|Artist||Porro, Girolamo after Magini, Giovanni Antonio|
|Published||[In Venetia. Appresso Gio. Battista & Georgio Galignani Fratelli, 1598]|
|Dimensions||134 x 174 mm|
A superb map of the world according to Ptolemy, showing the extent of classical knowledge of the globe, from the 1598 Italian printing of Giovanni Antonio Magini's edition of Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia, published by the brothers Galignani in Venice. The map shows Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, divided according to ancient geography. The India Ocean is shown as a large land-bound Sea, with the coast of Asia east of the Indian subcontinent curving around to rejoin the east coast of Africa south of the Horn. To each side of the map, the globe is divided into climatic zones according to the prevailing opinions of the classical philosophers. Porro's Magini plates were popular, and went through numerous issues. In addition to the first Latin edition in 1596, and the two Venetian Italian editions of 1597 and 1598, the atlas was also published in Cologne in 1597 and 1608, Arnhem in 1617, and Padua in 1621, and were even reissued as late as 1713 for Lasor a Varea's Universus Terrarum Orbis Scriptorum. The only noticeable difference between the various impressions is the inclusion in the Venetian printings of the title 'Libya Interior' in the centre of Africa.
Girolamo Porro (c. 1520-1604) was an Italian engraver active in Venice and his native Padua, working predominantly as a map engraver for Tommaso Porcacchi, and Girolamo Ruscelli.
Giovanni Antonio Magini (1555-1615) was an Italian scientist, cartographer, and chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna. A prominent geocentrist, he was a correspondent of many notable contemporaries, including Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and Ortelius. His commentary on Ptolemy's Geographia, with accompanying copper-plate maps by Porro, appeared in Latin in its first edition in 1596, with the first Italian translation by Leonardo Cernoti printed in 1598.
Ptolemy (c. AD 100-170) was a Greek native of the Egyptian city of Alexandria, and a Roman citizen. Little is known about his life, but he is credited as the author of numerous works of mathematics, engineering, astronomy, astrology, philosophy, and geography. His most famous works were the Almagest, the Geography, and the Tetrabiblion, a triad that essentially formed the basis of Byzantine, Arabic, and European science for the next thousand years. The Geography in particular had a very long reach, being reprinted numerous times in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Its most famous advocate was Columbus, who used a manuscript of the Geography to plot his western course for Asia, in the journey that resulted in the discovery of America. The work was also a major inspiration, and cartographic resource, for Munster, Mercator, and Ortelius.
Condition: Italian text above and below plate, and on verso. Top right corner of sheet missing, without loss to plate or map. Margin trimmed at bottom of sheet, close to text.