[ISHMap-List] New Publication on 16th century Italian maps
dougsims1945 at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 8 02:59:32 CET 2015
I have just received an e-mail notification of an important publication which should be of interest to many in ISHMap. The book, 'Lafreri: Italian Cartography in the Renaissance' comes from the Mercator Museum, Department of Geography, Ghent University. The book was produced as accompanying material to an exhibition at the museum Nov. 14, 2014 to July 19, 2015. For more information, see http://www.lafreri.ugent.be
I can say without yet having seen the book that it is a valuable contribution to the study of 16th century Italian cartography, an area which has recently received too little attention. It is also timely, with the ICHC conference coming up later this year in Antwerp. I will certainly purchase this book.
The important atlas with which it deals is probably known to some ISHM members, for, although the e-mail flyer I received does not note the fact, it has received scholarly attention at least three times: (1) Albert Buve, "De Italiaanse Kartografie in de XVIe eeuw en de Mercatorverzameling," 'Annalen van de oudheidkundige kring van het land van Waas', v. 75 (1972), 145-53, including a fairly detailed catalog of the atlas's maps at 148-52. The atlas was then disbound, and the maps were individually mounted, as see (2) Guy de Wille,"Preservatie, conservatie en restauratie van de IATO-atlas van de koninklijke oudheidkundige kring van het land van Waas,",'Annalen', etc. (as above), v. 97 (1994), 195-232, with a slightly less detailed catalog of the maps than in Buve, at pp. 224-28. The numbering of the maps between Buve and De Witte differ for the maps, for the maps were assigned different numbers when the atlas was disbound and mounted. Finally, there is (3), a short work in English on the atlas by Rodney Shirley in the 'IMCoS Journal', v. 60 (spring, 1995), 15-17.
A few comments are in order.
Firstly, this post seemed an opportune place to elucidate a long-standing terminological misunderstanding concerning this type of atlas in general. The new book may clarify this point, in which I apologize in advance for the repetition. Let me say, however, that in the literature of the last half-century on these atlases, I have encountered several instances of this misunderstanding, but, though I am very familiar with the scholarship in this area, I have never yet seen either an awareness of, or an elucidation of, this unclarity. (I can't say for certain that none such exists.) The problem is as follows.
In the 16th century Italian map dealers' shops there developed a practice of gathering together a number of the maps they had available, and binding them. (The atlas dealt with in the new book noticed above is such an atlas.) This practice began in Venice ca. 1565, and no title page was given to the atlases. About the early 1570s, Roman publishers also began to produce these atlases, and there a lengthy title page began to be given to these Roman atlases, whether to all or to part it is impossible to say. I shall not give this long title here, for it is unnecessary for present purposes, and it is given commonly (as in 'Imago Munsi', v. 3 (1939), p. 13). This title page gives the place of publication as Rome, but gives no publisher's name. Nevertheless, since Antonio Lafreri w3as the most prominent Roman publisher of maps, it was presumed that he was the most likely publisher, and the atlases began to be referred to, about a century ago, as Lafreri's atlas, or Lafrerian atlases, etc. The mane was misleading, for the atlas idea was not Lafreri's; the first such atlases were produced, as said, in Venice by an unknown publisher, probably one of the Bertellis. Regardless of these facts, and the fact that the majority of the atlases carry no title page at all, this designation is still fairly commonly seen. Around the middle of the 20th century, further, more subtle confusion arose, to complicate things worse, as follows.
In the 1940s, George H. Beans, a prominent collector of 16th century Italian maps, noticed the inaccuracy outlined above, and devised his own means of referring to the atlases. He called them IATO atlases, standing for "Italian Assembled to Order Atlases." This name too is in appropriate for several reasons, which I go into in my upcoming book on Giacomo Gastaldi. At the moment, I wish only to point out the following semantic problem, dealing with the simple but treacherous English idiom "to order", in such phrases as "made to order", or "done to order"hese phrases mean 'made (or done) according to the customer's specifications. Suits and other pieces of clothing are often "made to order", but anything, even an automobile or airplane can be "made to order", if one so wishes, and has the money.s's phrase means "Italian atlas assembled according to the specifications of the customer." The customer chose the maps he wanted to be bound together, and the publisher bound them.
And here we encounter our problem., if I have not put my fellow ISHMappers to sleep. The problem is a double-entendre on the word order. For, while the customer ordered (=specified) the maps he wished, the publishers always bound the maps in a certain order (order=arrangement). That is, he always bound the maps, as far as he was able, in the same order (=arrangement/sequence) as that which Ptolemy had used in his ancient atlas of 26 special maps (plus a world map); that is, Europe first, with the first maps running from west to east across northern Europe, then the maps running from west to east across central Europe, and finally, the maps from west to east across southern Europe; after Europe, he gave his four parts of Africa, and, finally, 12 maps of Asia, generally running from west to east across Asia. Though the number of maps differed in the IATO atlases than in Ptolemy, and sometimes they included maps of areas which were not in Ptolemy at all, the publisher always did his best to adhere to this order (=arrangement) as well as he could.as the old master revered.
To quickly capsulize:(1) First, the Italian customer ordered (specified) the maps he wanted.(2) The publisher then bound them, following, as well as possible the order (arrangement) followe4d by Ptolemy.The second of these facts has been known to scholars from the time when these atlases first came to their attention, probably before the 19th century. The first became clear only slowly during t5he 20th century, and Beans was among those who helped bring it to light, in the 1940s and 1950s.
When Beans says "assembled to rder", he means the first of these two (assembled according to the clien's specifications), and not the second, where the term is connected to the Ptolemaic order (arrangement) of the maps. But it has become clear to me that many non-native readers of English of English have mistakenly gotten the notion, due to this slippery and inobvious little English idiomse comments map enthusiast whose first profession is closer to linguistics than geography, will be of some use to foreigners who encounter Beans's phrase. As noted, this misunderstanding may be corrected in the new book, but, if so, a second recital of the facts will do no harm.
Some final short observations. The received e-mail flyer leaves us a little short on some important information: (1) Does the book give reproductions for all of the 96 maps in the atlas (as Peter Meurer does in his superb catalog of the 'Strabo Illustratus' IATO atlas); (2)What author (or authors) wropte the text, and (3) How much does the book cost? (Some will recall the Millo atlas of 1988; if you just gave your credit card number, you shortly found out that you had just bouight a modern facsimile atlas plus commentary for 2000.00 dollars.
Douglas W Sims3516A Bayview AvBrooklyn, NY 11224
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