"A New Manner for Projecting the Globe" and a Fantastic Cartographic Rarity
Expertly restored example of Antonio Floriano's rare, separately-issued two-sheet map of the world, believed to have been published in Venice between 1545 and 1555.
The map is based on Gerard Mercator's double-cordiform map of 1538 (Shirley 74), of which there are only two known surviving examples. Cartographically, the map dates to the period between 1545 and 1550 and there is strong evidence to suggest that the map is drawn directly from Antonio Salamanca's 1550 copy of the 1538 Mercator map (Shirley 91). In the top corners of the map are circular portraits of Ptolemy and Floriano himself; the two lower corner spaces are left blank.
America is shown as entirely separate from Asia, one of the earliest printed maps to show this division, and is split into two labeled continents, north and south. A massive area for the northeastern part of the northern continent is "Baccalearum Regio" (Codfish Kingdom or Region).
Both the North Pole and the South Pole consist of an enormous landmass. Magellan's Strait is shown between "Gigantum Regio" (Kingdom of Giants) and the Antarctic coastline.
In the northwestern part of South America, a note "Antropophagi" is an early reference to the presence of cannibals in the area. In the same area is a very early appearance of the Amazon River (Rio de los Esclavos or River of Slaves), according to Lucas Montalvão Rabelo. In the early sixteenth century, the river was rumored to exist due to the detection of freshwater far out to sea, which suggested the mouth of a large river. This river supposedly paralleled the Rio Marañón. The toponym on this map also appears on Mercator's 1538 map and is mentioned in the so-called “Tábula Segunda” of the Islario General de todos las islas del Mundo, produced by Alonso de Santa Cruz (ca. 1539). Santa Cruz references a river that runs parallel to the Marañón River, which is born in “los esclauos [the slaves]".
The production of Floriano's world map
It is known that, in 1555, Antonio Floriano of Udine addressed himself to the Doge of Venice to obtain a privilege to print a map of the world. Floriano wrote:
I, Florian, the very loyal servant of Your Highness and of this Illustrious Republic, with my diligence and knowledge having made a mappemonde which has never been made before, with the aid of which one can easily study and learn cosmography and see the entire picture of the world, since it can be reduced to spheric form.
Floriano also claimed that the map was made by him "with so much drudgery and sweat, with more heavy toil Your enlightened judgement can imagine." As noted in Arkway Catalog 54:
The result of Floriano's toil is this rare and unusual map depicting the two hemispheres each cut into thirty-six gores comprising 10 degrees of longitude each. In spite of its unique appearance, Floriano's map is directly based on Mercator's double-cordiform map of 1538 with the geography and place names taken from Mercator without change. Even the system of projection is identical to that of Mercator if the individual gores are considered one by one. "Still, the Udinese artist has the merit of having made a world map in gores rather different from that of the Mappa Mercatoriana and had tried a new manner for projecting the globe" --Imago Mundi
The exact date of the map has been the subject of debate. While it is known that Floriano was granted a privilege by the Venetian state to prepare and publish a world map in January 1555 (see above), several authorities have questioned whether the privilege applies to this map, noting that the geographic information suggests a date of sometime between 1545 and 1550. The engraving has been attributed to Paolo Cimerlino, due to the monogram that appears next to the portrait of Ptolemy.
The map is exceedingly rare, with only a few examples appearing on the market in the past thirty years.