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Francesco Berlinghieri (1440 - 1500)

Lot 128: BERLINGHIERI, Francesco (1440-1501). Geographia . [In Italian]. With additions by Marsiglio Ficino. Florence: Nicolaus Laurentii, Alamanus, [before September 1482- early sixteenth century].


June 22, 2010
New York, NY, US

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BERLINGHIERI, Francesco (1440-1501). Geographia. [In Italian]. With additions by Marsiglio Ficino. Florence: Nicolaus Laurentii, Alamanus, [before September 1482- early sixteenth century].

2υo (420 x 282 mm). Collation: \Kp\kυ2; aaυ1υ0 bb-ddυ8 eeυ6 ff-ggυ8 hhυ6 iiυ4 aυ6 bυ8 (+7* Larunesie); \Ky\kυ1 c-dυ8 [1υ4] eυ8 [2υ4] fυ1υ0 (+_10). 123 (of 126) leaves (lacking blanks dd8, ii4, 2/4). Contents: \Kp\k1 later-printed title, \Kp\k1v title In questo volume si contengono septe giornate della geographia di Francesco Berlingeri Fiorentino allo illustrissimo Federico duca durbino, \Kp\k2r In quale libro... posa sia, \Kp\k2v verse dedication to Federigo, duke of Urbino, aa1r-v proem to first book, aa1v Ficino, Apologus to Federigo, duke of Urbino, aa2r-dd3v text of first two books, dd4r-dd7v gazetteer to second book (maps 1-5 of Europe), dd8 blank [lacking], ee1r-hh5r text of third book, hh5r-ii3v gazetteer to fourth book (maps 6-10 of Europe), ii4 blank [lacking], a6r-b7r text of fourth book, b7r-b8+1v gazetteer to fourth book (maps 1-4 of Africa), b8+2r-d8v text of fifth book, 1/1r-1/4v gazetteer to fifth book (maps 1-4 of Asia), e1r-e8v text of sixth book, f8r-f9v gazetteer to sixth book (maps 5-9 of Asia), 2/3v-2/4 blank [lacking], f1r-f7v text of seventh book, f8r-f9v gazetteer to seventh book (maps 10-12 of Asia), f10r later-printed register and colophon Impresso infirenze per Nicolo Todescho & emendato con somma diligentia dallo auctore, f10v blank. Double-column (gazetteers in triple-column). Types 4A:116R, 4B:115R, 6A:111R. 51 lines and headline, initial spaces, most with printed guides. 29 FULL-SHEET AND 2 HALF-SHEET COPPER-ENGRAVED MAPS, all inserted on guards. 16th-century title printed in red. (Western windhead on world map just shaved, small chip from fore-margin of Italy map, a few other small holes, some dampstaining in upper fore-margins at end and marginally throughout, intermittent wormhole in top fore-edge margins affecting six maps, occasionally repaired but not affecting text or images, a few other minor marginal stains or repairs.) 18th-century vellum, green morocco lettering-piece. Provenance: Francisci Amadi (16th-century signature on later title partially effaced and on register leaf); Marquess of Bute (sold Sotheby's London, 16 October 1961, lot 661); Otto Schäfer (sold Sotheby's New York, 8 December 1994, lot 25).


Most significant in this edition are the "modern maps" of Spain, France, Italy and Palestine, appearing hear for the first time as copper engravings, just prior to their appearance as woodcuts in the Ulm edition of the same year. Berlinghieri's terza rima text is an adaptation of Ptolemy's Cosmographia and adds contemporary writers. Also added are other sources, both mythological, geographical and cartographical, with parts derived from Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Flavio Bondo, Pliny and Guido of Ravenna. These are the only examples of Ptolemy's maps printed on the original Ptolemaic projection of equidistant parallels and meridians, and the first to provide gazetteers for the individual maps.

Like most copies, the present belongs to the second issue, with the red-printed title added to the previously blank recto of the original title-leaf. This new text was probably printed within the first two decades of the sixteenth-century and could not have been done by Laurentii, whose last printed work was completed in June 1486. BMC calls the new gothic and roman types "certainly later than 1500." The second issue also includes a register and colophon.

Berlinghieri was born in Florence into a family with over 200 years of involvement in Florentine politics. He served in a variety of governmental offices including as Prior of the Signoria and Conservator of Laws. In 1479 he was appointed Florentine ambassador at the Gonzaga court in Mantua. He later found employment in Florence in the court of Lorenzo de' Medici and took part in the Platonic Academy, founded by Marsilio Ficino. Berlinghieri provided financial support to Ficino during the latter's translation of Plato's works into Latin. He began his work on the present book in 1464. The book was originally to be dedicated to the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. When the sultan died in 1481, Berlinghieri dedicated it to Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino. Unfortunately, the duke died before the final edition was printed.

The 31 maps comprise the normal compliment of Ptolemaic maps (world map, 10 of Europe, 4 of Africa, 12 of Asia) plus the four new maps throught to be based on the work of Pietro del Massaio of Florence: Novella Italia, Hispania novella, Gallia novella and Palestina moderna et Terra Sancta. The copper-plates have been attributed to Francesco Roselli, an engraver active in Florence, but the actual identity remains unresolved. Goff B-342; H 2825*; GW 3870; BMC VI 629; IGI 1492; Sander 927; The World Encompassed 39; Campbell pp.133-35; Shirley 9; Nordenskiöld 3; Stillwell Science 147; Sabin 66501; Arnim 40. Facsimile edition ed. By R.A. Skelton, Amsterdam, 1966.

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