Navigational Map of Mediterranean Sea

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale

Alternate Titles:

Giacomo Maggiolo, Carta Nautica del Bacino del Mediterraneo

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Alternate Titles

Giacomo Maggiolo, Carta Nautica del Bacino del Mediterraneo

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The Mediterranean Sea at the center between Africa, Asia, and Europe was already always an object of fascination, and not only for the people who lived there. During the age of exploration across the wide world, new continents and sea-lanes to foreign cultures preserved the status of the Mediterranean as the center of trade and culture in the 16th century. This appreciation is expressed through the numerous maps that deal with the geography of the Mediterranean, including this gem of the Italian cartography from that period.

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Navigational Map of the Mediterranean Sea

Giacomo Maggiolo (aka Jacobus de Maiolo), the creator of this impressive map of the Mediterranean, originated from one of the most famous families of cartographers in Genoa. The Maggiolo family supplied the famous seafaring Republic of Genoa with maps for navigation – an important resource for maritime shipping. Giacomo Maggiolo was the son of the famous cartographer Maggiolo Vesconte, who in Genoa was named the "Maestro della carte da navigare" by Ottaviano Fregso.

A Highly Praised Cartographer

Giacomo Maggiolo was famous for the excellent decoration of his maps, which are additionally very carefully worked by him. The Navigational Map of the Mediterranean Sea, originating in the year 1561, presents itself as an outstanding specimen of his art. Luminously colored, the map from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome gives a comprehensive image of the Mediterranean region on a piece of parchment measuring 64 x 83 cm. The map was originally in the possession of Marina Medicea dell'Ordine di S. Stefano.

Kings in the North, Nomad Tents in the South

The figure of the Madonna with child stands as protection for the seafarers over the geographical representation. A detailed picture of the Mediterranean unfolds next to it, which is expanded to the coasts of the Atlantic from Cape Finisterre to Rio de Oro, to the Black Sea, and even a part of the Red Sea. Numerous tightly spaced labels along the coasts designate the regions depicted. Aside from that, large and important cities were depicted along with the most important rulers in small pictures. Finally, three large colorful tents in Africa give an indication of the local nomadism.

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