Tabula Asiae IIII, a notable creation by Girolamo Ruscelli, published in Venice in 1562, is a finely detailed map covering the region from the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus in the West to the Euphrates River in the East. This map was based upon the geographical works of the influential Hellenistic cartographer, Claudius Ptolemy.
During the 16th century, the revival of Ptolemy's geographical writings triggered a renewed interest in accurate cartographical representations of known and newly discovered territories. The map by Ruscelli, an Italian cartographer and scholar, was part of this resurgence. His work was instrumental in disseminating the geographical knowledge of Ptolemy, combined with contemporary discoveries, to a broader audience.
Tabula Asiae IIII illustrates a significant part of the Near East, a region that witnessed the ebb and flow of great empires, from the Roman and Byzantine to the emerging Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. The geographical scope of the map, encompassing areas of vital strategic and commercial importance, reflects the regions' historical significance and the keen interest of European powers.
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.