This is a fascinating example of the 1770 Jean-Baptiste-Claude Delisle de Sales' map of the northern half of Africa. It depicts northern Africa during a period the cartographer refers to as the 'Origin of Empires.' Exactly what he means by this in unclear, however, many ancient city-states and empires are identified, including Carthage, Thebes, Babylong, Persepolis, Memphis, Meroe, and others. The cartographer identifies the source of the Nile according to Ptolemaic tradition: two lakes at the base of the semi-apocryphal Mountains of the Moon. The map marks the curious 'Alter of Philenes Brothers,' a boundary marker dividing the Carthaginian lands of West Africa from the Greek colony of Cyrene. Several rivers, mountains, and other topographical details are noted. This map was issued as part of Delisle de Sales' Histoire des hommes. Partie de l'Histoire Ancienne. Becasue most of Sales' work was burnt under the censorship of heresy, this volume is exceedingly rare.
Jean-Baptiste-Claude Delisle de Sales or Jean-Baptiste Isoard de Lisle (1741–1816) was a French philosopher, historian, and accused heretic active in the late 18th century. Sales is best known for his publication of the multi-volume opus The Philosophy of Nature: Treatise on Human Moral Nature. The work, among other ideas, challenged the Biblical theory that the earth was created in 4004 BC. Instead, Sales put forth the theory based upon astronomical observations, that the earth was 140,000 years old. Sales' revolutionary ideas caused him to be declared a heretic by the Catholic Church. His publications were subsequently censored and, for the most part, destroyed. As a consequence all of his works are today extremely rare. Sales was also, notably, a close friend of Voltaire who in 1777 visited him in prison, gifting him 500 pounds towards his release. Delisle de Sales is unrelated to the more famous De L'Isle family of cartographers.
Delisle de Sales, Histoire des Hommes. Partie de l'Histoire Ancienne (Paris) 1770.
Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original folds. Blank on verso.