By: Girolamo Ruscelli
Date: 1574 (published) Venice
Dimensions: 7.25 x 10.25 inches (18.42 x 2.04)
This fascinating Ruscelli map is from his work La Geografia di Claudio Tolomeo Alessandrino. Ruscelli based much of his work on that of Claudius Ptolemy, and on the atlas maps of Giacomo Gastaldi. This trapezoidal map focuses on a portion of eastern Europe and the western edge of Anatolia (Asia Minor). It includes parts of Greece, Dacia, Macedonia, and the region of modern day Ukraine which is on the Black Sea. The northern boundary of the map is formed by the Carpathian Mountains. Portions of three seas are depicted, including part of the Black, the Aegean, and the Adriatic Seas.
The map names historical places such as the ancient kingdom of Bithynia, the Troas in modern day Turkey and Ilium of Homer’s epic Iliad. Modern day Istanbul is named Byzantine, perhaps a nod to legendary Byzas, who in Greek mythology is said to have been the area’s founder of the city which would become Constantinople, the eastern capitol of the Roman Empire. Familiar names dot the region on the European side of the Bosphorus as well. Mountain chains and many river systems are shown in detail.
Girolamo Ruscelli (1500-1566) was an Italian cartographer, polymath, humanist and editor, active in Venice during the early 16th century. Ruscelli is best known for his important revision of Ptolemy's Geographia, published posthumously in 1574.
Claudius Ptolemy (85-165 CE), a Roman citizen of Greek descent from Alexandria, was the most influential of Greek astronomers and geographers of his time. He propounded the geocentric theory of the solar system which was to prevail for the next 1400 years.
Giacomo Gastaldi (c.1500-1566) was an Italian astronomer, cartographer and engineer from Villafranca in Piedmont. Many of Ruscelli’s maps are essentially enlarged versions of some of Gastaldi’s maps.
Condition: This map is in A condition, a well-inked and crisp impression from the new plates on which this 1574 issue was published. Italian text on verso.
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