Sylvanus world map is one of the earliest maps to mix Ptolemy's classical world map with updated geographical knowledge. One of the earliest world maps printed in Venice, it is also the earliest map printed in two colors. Also, because Sylvanus printed the maps in his atlas on both sides, Ireland and the west coast of England appear on the verso of this map. The map has not title or exterior decoration other than notes on the climates and several zodiacal signs on the left side of the map. The British Isles, the Indian Peninsula, and Africa all reflect the work of modern cartographers. No longer does a strip of land connect the southern part of Africa with Asia. However, Sylvanus does not include the New World, as he does no his cordiform map of the same date. One of the rarest and most sought after of all of the post 1500 editions of Ptolemy, reflecting marvelous high quality printing techniques. Sylvanus' world map is also one of the earliest obtainable maps of the world for collectors, and the earliest obtainable full size map, save for Schedel's map of 1493. An excellent example, trimmed a bit on the left side, but less than is usually the case. Otherwise, wide margins and a fresh example. Shirley 31.
Bernardus Sylvanus (Bernardo Silvano) was born around 1465 in Eboli, a small agricultural town near Salerno in southern Italy. He began studying Ptolemy around 1490, when he was living in Naples. At this time he ran a print shop or studio, producing maps and codices. It was here that he produced his first edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia in 1490, which he dedicated to Andrea Matteo Acquaviva, the third Duke of Atri. For this edition Sylvanus used coordinates and text from Jacopo d’Angelo’s translation, and copied the maps from a Roman printed edition of either 1478 or 1490 (both printed from the same plates). Sylvanus’ 1511 Venice edition of the Geographia built on his prior work, but was groundbreaking in several regards. It was the only edition to add modern updates directly into Ptolemy’s maps, the only edition at the time to print maps on both sides of the leaf, the first edition printed in two colors, and the first Italian edition to use woodblocks. Nothing is known of Sylvanus’ life after the publication of this edition.