Cartography from Ruscelli


Girolamo Ruscelli (1500-1566), using the pseudonyms Allessio Piemontese and a Latin version thereof - Alexius Pedemontanus - typified the Renaissance ideal, being a physician, alchemist and cartographer. He published numerous books which were translated into Latin, German, French and Welsh - one of those publications was a version of Ptolemy's Geographia.



Septentrionalium Partium Nova Tabula



Complete map





Detail showing the fictional island of Frisland



This map is drawn from the 1561 Edition of Ruscelli's Geographia and is known as the "Zeno" map, being based on the purported journey of the Italian brother Nicolo and Antonio Zeno throughout the North Atlantic. Consistent with the published tale of the Zeno's voyage, Ruscelli's map shows the fictional islands of Frisland and Icaria, in addition to Estotiland and Drogeo that appear on the edge of the map. It has been speculated that the contours attributed to Estotiland and Drogeo may form some of the earliest attempts to represent the eastern shores of far north America.


Ptolemæi Typus


Complete map




Detail showing Europe and parts of Asia and Africa



Published in just one edition by Vincenzo Valgrisi in Venice, this copy of Ptolemæi Typus shows the characteristic feature of this unique plate from the 1562 edition - the platemark extends beyond the top of the sheet. That feature resulted from two maps being printed from the same plate with the resulting sheet cut in half for binding.