Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1561. hardcover. Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1561. 3 parts in 1 volume: "La Geografia" by Ptolemy, Ruscelli's "Espositioni et Introduttioni Universali" and "Discorso Universale di M. Gioseppe Moleto mathematico". Short, thick 4to bound in full contemporary vellum with red speckled edges, modern description pasted on spine. 1 general title page and 2 sectional title pages. Features 64 double page maps: 27 Ptolemaic maps (showing the ancient world as Ptolemy knew it, including one world map), 37 "modern" maps (with two world maps) and several woodcut diagrams, illustrations and decorative initials. First Italian edition. Binding well-worn at edges. Small wormholes in a few pages of text. Marginal dampstains and occasional foxing, with small pencil and contemporary ink notations in margins and on some maps. In general maps are clean and bright. Bookplate of Otto Orren Fisher and ink inscription dated 1724. very good.
Claudius Ptolemy (90-168 CE) was a Roman geographer and mathematician living in Egypt, who compiled his knowledge and theories about the world's geography into one seminal work. Although his maps did not survive, his mathematical projections and location coordinates did. During the Renaissance revival of Greek and Roman works, "Geographia" was rediscovered by monks and based upon Ptolemy's detailed instructions, the maps were recreated. The first printed edition of "Geographia" with maps was published in Bologna in 1477. Girolamo Ruscelli (c. 1504-1566) was a Venetian editor, whose maps are primarily based on those by Jacopo Gastaldi (1548) but with many of his own additions and reproduced on a larger scale. Ruscelli introduces several important innovations in this volume through his 37 "modern" maps, which cover Europe, Africa, Asia and the New World. Ruscelli includes a double hemisphere world map, which was the first of its kind to be used in an atlas, and "Carta Marina Nuova Tavola", a rare sea chart of the world. He includes a revised version of the Zeno map of the Arctic, first published in 1558. The Zeno map describes the purported journey of the author's ancestors in the 1390s to Greenland, Iceland, the mythical islands of Frisland and Icaria, and what is now thought to be Newfoundland and Labrador. While Zeno shows Greenland connected to Norway, Ruscelli has updated the map by eliminating this land bridge. Despite its inaccuracies and inclusion of mythical lands, the Zeno map persisted as the prevailing map of the Arctic and Greenland for many years. Six other New World maps include the South American continent, Brazil, Central America and the Baja Peninsula, the eastern coast of North America, Cuba and Hispaniola. A rare and exciting edition for any collector.