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Striking example of Magini's modern map of Scandinavia and the North Atlantic regions.

Magini bases his map on whe work of Abraham Ortelius. The most notable feature is the incorporation of the details from Nicolo Zeno's account of his ancestor's 14th Century travels in the North Atlantic between the Faroe Islands and the coast of either Greenland or North America, in the service of Zichmni (Henry Sinclair), which included a map of the regions first publised in Zeno's book and then popularized by its inclusion in Ruscelli's 1561 Geographia.

While the veracity of Zeno's account has been questioned and a number of his descriptions of the the customs and habits of natives and other details can be traced to contemporary early 16th Century accounts of the region, his impact on contemporary cartography is beyond question, including the inclusion of several mythical islands which were thereafter incorporated in most maps of the North Atlantic for the next 100 years, including Drogio and Frisland (both present on this map).

Giovanni Antonio Magini Biography

Giovanni Antonio Magini was an accomplished Italian cartographer, astronomer, astrologer, and mathematician—in short, a Renaissance man. Born in Padua, he studied philosophy in Bologna. His first publication was Ephemerides coelestium motuum, an astronomical treatise published in 1582. In 1588 he was selected, over Galileo Galilei, to fill the chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna. He died in that city in 1617.

Magini operated under a geocentric understanding of the universe and created his own planetary theory consisting of eleven rotating spheres. He published this theory in Novæ cœlestium orbium theoricæ congruentes cum observationibus N. Copernici (Venice, 1589). In the 1590s he published works on surveying and trigonometry, as well as invented a calculator. In 1596, he published a commentary of Ptolemy’s Geographia, which was published in several editions and languages. He labored for years on an atlas of Italy, which was printed posthumously in 1620. To pay for this project, Magini served as the math tutor to the son of the Duke of Mantua, as well as being the court astrologer to the Duke.