Printed in 1574 by Girolamo Ruscelli, this is one of the earliest obtainable maps of Brazil. The map is oriented to the west and covers from the Rio de la Plata to the mouth of the Amazon (Maranon) River. Little other detail of the interior is given with the exception of an impressive volcano at the heart of the continent.
The map's most striking feature is the dramatic illustration of two cannibals roasting a human leg. The caption above the vignette reads Gli indi natij di questi paesi mangiano carne humana or 'The Indians native to these countries eat human meat.'
This map was first issued in 1561. That plate is recognizable by the fact that the pressmark runs off the plate as well as by the absence of the iconic anthropophagi illustration present in later editions. A second state corresponding to the current example was issued in 1574. This was an independent plate and the anthropophagi illustration was added. A third and final plate was issued in 1599.
Girolamo Ruscelli (1500 - 1566) was an Italian polymath, humanist, editor, and cartographer active in Venice during the early 16th century. Born in Viterbo, Ruscelli lived in Aquileia, Padua, Rome and Naples before relocating to Venice, where he spent much of his life. Cartographically, Ruscelli is best known for his important revision of Ptolemy's Geographia, which was published posthumously in 1574. Ruscelli, basing his work on Gastaldi's 1548 expansion of Ptolemy, added some 37 new "Ptolemaic" maps to his Italian translation of the Geographia. Ruscelli is also listed as the editor to such important works as Boccaccio's Decameron, Petrarch's verse, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and various other works. In addition to his well-known cartographic work many scholars associate Ruscelli with Alexius Pedemontanus, author of the popular De' Secreti del R. D. Alessio Piemontese. This well-known work, or "Book of Secrets" was a compilation of scientific and quasi-scientific medical recipes, household advice, and technical commentary on a range of topics that included metallurgy, alchemy, dyeing, perfume making. Ruscelli, as Alexius, founded a "Academy of Secrets," a group of noblemen and humanists dedicated to unearthing "forbidden" scientific knowledge. This was the first known experimental scientific society and was later imitated by a number of other groups throughout Europe, including the Accademia dei Secreti of Naples. More by this mapmaker...
Ruscelli, G., Geografia di Tolomeo, (Venice) 1574.
Good. Minor wear and verso reinforcement on centerfold. Typical stitch punctures repaired. Platemark visible. Italian text on verso.