An Important Map of the Moon With Hidden Dedications to the Maker and Artist's Wives!
A fine Italian reduction of Jean-Dominique Cassini's important work, one of the earliest available scientific maps of the moon. This map was originally published in 1679 by Jean-Dominique Cassini from drawings by Claude Mellan (1598-1688), and shows one of the most detailed surveys of the moon made up until that point.
This late-seventeenth-century issue of the Cassini moon map follows the 1784 second issue of the moon map, published by Cassini's great-grandson, of the same name but more commonly known as Cassini IV (1748-1845), who, in 1784, was the director of the Paris Observatory. The broadside preserves Cassini's French-language note that describes this map, translating it to Italian. The first paragraph translates as follows:
The largest map of the moon that has been published is that twenty inches in diameter, that Dominic Cassini had engraved around 1680 after his observations made over an interval of nine years from 1671 until 1679. The original drawings of each part of the moon were made with notes of the days, the weeks, and all the other circumstances under which the observation was made, written in the same hand of this astronomer and conserved delicately in the Royal Observatory, and forming a volume of sixty plates perfectly drawn in the hand of Le Clerc, and we think that the famous Mellan is the author of the engraving of the large map.
In 1787, Cassini IV found the original copperplate of his great-grandfather's lunar map in the Observatory's archive and reissued it. This second edition is identical to the first, aside from the addition of Carte de la Lune ... de Jean Dominique Cassini to the lower edge. This Brun Italian edition follows the Cassini map.
There are two rather intriguing dedications interwoven into the moon’s surface, supposedly to Cassini’s wife, Geneviève de Laistre and to the wife of artist Jean Patigny (d. 1675). One is a profile of a woman’s head which features in the lower half by the mountain range “Heraclides”. The other appears in the Mare Serenitis, a heart shape or the Greek letter phi (φ) as in philos - meaning love.
Cassini IV added labels to significant lunar features on this reduction, as well as a substantial historical note detailing the discoveries made by his great-grandfather and other astronomers. The labels follow the nomenclature of Cassini I's teacher, Giovanni Battista Riccioli, first laid out in his 'Almagestum Movun' in 1651. It divided the visible surface of the Moon into octants, with the features in each named for a certain period of history. Octant VIII contains the names of Riccioli's contemporaries. The names of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler appear in the Sea of Storms. Riccioli credited several Arab astronomers by naming craters after them, despite a tendency in Christian scholars to gloss over their achievements, for example, Azophi and Arzachel (Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi and Al-Zarkali) in the upper portion of the map.
Having searched a battery of related keywords in both Google and other databases (including OCLC), we were unable to locate any additional examples of this broadside.