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Tabula Asiae VII is a striking early map by Girolamo Ruscelli, focusing on the region of the Caspian Sea and its neighboring areas in the east, north, and south.

Displayed prominently in the northwest is "Scythia," a region of Central Eurasia known for its nomadic tribes, while "Sarmatin Asiatia" occupies the western edge, indicating the area inhabited by the Sarmatian tribes in what is now modern-day Ukraine and Russia.

Moving eastward, the region of "Sogdiana," an ancient Persian province in Central Asia, stands out alongside the namesake "Bactriana," representing the ancient region of Bactria. Another notable feature in the southeast is "India Intra Gangem," indicating the part of India within the Ganges river basin.

Throughout the map, numerous geographical features are meticulously labeled. The numerous "mons" notations signify mountains and ranges, such as "Alani montes" (Alan Mountains) and "Hyperborei montes" (Hyperborean Mountains). "Indus fl." and "axart fl.", depict important river systems in the region, while locations like "Bactra" and "Alexandria" hint at significant urban settlements.

Girolamo Ruscelli Biography

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.