Fine example of the rare first edition of De Jode's modern map of the Middle East, from his Speculum Orbis Terrae, published in Antwerp in 1578 and engraved by Joannes & Lucas Van Deutecum.
The complete title reads:
Secundae partis Asiae: typus qua oculis subijciuntur itinera nautarum qui Calecutium Indiae mercandorum aromatum caufa fre quentant, ac eorum quoqz qui terrestri itinere ade unt Suacham, Laccam, in domino Praeto Iani, nec non eorum qui Aden et ormum inuifunt, et Balsaram quoque castrum, supra Euphratem fluuium situm, omnia suis gradibus subiecta, cum longitudinis tum latitudinis / Iacobo Castaldo pedemontano authore ; Gerhardus de Iode excudebat
As noted in the title, the map was prepared by Gerard De Jode's and is largely identical to Giacomo Gastaldi's highly influential map of 1559. De Jode's delineation of Arabia is vastly superior to the contemporary maps of Ortelius, showing far more accuracy and detail. Extending from the Nile to Afghanistan and centered on the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf, the map depicts what was then still among the most important trading centers of the commercial world.
The present example is from the first edition of De Jode's work, which can be distinguished from the second edition by the pagination on the verso (VII for the 1578 edition; 9 for the 1593 edition). The map is drawn from the rare first edition of De Jode's Speculum Orbis Terrarum. At least one commentator has opined that as few as 11 known examples of the first edition are known to have survived, making separate maps from this first edition very rare on the market.
Giacomo Gastaldi (fl. 1542-1565) is widely considered to be the most important and influential of all of the Lafreri School mapmakers. Born in Piedmont, Gastaldi worked in Venice, where he become Cosmographer to the Venetian Republic. Karrow described him as "one of the most important cartographers of the sixteenth century. He was certainly the greatest Italian mapmaker of his age..."
While his achievement is obvious, it is hard to quantify. A large number of maps were published throughout this period with the geography credited to Gastaldi, but it is often difficult to know what role Gastaldi played in their creation. As a practice, he did not sign himself as publisher, although his name may be found in the title, dedication, or text to the reader. Frequently where there is no imprint one may assume that Gastaldi was the publisher. A further clue may be that many of the maps attributable to Gastaldi as publisher seem to have been engraved by Fabius Licinius.
In other cases, where publication is credited to another, it is not always certain whether Gastaldi was commissioned by the publisher to compile the map, whether another less-enterprising publisher merely copied his work and attribution, or simply added Gastaldi's name in the title to add authority to the delineation. His name clearly commanded the same sort of respect that the Sanson name had in the last years of the seventeenth century, and as Guillaume de L'Isle's had in the first half of the eighteenth century.
Gastaldi's first published map was of Spain, engraved on four sheets, and issued in 1544. The following year he published a map of Sicily, among the most widely copied of all his maps. In the course of a prolific career, Gastaldi subsequently produced a number of maps of Italy, and individual parts of the peninsula, with his general map of Italy, and the map of Piedmont also being very influential.
Among the most important of his maps, however, were of areas outside Italy. Principal among these was his map of the World, published in 1546, a four sheet map of the countries of south-eastern Europe, published in 1559, and his series of three maps of the Middle East, Southern Asia, and South-East Asia with the Far East, issued between 1559 and 1561. In 1562, Gastaldi issued a two-sheet map of the Kingdom of Poland, and in 1564, a magnificent eight-sheet map of Africa.