Venice: Federico Toresano, 1547. ,74 leaves. Titlepage printed in red and black, with ornamental woodcut border, woodcut initials throughout. Full-page diagram of a world map and windroses; four woodcut double-page or folding maps; four smaller double-page maps; 103 other woodcut maps and plans scattered through the text. Small folio. Contemporary limp vellum, manuscript title on spine. Vellum somewhat wrinkled, with a few small tears along edges and spine. 18th century library shelf label on spine. Occasional faint foxing, small patch of dampstaining at fore-edge of rear leaves. Very good, in original condition. Item #WRCAM52582
First Aldine edition, and third overall, of Benedetto Bordone's important geographical compendium with early New World maps, containing a second printing of the earliest description in book form of Pizarro's conquest of Peru.
Benedetto Bordone was born in Padua and worked in Venice as a geographer, cartographer, illuminator, and wood-engraver. It is believed that he was the creator of the first globe printed in Italy. First published by Nicolò d'Aristotile detto Zoppino in 1528 under the title LIBRO DI BENEDETTO BORDONE NEL QUAL SI RAGIONA DE TUTTE L'ISOLE DEL MONDO. The second edition printed in 1534, also by Zoppino, reused the same woodblocks for the maps, but appeared with a different title. The present edition kept the title of the second edition but used different woodblocks for the cuts.
This work offers an illustrated guide to islands and peninsulas of the western ocean and New World, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and the Far East. As a cartographic form, Bordone's ISOLARIO derives from two manuscript prototypes, Buondelmonti's LIBER INSULARUM ARCHIPELAGI of 1420 and Da Li Sonetti's ISOLARIO of about 1485, whose maps were also drawn with eight windrays to establish orientation. Ptolemy's GEOGRAPHIA and nautical charts of the period are another source.
This work is notable for its wide scope, spreading beyond the European/Western bounds of the well-known into the newly discovered areas in the Americas. In addition to text which includes information on Pizarro's triumph in Peru, the maps of the area are also particularly important. The map of the unnamed north coast of South America represents an early close illustration of what the Spanish referred to as "Terra Firma" and what would later comprise a large portion of the Spanish Main. Only four place names are given on the mainland: "Chanchite," "Cuztana," "Mazatambal," and "Paria," located in the Guianas. To the north lie Jamaica and Hispaniola, along with a cluster of other, most likely fictional, islands. The surrounding text describes Columbus' forays in the region, a menacing island of cannibals, and more.
The West Indies and other islands off the coast of the Americas are treated in considerable detail. Jamaica, Hispaniola, Cuba, Guadeloupe, and Martinique are each represented in a separate map, while two additional maps of island groups show Antigua, St. Martin, Santo Domingo, Rodonda, Montserrat, a fictional island representation of Brazil, and others. Like many works of this genre, the text includes lengthy treatments of each island, complete with brief histories and fantastical myths.
The famous oval world map shows all of the known regions of the globe. Europe, Africa, and Asia Major are clearly labeled; but North and South America remain "terra del laboratore" and "ponete modo novo (part of the new world)" respectively, despite following by forty years Martin Waldseemüller's assertion that the new lands ought to be called "America" after Amerigo Vespucci.
A lovely Aldine edition of this important work of American cartography. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 547/2. HARRISSE BAV 275. PHILLIPS, ATLASES 164. CHURCH 86. JCB (3) I:149. RENOUARD 143:7. MORTIMER, ITALIAN 16th CENTURY BOOKS 82 (note). SABIN 6421.