Girolamo Ruscelli; 1504-1566.
A Venetian humanist and editor of fame, Ruscelli is mostly known for
his 1561 edition of a Ptolemy's Geographia. This atlas was
re-edited a number of times, specially in 1562, 1564, 1574,
1598 and 1599. For this purpose, he used slightly larger versions
of the maps Giacomo Gastaldi's compiled in 1548 for his own
It is generally assumed that Alessio Piemontese (Alexius Pedemontanus), was his pen name for the immensely popular book "The Secrets of Alexis of Piedmont" which was published in more than a hundred editions and was still being reprinted in the 1790s. The book contributed to the emergence of the concept of science as a key to the secrets of nature, leading eventually to the Scientific Revolution
Tabula Europae III.
This map (approx. 10" X 7") was originally designed
for the first issue of Geographia in 1561.
The present item was printed for the 1574 Italian issue. It
is a derived version of the map of France that Berlinghieri
included in his own 1480 edition the Geographia (in fact it
bears little similarity with the map of France that Gastaldi
used later in 1548).
The antiquity of the source material explains the amazingly
poor delineation of the coasts and of the river courses.
Besides, the map is replete with errors such as:
- the city of Narbonne is located outside of the province
bearing its name.
- the city of Paris is called Rothomag instead of the correct
Lutetia. While another Rothomagus city (present days Rouen)
is correctly located in Normandy.
- the very prominent icon representing the city of Reims is
located on the river Seine....hile it actually sits on the
banks of the Vesle, almost one hundred miles north of the
- Toulouse is shown on the Loire river instead of the Garonne
Italian text on verso.