Geografia di M. Livio Sanuto distincta in XII libri. Ne quali, oltra l'esplicatione di molti luoghi di Tolomeo, e della Bussola, e dell'Aguglia, si dichiarano le Prouincie, Popoli, Regni, Città; Porti, Monti, Fiumi Laghi, e Costumi dell'Africa. Con XII tauole di essa Africa in dissegno di rame. Aggiuntiui de piu tre Indici da M. Giovan Carlo Saraceni. ...

SANUTO Livio (1588.)


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Folio (397 x 270 mm); [32]pp, 146 numbered leaves; engraved title-page signed by Giacomo Franco, twelve double-page engraved maps. Preliminaries with paper reinstatement, the title requiring pen facsimile. The maps with narrow lower margins from binding, some with loss of printed area. Modern vellum, five raised bands, gilt decoration and ink ms. title to spine, covers tooled in blind with double-fillet outer border and double-fillet panel; raised bands very slightly rubbed, covers a touch marked and dust-soiled. Venice : Damiano Zenaro, 

Livio Sanuto (1520-1576) was the son of an eminent Venetian senator. At an early age he became interested in cosmography. His training is entirely unknown, but he became an eminent maker of scientific instruments and globes, working in association with his brother Giulio, before becoming interested in maps.

The brothers edited the maps for the 1561 Venice Ptolemy (see item xxx). It may be that the limitations of the Ptolemaic atlas composition spurred him into a more ambitious attempt at a world geography. He started with Africa, but died before the volume was completed. Instead, it was seen through the press by Damiano Zenaro, who published it, and also contributed an introductory text, in which he said that the maps were compiled by Livio and engraved by Giulio. The twelve maps were prepared on the trapezoid projection, introduced by Donnus Nicolaus Germanus in the 1480s, an unusual projection at this time.

The twelve full sheet maps comprise a general map of the continent, and eleven regional maps, numbered ‘I’ to ‘XII’ clockwise round Africa, starting at Cape Verde. An interesting feature of the maps us that many of the names are created using punch letters, stamped into the printing plate, as an alternative to individually engraving each letter by hand. Five sets of punches seem to have been used, for different sizes of letter. This is one of the last appearances of maps lettered in this way.

The text is a worthy testament to Sanuto's scholarship and editing skills, combining to form the finest description of Africa to-date.

"The methodical and precisely documented description of the geography of Africa given by Sanuto in Books III-XII of the Geografia not only provides an admirable summary of 16th-century knowledge of the continent, but also justifies the opinion of modern scholars that, had he lived to complete it, Sanuto's compendium would have ranked among the masterpieces of Renaissance Geography." (Skelton, p. VIII).

Despite its importance, the atlas is now rarely encountered on the market.


Skelton: Bibliographical note to the TOT facsimile.

Stock Code: 225742

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