wood engravings represent ancient as well as modern Greek cities in Gothic style. The explanatory texts provide information from ancient Greek and Roman sources.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou