Rare original color example of Coronelli's map of Abyssinia, showing the Upper Nile and its sources and the regions once thought to be the dominion of the Christian King, Prester John.
The map provides a detailed image of the region, including kingdoms, rivers, mountain ranges, lakes and other details. The inset map shows the full course of the Nile.
The map is based in part upon information which Coronelli derived a number of contemporary reports, including Pietro Paez's, who arrived in the region in 1603 and whose manuscript account of the affairs of Ethiopia, which is said to exist at Rome in the secretary's office of the crown of Portugal, covers the period 1555 to 1622, and from whom even Kircher relied for his Kircher for description of the sources of the Nile, which he visited in 1618; Don Alfonzo Mendez, who arrived in 1625 and later wrote his Relation du Reverendissime Patriarche D'Ethiopie Dom Alphonze Mendez, touchant la conversion des ames qui s'est faite en cet empire depuis l'annee 1629, .Jesuit Missionary Jerome Lobo, who would later write his Voyage Historique D'Abyssinie . . . MDDCCXXVIII; Ludolph (who published his History of Ethiopia in Frankfurt 1681 and later in English in 1684).
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) was one of the most influential Italian mapmakers and was known especially for his globes and atlases. The son of a tailor, Vincenzo was apprenticed to a xylographer (a wood block engraver) at a young age. At fifteen he became a novice in a Franciscan monastery. At sixteen he published his first book, the first of 140 publications he would write in his lifetime. The order recognized his intellectual ability and saw him educated in Venice and Rome. He earned a doctorate in theology, but also studied astronomy. By the late 1670s, he was working on geography and was commissioned to create a set of globes for the Duke of Parma. These globes were five feet in diameter. The Parma globes led to Coronelli being named theologian to the Duke and receiving a bigger commission, this one from Louis XIV of France. Coronelli moved to Paris for two years to construct the King’s huge globes, which are 12.5 feet in diameter and weigh 2 tons.
The globes for the French King led to a craze for Coronelli’s work and he traveled Europe making globes for the ultra-elite. By 1705, he had returned to Venice. There, he founded the first geographical society, the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti and was named Cosmographer of the Republic of Venice. He died in 1718.