Fine dark impression of Ruscelli's map of the Saudi Peninsula and surrounding waters.
The map is based upon the work of Claudius Ptolemy. Ptolemy was an Alexandrian mathematician, astronomer, geographer and astrologer. He lived in the city of Alexandria in the Roman province of Egypt. He is known to have used Babylonian observations and Babylonian lunar theory.
Ptolemy wrote several scientific treatises, three of which were of importance to later Byzantine, Islamic and Western European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest. The second is the Geographia, which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the astrological treatise in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day. This is most commonly known as the Tetrabiblos.
The present example is the second state of the map, which was first published in 1561 and revised in 1574. It is the final 1598 edition which is re-engraved and revised to include a Sea Monster and Sailing Ship.
While the earlier editions appear on the market with some frequency, this final edition is much scarcer than its predecessors.
Ruscelli's Atlas is an expanded edition of Gastaldi's Atlas of 1548, which has been called the most comprehensive atlas produced between Martin Waldseemüller's Geographiae of 1513, and the Abraham Ortelius Theatrum of 1570. Ruscelli and Gastaldi's maps were beautifully engraved on copper, marking a turning point in the history of cartography. From that point forward, the majority of cartographic works used this medium. As it was a harder material than wood it gave the engraver the ability to render more detail. Gastaldi sought the most up-to-date geographical information available, making the modern maps in Ruscelli's Geographia among the best modern maps of the period.
Girolamo Ruscelli (1500-1566) was a cartographer, humanist, and scholar from Tuscany. Ruscelli was a prominent writer and editor in his time, writing about a wide variety of topics including the works of Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch, Italian language, Italian poetry, medicine, alchemy, and militia. One of his most notable works was a translation of Ptolemy’s Geographia which was published posthumously.
There is limited information available about Ruscelli’s life. He was born in the Tuscan city of Viterbo to a family of modest means. He was educated at the University of Padua and moved between Rome and Naples until 1548, when he moved to Naples to work in a publishing house as a writer and proofreader. He remained in the city until his death in 1566.