THE HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA
THEIR ORIGIN AND CHARACTERISTICS
WITH A DESCRIPTIVE LIST OF THOSE BELONGING TO
THE HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA
EDWARD LUTHER STEVENSON, PH.D.
THE HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Ube ftnicfeetbocfter press, Hew fl?orft
PORTOLAN CHARTS 1
DESCRIPTIVE LIST OF CHARTS AND ATLASES IN THE COLLECTION OF
THE HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA:
1. GIACOMO GIROLDI, EARLY 15TH CENTURY 32
2. PETRUS ROSELLI, 1468 33
3. NICOLAUS DE NICOLO, 1470 35
4. ANONYMOUS. LATE 15TH CENTURY 35
5. VESCONTE DE MAIOLO, 1512 36
6. CONDE HOCTOM ANNO FREDUCCI, 1524 38
7. CONTE DE OTHOMANO FREDUCCI, ATLAS OF FIVE CHARTS,
8. ANONYMOUS, EARLY 16TH CENTURY 41
9. ANONYMOUS, EARLY 16TH CENTURY 42
10. ANONYMOUS, ATLAS OF THREE CHARTS, EARLY 16TH CEN-
11. BAPTISTA AGNESE, ATLAS OF FOURTEEN CHARTS, EARLY 15TH
12. BARTOLOMEO OLIVO, AFTER 1550 50
13. HIERONYMO GIRIVA, AFTER 1550 51
14. BARTOLOMEO OLIVES, 1552 52
15. GIOVANNI MARTINES, ATLAS OF SEVEN CHARTS, AFTER 1560. .53
16. JAUME OLIVES, ATLAS OF SIX CHARTS, 1563 55
17. JAUME OLIVES, 1566 56
18. GIOVANNI MARTINES, ATLAS OF FIVE CHARTS, 1582 58
19. ANONYMOUS, ATLAS OF FOUR CHARTS, LATE 16TH CENTURY. .59
20. DOMINICUS DE VILLARROEL, ATLAS OF SEVEN CHARTS, 1590
21. vincentius prunes, 1597 64
22. anonymous, atlas of three charts, second half of
16th century 65"
23. anonymous, atlas of three charts, late 16th century 66
24. anonymous, 16th century 67
25. anonymous, late 16th century 68
26. vincentius demetrius volcius, 1600 68
27. maiolo e visconte, 1605 69
28. joannes oliva, early 17th century 70
29. placitus calviro et oliva, early 17th century 71
30. anonymous, early 17th century 72
31. JOUAN BATTISTA CAVALLINI, 1637 74
32. GEORG. ANDREA BOCKLER, ATLAS OF FOUR CHARTS, 1650 75
GIOVANNI MARTINES, AFTER 1560. CHART ONE OF ATLAS . . Frontispiece
PETRUS ROSELLI, 1468 6
VESCONTE DE MAIOLO, 1512 12
CONTE DE OTHOMANO FREDUCCI, 1537. CHART TWO OF ATLAS 16
BAPTISTA AGNESE, EARLY 16TH CENTURY. CHART TWO OF ATLAS. .22
BARTOLOMEO OLIVO, AFTER 1550 32
BARTOLOMEO OLIVES, 1552 40
JAUME OLIVES, 1563. CHART THREE OF ATLAS 50
JAUME OLIVES, 1566 .54
GIOVANNI MARTINES, 1582. CHART ONE OF ATLAS 58
GIOVANNI MARTINES, 1582. CHART TWO OF ATLAS 60
GIOVANNI MARTINES, 1582. CHART THREE OF ATLAS 62
DOMINICUS DE VALLARROEL, CIRCA 1590. CHART THREE OF ATLAS. .66
ANONYMOUS, SECOND HALF OF 16TH CENTURY. CHART TWO OF
GEORG. ANDREAS BOCKLER, 1650. CHART TWO OF ATLAS 74
AMONG the geographical records of earlier centuries
which have come down to us, none are more in-
teresting than the portolan charts which were
drawn during the years fittingly designated the period
of great geographical discoveries. They attract and hold
the attention by reason of their artistic features, as well
as by their remarkable approach to scientific accuracy for
so early a period.
To the cloister maps of the middle ages they present
a marked contrast. The former strikingly exhibit the in-
fluence of ecclesiastical and classical tradition. In general,
they are far from truthful in their presentation of the geo-
graphical features of the earth. Though highly interesting
as reflecting geographical notions of the time in which they
were drawn, they possess little value as scientific maps.
Portolan charts are based upon careful and what may
be called scientific observations. It is only in recent times
that there has been an improvement in the charting of
the region to which most of them pertain, that is, the
Mediterranean and the Atlantic coast in varying extent
to the north and the south of Gibraltar. They too ex-
hibit the geographical interests of the period to which
they belong. They are the creations of seamen, navi-
gators, explorers, chart-makers who were leaders in the
expansion of geographical knowledge which opened the
New World region of Africa, of India, and of America.
This brief word concerning the origin, character, and
general significance of portolan charts, the first modern
scientific maps, is presented as an introduction to a de-
scriptive list of the numerous originals belonging to The
Hispanic Society of America. An inquiry into the his-
tory of portolan charts which have been preserved to
our day leads immediately to a query concerning their
origin. None of those extant are known to have been
drawn prior to the year 1300, and the oldest example
bearing date and signature is that of Pietro Visconte
of the year 1311. Nordenskiold thinks that the normal
portolan chart, as he chooses to call it, that is, the one
which served as a sort of original pattern, must have
been constructed sometime during the thirteenth century,
from numerous coast sketches such, for example, as
those which may be found in a cosmographic poem by
Leonardo Dati, bearing the title La sfera. The argu-
ments in support of the assumption seem reasonable, yet
the fact remains that no dated portolan chart of that
century, as has been stated above, is known; neither are
such sketches known as those to which Nordenskiold re-
fers, antedating the fourteenth century. An interesting
record, however, is that to be found in a work by Guil-
laume de Nangis describing the crusade of King Louis
IX. in 1270, noting that the King's ships had sea charts
on board. In the voyage from Aiguesmortes to Cag-
liari, the port selected for the rendezvous of the ships
making up the expedition, they were overtaken by a
storm, and at the end of the sixth day, as Cagliari had
not yet been reached, the King expressed a wish to know
the exact location of his ship. The pilots, we are told,
brought to him their charts, and showed to him that the
port was not far distant.
Theobald Fischer has advanced the theory that porto-
lan charts have a Byzantine origin, and Fiorini holds
that Italian navigators, not long after 1000 a. d., learned
from the Greeks of Constantinople how to make and
how to use charts which were founded on drawings and
measurements, and that in succeeding years they grad-
ually improved them. Again the fact confronts us that
no portolan chart of Byzantine or Greek origin is known,
nor is the evidence of such eastern influence traceable
in existing charts.
The first thousand years and more of the Christian
era have left us none of the sailors' charts which may
have been employed during those centuries.
Ptolemy alone of the ancient writers alludes to the
charts of seamen, and one might conclude from his refer-
ences that such as he had in mind were not unlike the
portolan charts which we have here under consideration.
But all these too are lost.
As there appears to be a relationship existing between
the ancient periplus, the Italian portolan, and the porto-
lan chart of the period of discovery, which chart at first
was doubtless regarded as a very useful addition to the
portolan, coming in time to supplant it as the know-
ledge of seamanship expanded, a more extended refer-
ence to the character of the periplus and of the portolan
will fittingly introduce us to the portolan chart.
The Greeks used the word nspinXovs to designate a
course or harbor book, literally a sailing around, a cir-
cumnavigation. It was not applied to a sea chart or to
a collection of sea charts. The Italian word portolanOj
while not precisely synonymous, has a meaning strik-
ingly similar to this Greek word, as has also the English
word rutter, the Portuguese roteiro and the French
routier. The term portolan should not be employed, as
has so frequently been done, to designate the charts
which especially interest us here; on the contrary, they
should be called portolan charts, and this rather than
loxodrome or compass charts, as will appear later.
We have no information that the seamen of antiquity
were in possession of instruments by which to direct their
courses in the open sea. The sun and stars might guide
in cloudless weather, but a cloudy sky brought terror to
the sailor who had ventured upon a course which led
beyond the horizon of known coast lines. Coasting was
with the ancient mariners the more common practice, and
more useful to them than a seafarer's chart, which might
be employed in navigating from port to port across a
trackless and unknown sea, would be a written descrip-
tion of the seas over which they were prepared to travel
and the coasts they had to visit, a description of the
harbors, the shoals, the currents, the winds, and the
facility for anchorage.
Of coastwise navigation in antiquity a few accounts
have been preserved to us. The story of Nearchus' voy-
age from the mouth of the Indus to the Euphrates, in
the time of Alexander the Great, is the story of an
expedition which was regarded as one of great daring,
and worthy the highest praise, but many of the incidents
of the expedition show how meagre at that time was the
knowledge of real seamanship. The apostle Paul's jour-
ney from Csesarea to Rome was in large part a coastwise
journey, and its incidents vividly set forth the dangers
and hardships of early navigation. One wonders that
so long a time was required for the expedition of the
Emperor Justinian to pass from Constantinople to the
north coast of Africa, but this expedition, requiring
three months, was not directed over the shortest course;
instead it too was a coastwise journey, in so far as was
possible, leading among the islands of the iEgean, along
the coast of Laconia, to Sicily, to Malta, thence across
the open sea to Tunis. In each of the expeditions re-
ferred to, the periplus must have been the pilot's guide-
book rather than the chart.
It is generally accepted that the oldest known peri-
plus is that ascribed to Scylax of Caryanda. Neither
the exact year nor the exact century can with certainty
be given as the time of its composition. Herodotus re-
lates in Book IV., chapter xliv., of his History, that
" the greater part of Asia was explored by Darius, for
he wanted to know where the river Indus, the second of
all rivers in which crocodiles are found, flows into the
sea, and to this end he sent out several trustworthy men,
among them Scylax of Caryanda." We cannot, how-
ever, be certain that the Scylax here referred to is
the author of the periplus. Some of the records, con-
tained in this periplus relate to geographical facts
which belong to a time later than that of King Darius,
while others in it allude to an earlier day. To all
appearances, the greater part of it must have been writ-
ten shortly before the time of Alexander the Great,
and from the standpoint of Macedonia or Greece, seeing,
as Kretschmer has noted, the author refers to a road
from Corinth on the west coast over the isthmus to " our
sea " as forty stadia in length. It includes the entire
circuit of the Mediterranean, with a few omissions, be-
ginning at the Pillars of Hercules on the European
coast, tracing this coast eastward to the Tanais, thence
around Asia Minor and the Levant to Egypt, Libya,
and the African coast to a point opposite that of de-
parture, and terminating at the island of Cerne, which
island, it is stated, is twelve days' coasting beyond the
Pillars of Hercules where the " parts are no longer
navigable because of shoals, of mud, and of seaweed."
The information given is confined to the immediate coast
regions with attention directed to the physical features
of the land, to the peoples, the rivers emptying into the
sea, to the harbors, headlands, and shoals, with an occa-
sional reference to inland cities in close touch with the
coast. The distance from port to port is given, it being
stated at the conclusion of his reference to the European
coast that one hundred and fifty-three days are needed
for a coastwise journey from west to east, and that five
hundred stadia might be recorded as a day's sail.
The following quotations will serve to indicate the
character of this periplus, which is not a document of
great literary worth, though it has a unique value for
the history of geography:
" I shall begin," says the author, " at the Pillars of
Hercules in Europe, and shall continue to the Pillars
of Hercules in Libya, and to the land of the great
Ethiopians. The Pillars of Hercules stand opposite to
each other, and the distance between them is one day's
sail. Not far distant lie two islands by name Gadeira.
On one of these is a city which is distant one day's
sail. Beyond the Pillars of Hercules which are in Europe,
there are many trading stations of the Carthaginians,
also mud, and tides, and open seas." He notes that the
Iberians are the first peoples to be met with in Europe,
and refers to a Greek town which is called " Emporium,"
adding that " its inhabitants are colonists who came from
the city of Massilia." " Seven days and seven nights
are necessary for coasting along the country of the
Iberians." Referring to the Ligurians, it is noted that
they are to be found " beyond the river Rhone as far
as Antium. Here lies the Greek city and port Massilia,
also the colonies of Massilia, Taurnois, Olbia, and An-
tium. It requires four days and four nights of coasting
from the river Rhone to Antium. The entire region
from the Pillars of Hercules to Antium is very rich
in harbors." Concerning Libya, it is stated that it lies
beyond the Conopic mouth of the Nile. " The first peo-
ples to be met with are the Adyrmachidge. From Thonis
the journey to Pharos, which is a desert island, is 150
stadia. In Pharos, there are many harbors, but the
ships get drinkable water at Marian. From Pharos to
this port is a short sail. Here is also a peninsula and
a harbor. To this point is 200 stadia. Beyond lies the
Bay of Plinthine. From the mouth of the Bay of Plin-
thine to Leuce Acte requires a sail of one day and one
night, but if you should sail around the head of the bay
twice as much time would be required. One next comes
to the city of Apis, and as far as this point the country
is governed by the Egyptians." In this wise the entire
Mediterranean coast region, with minor omissions, is fol-
lowed with attention directed to the time required in
day and night sailing to pass a designated territory, to
the inhabitants of the regions passed, to the towns, espe-
cially those of Greek origin, to the geographical features,
with an occasional reference to the manners and customs
of the peoples. If a chart accompanied the periplus of
Scylax, there is left to us no knowledge of it.
In addition to this oldest and most elaborate of all
known periploi, certain early descriptions of limited
regions have been preserved, as the periplus of the Black
Sea by Arrian, who at one time was a prefect of Cappa-
docia. His description is given in a letter to the Emperor
Hadrian. It could hardly have been intended as a pilot's
guide-book, though it contains valuable information for
those who had occasion to navigate the Black Sea coasts.
To the above may be added a fragment by Marcian,
probably of the fifth century of the Christian era, which
includes a part of the Asia Minor coast, and an anony-
mous periplus of the Black Sea valuable for its record
of distances not only in stadia, but also in Roman
Among those interested in the preparation of charts
and sailing directions for seamen, a place of importance
is held by Marinus of Tyre. Strangely enough, our
knowledge of him and his work is confined to what we
may gather from the works of Ptolemy, who lived in
the second century of the Christian era. In chapters
vi-xx of Ptolemy's geography, Marinus' contributions
in this field are critically treated, and from what is
there stated, we are justified in inferring that he had
carefully examined numerous itineraries and accounts of
voyages, that he had prepared a chart to include the
regions he described, and that he gave particular at-
tention to the coasts in his work, which was primarily
intended for navigators. Ptolemy tells us that in his
own work he improved upon that of Marinus, although
he gives to the Tyrian full credit for what he had done.
We probably have in some of the Ptolemy maps the rep-
resentations of Marinus. There is reason for believing
that there were marine charts passing under the name
of Marinus of Tyre, in the second century of the Chris-
tian era, which charts were in use by the pilots of the
Mediterranean, the Black, and the Red seas, though such
charts seem to have disappeared shortly thereafter.
The Greek periploi were probably employed through-
out the Roman period, since in Latin literature no
reference is found to original sailing directions for
A periplus, not second in importance to that of
Scylax, and perhaps nearly eight hundred years later,
is the so-called Byzantine Stadiasmos. Neither the date
when originally written, nor the author is known. It is
preserved to us only in part in a manuscript of the tenth
century, belonging to the Royal Library of Spain, and
once the property of Constantine Laskaris, who, after the
middle of the fifteenth century, fled from Constantinople
on the coming of the Turk. It has been assigned to
the fourth or the fifth century, but internal evidence
seems clearly to show that in the form in which it has
come down to us there are additions and alterations of
later date. The author gives us to understand that it
was constructed on the written and the verbal reports
of navigators, and that he had set out to present a very
exact periplus of " The Great Sea," including a state-
ment of distances from port to port, from island to
island, how best to approach them or to direct the course
in passing them. It distinguishes between harbors and
mere places of anchorage; it indicates whether a port
designated is suitable for large or for small vessels, and
occasionally states what notice should be taken of the
winds in making an approach. Often the details are
minute in describing the physical features of certain
harbors and coasts, in giving information concerning
localities where potable water may be obtained, in point-
ing out the several important landmarks, such as temples,
castles, or other buildings, sand hills, rocks, small islands,
headlands, or forests, with an occasional warning that
great care should be exercised in navigating certain
waters. Apparently it included in its original form the
entire Mediterranean and Black Seas. Starting at
Alexandria, which city therefore is suggested as the
home of the author, it followed the coast to the Pillars
of Hercules in Africa, then from the same starting point
to eastward, continuing to the Pillars of Hercules in
It is especially interesting to find that instead of
limiting the periplus to a continuous description of the
coast of the mainland, a periplus of many of the islands
is given, notably of Cyprus and Crete, with which de-
scriptions the Stadiasmos is concluded. Numerous direc-
tions are given for sailing from island to island, or from
mainland to island, that is, for crossing the sea diagon-
ally; also for sailing in various directions from certain
points, as from Rhodes in no less than twenty-five
directions, or from Delos in sixteen directions.
Such statements as the last suggest a possible ex-
planation for the introduction of crossing points as they
appear later on the portolan charts, though on these
charts the radiating points, it is true, have not generally
been placed at conspicuous ports, but appear rather to
have been inscribed regardless of any particularly im-
portant geographical centres.
The Stadiasmos is an exceedingly valuable record for
the study of the historical geography of the coast regions
covered and may well be considered the most important
document known, linking in a sense the older Greek
periploi with the later Italian portolans.
A brief extract will serve further to indicate its
character. " 1. Sailing westward from Alexandria to
Chersonesus is 70 stadia. Here is a harbor for small
vessels. . . . 13. From Phenicus to Hermsea is 90
stadia; anchor here with the cape on your right. There
is water here in a tower. 14. It is 20 stadia from
Hermaea to Leuce Acte; nearby is a low island which
is distant two stadia from the land. Boats carrying
merchandise can anchor here, entering by the west wind,
but near the shore below the promontory there is a wide
roadstead for vessels of all kinds. Here is a temple of
Apollo, a famous oracle. Near the temple there is
In the periplus of Cyprus, which is a part of the
Stadiasmos, we find, for example : " 297. Acamas to
Paphos, with Cyprus on the left, is 300 stadia. The city
is located toward the south. It has three harbors which
are accessible with all winds, and a temple of Aphro-
dite. . . . 304. From Pedalium to the islands is 80
stadia. Here is a deserted town called Ammochostus;
it has a harbor, and may be approached by all winds,
but there are low rocks at the entrance. Enter with
care ! "
In the directions for the circumnavigation of Crete,
we find such information as the following: " 336. From
Biennon to Phalassarna is 160 stadia. Here is an an-
chorage, a market-place, and an old city. The island
Insagura is distant 60 stadia towards the east. It has
a harbor and near the harbor a temple of Apollo. Here
is also another island at a distance of 3 stadia, called
Mese; it has an anchorage. The third island is called
Myle. The channel is deep. It has a market-place."
If to the above periploi of the Mediterranean we
add the account of the expedition of Hanno of 465 b. c.
along the coast of Africa, perhaps as far as Sierra Leone,
which account contains much information of interest, not
unlike in character that given by the periplus of Scylax,
and the Ora Maritima of Avienus, describing in like
manner the Atlantic coast of West Europe, we have
practically all in the way of directions for seamen that
is preserved from antiquity.
The middle ages having little or nothing of value
to present a few scattered extracts from earlier writers,
a few maps of no special value to navigators, we may,
therefore, pass directly to a word concerning the Italian
The Italian portolan, as has been stated, resembles
the Greek periplus in style and composition. This sug-
gests that these later sailing directions are a development
from the former. Such a relationship, however, is not
at all easy to establish, since no example is known clearly
representing the transition. There is, moreover, in the
Italian portolan that which gives it the appearance of
a new and an independent production. Very many of
the places along the coasts have names other than those
in the early periploi; a large number of new names
appear; many of the old ones are omitted, which fact
suggests that places once known as important had ceased
to be so considered; distances are given in miles instead
of stadia, and direction is usually recorded.
The number of portolans known antedating 1500 is
not large. In all there are about sixteen, some of these
being mere fragments, others are very nearly complete
for the regions under consideration, and most of them
are in manuscript. Those coasts may be said to be in-
cluded in the Italian portolans which Italian traders were
accustomed to visit, that is, the coasts and islands of the
* ' &
Mediterranean, the Atlantic coast of Europe as far as
Flanders, the south coast of England and Ireland, with
the Atlantic coast of Africa to the vicinity of Cape
Bojador, including the Canary Islands. It is interest-
ing to note that these are the coasts included in the
great majority of the portolan charts, with additions, as
geographical knowledge expanded, until they became in
some instances world charts.
The latest Greek periplus of importance the Sta-
diasmos is of the fourth or fifth century; the oldest of
the mediaeval portolans is of the eleventh century, and
is to be found in the Ecclesiastical History of Adam of
Bremen, being rather an imperfect sketch of the coast
from the mouth of the Maas River to Acre in Pales-
tine. The text of this portolan, together with the text
of the others known, may be found in a critical work
by Kretschmer, Die italienischen Portolane des Mittel-
alters, pp. 233-552.
The following somewhat free translation of passages
contained in the Parma-Magliabecchi portolan of the
early fifteenth century will serve to illustrate the char-
acter of these Italian harbor books prepared for seamen.
" 45. From Carminar to Cartagena is 20 miles
northeast by east. Cartagena is a good port at all
seasons, before which port there are islands a mile dis-
tant. You may pass between any of these islands and
the mainland which forms a point. As you enter the
port, beware of shoals. Sail close to the middle of the
channel, but towards the northeastern shore, where you
may anchor. Beware of sailing too close to a shoal
recently discovered on the east side. Enter the port,
keeping the mainland about two prows' lengths distant,
where you have six and six and a half fathoms of
water. About the year 1445, it is said, a ship was
wrecked here during a calm, though the vessel did not
strike a rock. The landmark of Cartagena is a high
bald mountain on the east. On the west lies another
mountain. Between is the entrance to Cartagena. Near
the entrance lies an island, and you may pass between
this and the mainland. Passing the island, you enter
deep water, and a good anchoring-place."
" 54. From Sallo to Barcelona is 60 miles east-north-
east, quarter east. Barcelona is a city with a shore
which lies toward the east having a roadstead with a
depth of 22 paces, in front of the city. On the south-
east by south of Barcelona is a low place called Lobri-
gato. In departing, steer to the east from the shore,
taking notice of a castle which rises from a depression
leading toward Sallo.
The landmark of Barcelona is a high, abrupt, and
isolated mountain called Monserrate. When you are
northeast of this, continue in that direction, and you will
observe a low mountain with a tower on it called Mongich
(Montguich) . Here is Barcelona."
" 56. From San Filio to Palamosa is 10 miles
east-northeast, quarter east. Palamosa is a good port
facing a tower where you may anchor. In case you
come from the east, take care of a shoal that is close to
the point. From Palamosa to the anchoring-place of
Acqua Fredda, 12 miles east-northeast, quarter east.
Do not approach nearer the land than one and a
half miles by the beacon. The landmark of this bay is
a high mountain, bald and cut sheer to the sea, with
islands in the distance."
It may be noted that the portolans make their ap-
pearance with the awakening of the commercial activities
in the coast cities of Europe, notably in the Italian
cities, about the tenth or eleventh century, and that for
a period of two or three centuries, they served the
mariners as a necessary guide in navigation, just as did
the periploi in the earlier day. But the quickened com-
mercial activities, coupled with the discovery and use of
the compass, were calculated to lead to a speedy sub-
stitution of the chart for the portolan, and portolan
charts make their first appearance in what it seems
proper to call a very advanced state of development in
the years of transition from the thirteenth to the four-
teenth century. The stages and the processes of that
development we do not know with certainty. We may,
however, rest assured that there is a very close relation-
ship between the compass and the portolan chart, as
such charts multiply very rapidly in the years following
the application of the compass to navigation, but we
cannot be quite sure that they owe their origin to the
use of the compass. It seems, therefore, not appropri-
ate to call these charts compass charts as has often been
done, if thereby we mean to imply that they are based
fundamentally on information acquired through the use of
the compass. Though the crossing lines may indicate
sailing directions, they have not the real character of loxo-
dromes, since they were not constructed on those scien-
tific principles which enter into real loxodrome charts,
and furthermore it may well be doubted that the earliest
charts of this character were furnished with crossing
lines. The term loxodrome chart is likewise not con-
clusively an appropriate name for them. We may say,
in short, that we find in them some of the elements of
the simple loxodrome chart, that is, one crossed with
lines running from port to port to indicate sailing direc-
tions; the elements of a compass chart in which the
compass has played a part in determining location and
direction; the elements of the ancient periplus the old-
est known pilot-book for navigators; the elements of the
mediaeval portolan, which is a more elaborate descrip-
tion than is the former of coasts and harbors and sailing
directions; and that we find in the portolan the chief
corner-stone on which rest the charts here under consid-
eration hence we may very appropriately call them
portolan charts. It may be further stated by way of
explanation that Carta nautica is the term which is gen-
erally employed by Italian scholars in referring to these
charts. With them the word portolano signifies only a
coast or harbor-book. The chart-makers themselves, in
referring to their work, most frequently used the word
carta. On the oldest dated portolan chart, we find the
legend " Petrus Vesconte de janua fecit ista carta anno
domini MCCCXI," and in a legend on the first chart
of his atlas of 1313, we find the word tabulas employed.
In a chart dated 1605, Maiolo uses the term carta
nauticatoria. Occasionally the word employed by a
chart-maker to refer to his work is merely the personal
pronoun, as " Vicentius Prunes in civis Majoricarum
me fecit anno 1597."
Portolan charts have been preserved in very large
number, of which number near one hundred antedate 1500.
In the sixteenth century unaltered in their fundamental
character but more highly decorated than those of the
fourteenth century, and having additional details, they
become far more numerous. With a few exceptions, they
are the work of Italian and Catalan chart-makers, a fact
which is especially true of the earlier examples. Herein
is a most significant witness of the leadership exercised
7. CONTE DE OTHOMANO FREDUCCI, 1537 CHART TWO OF ATLAS.
by the seamen of the Italian and of the eastern Iberian
Peninsula; a leadership held for near half a millennium,
beginning as early as the eleventh century, and continu-
ing until America had been discovered, Africa had been
circumnavigated, and the water route to the Indies had
been made known.
In general they are drawn on parchment, as has been
stated above, that is, on sheep skin, goat skin, or calf
skin, but in time paper came to be used, after which
the number of charts of this general character, with addi-
tions of numerous details for the interior regions, was
greatly increased by means of the printing-press.
They are preserved in two forms, either in single
sheets, or in sheets bound together, as an atlas, and these
atlases, in a few instances, contain as many as twenty
or twenty-five charts. In size the sheets vary from
11 x 15 cm. in the very remarkable charts of the
Tammar Loxoro atlas of the fourteenth century to 70 x
148 cm., the size of the large single sheet chart drawn
by Pareto in the fifteenth century. The larger world
charts, as the Canerio, were drawn on two or more
parchment sheets, which were securely joined together.
In the case of the single sheet charts, the size, it seems,
was most often determined by the size of the skin on
which it was drawn, it being true in most cases that the
entire skin was used, even the neck being retained, which
fact accounts for the peculiar and apparently unneces-
sary extension of the sheet usually on the left. In the
portolan atlases, the several leaves were often made of
two sheets or skins pasted together on the rougher sur-
face, leaving the smoother surface for the drawing, which
surface received the colors to much better advantage.
These charts, as before stated, include in general the
regions which are referred to in the portolans. The
single sheet charts embrace the Mediterranean, and
the Atlantic coast of Europe which terminates in the
north either at Cape Finisterre or the Scandinavian
Peninsula, with a part of the Baltic Sea and the British
islands. In the east they include the Black Sea, in the
south a part of the Red Sea and the north coast of
Africa, with the Atlantic coast of this continent to a
point near Cape Bojador.
In the atlases the Mediterranean is usually divided
into three sections with one chart for each; one chart
includes the Black Sea, and one or two set forth the
Atlantic coast regions.
If additional charts were added they usually included
a world chart, one or two for the African coasts, one
perhaps for the British islands, one for the Baltic, and
one or more for the southern Asiatic coasts. A superior
example of an enlarged though early portolan atlas is
that recently issued by The Hispanic Society of America
in facsimile, being a reproduction of a British Museum
manuscript, and edited by the author of this monograph.
Portolan charts are projectionless, that is, they do
not appear to have been drawn according to mathematical
principles or rules, though they were probably based upon
measurements and careful calculation. Their striking
approach to accuracy, especially for the Mediterranean
region, is, as before stated, one of their most remarkable
features. No two are alike, and yet they have so many
features in common that it appears they are copies of
a common original, or that there has been a conscious
imitation by each chart-maker as he has set himself to
his task of chart-making.
It is well established that most Roman maps were
oriented with the south at the top, an arrangement which
is to be met with in the majority of Arabic maps. Maps
of the early mediaeval centuries have the east at the top,
and on the uppermost border a representation of the
earthly paradise, as if to give this prominence, it being
perhaps the chief factor in determining the orientation.
Portolan charts, with rare exception, are oriented with
the north at the top, an idea which has since prevailed
in all map construction. Herein one seems to find
evidence of the influence of the compass in chart
A critical examination will show that in the draught-
ing the chart is turned slightly to the left, the amount
being near one point of the compass. As a result of
this, geographical localities, on the right of the chart
for example, are placed relatively too far to the north.
Although there is in this fact the suggestion that the com-
pass had been employed in their construction, or in
making the observations on which they are based, and
that the declination of the needle had exerted an influ-
ence, it may be noted that an acceptable argument has
been advanced showing that Constantinople on maps
since the time of Ptolemy had been placed too far north
by at least two degrees. It appears, therefore, that the
error in part is one handed down from an early day.
The existence of the error will be readily seen on a
critical examination of the location of any selected point
in the eastern Mediterranean. 1 As to the length of the
Mediterranean from east to west, the near approach to
accuracy is also most striking. The error in very many
of the sixteenth-century maps, traceable to Ptolemy, and
appearing on his maps, is nearly twenty degrees, whereas
1 Vid. Reproduction No. 22 for an exception.
on the portolan charts the error seldom exceeds one
Into a critical consideration of the problems of scale
and distance as represented in portolan charts, we shall
not be able to enter in this brief description. It is in-
teresting, however, to note in this place that the same
scale does not appear to have been employed for the?
Atlantic coast that was employed for the Mediterranean.
Though this fact is not always strikingly prominent, yet
it is clearly indicated in a large number of the charts. 1
Herein we may find an explanation for the frequent dis-
tortion of the coast regions lying beyond the Straits of
Gibraltar, and for the fact that the extension of Europe
in latitude is greatly reduced. It may further be noted,
as a partial explanation of some of the portolan chart-
makers' errors, that it is physically impossible to represent
on a plain surface correct distances, retaining at the same
time correct latitude and longitude.
A scale of miles divided into fifths or tenths is usu-
ally drawn on these charts, often in as many as four
or five different places, and frequently on charts of later
years in a very elaborate cartouche. It is often very evi-
dent that the drafting of such a scale was not done with
careful attention to accuracy. Uzielli is of the opinion
that it was the Roman mile of 1481 m. which was gen-
erally taken as the unit of measurement.
Prior to 1500, degrees of latitude and longitude were
seldom if ever indicated on portolan charts, and it may
be noted that degrees of latitude are first to be met with
on the marine chart of Canerio, recently issued by the
author of this paper in size of the original.
A feature of these charts, never failing to attract, is
1 Vid. Reproduction No. 20.
the network of lines with which they are crossed. Though
in some instances, a large number of these lines appear
to have been drawn as mere fancy directed, it will gen-
erally be found that they are arranged according to a
carefully devised scheme, and that the lines, usually
thirty-two in number, radiate from a number of crossing
points, systematically distributed over the chart. The
number of crossing points is not always found to be
the same, this being frequently determined by the size of
the sheet. On portolan charts there will usually be
found a central point of radiation about which, in a
circle, whose diameter is very nearly the width of the
sheet, eight or sixteen other crossing points are repre-
sented, each of which is connected with the centre and
usually with every other indicated point. On the larger
sheets, additional crossing points appear, which points,
it will be observed, also fall into a well-arranged system.
There was no attempt at a special ornamentation of these
crossing points in the earlier charts, but with the pass-
ing years, we find now one, now more, especially designed
figures for them: wind roses or compass roses these have
been called. It is in part due to the peculiar design of
these roses that the name compass chart first came into
use. While the ornamentation is not always clearly that
resembling the compass card, it frequently is such, hav-
ing that point which is directed to the sidereal or true north
extended as if to represent the magnetic needle, but this
extension, it will be noted, never indicates the needle's
declination. Not until 1532 do we find a printed chart
on which the variation of the compass is represented, this
being on Ziegler's map of Palestine, and not until 1595
is this declination represented on a marine chart. It is
not infrequent that these ornaments are a most striking
feature of portolan charts, though adding little to their
The suggestion has been made that the crossing lines
were originally intended as construction lines, being laid
down by the draftsman to guide him in sketching his
coasts and in locating his places of special geographical
interest, but so few are the instances which might be
cited in support of the theory, that one is safe in
asserting it to have been the rule with chart-makers
to insert the lines after their charts had been
In the ancient day, it was a common practice with
those who had occasion to refer to such matters, to de-
signate each quarter of the heavens by the wind which
blew from that quarter. The north was Boreas, the west
was Zephyrus, and the number of winds, that is, direc-
tions, at first limited to four, was increased in time to
eight, then to sixteen. The Italian chart-makers, in
general, referred to the winds as eight in number, often
representing them on their charts in the wind or compass
roses by the first or initial letter of the name. These
eight winds were Tramontana, the north, represented by
the needle point = , the northeast Greco = G, the east
Levante, represented by the Greek cross = HK the south-
east Scirocco == S, the south Ostro == O, the southwest
Libeccio = L, the west Ponente = P, the northwest
Maestro = M. 1 We find herein a suggestion that the
crossing lines were originally intended to represent the
direction of the winds, that is, direction. In time, with
the more general use of the compass, the older practice
yielded to the newer practice with seamen and direction
came to be referred to in terms of compass points rather
1 Vid. Reproduction No. 12 for an excellent illustration.
than in the names of the winds, as for example, North,
N by E, NNE, NE by N.
The information as to geographical details which is
contained in portolan charts, though not extensive, is of
much historical interest. It will be observed that the
coast lines, in general, have been sketched with care, and
usually are continuous, broken only where rivers are
represented as emptying into the sea. Bays and head-
lands, if not accurately inscribed, show that the chart-
maker must have had before him information which had
been intelligently collected. In some instances, the coast
appears as a succession of short curved lines, the result of
which is to add a feature of ruggedness. Legends are not
inscribed directing attention to rocks and shoals, but these
are indicated by small dots or crosses along the coast lines.
Care seems to have been exercised to have all islands
represented, and while generally located with a near ap-
proach to accuracy, they are often found to be much out
of proportion as to size.
The technique of portolan charts is by no means
complex, as the geographical information, especially in
the earlier charts, is limited to the coast of the main-
land, or of the islands. Place names are numerous for
the coast of the Mediterranean alone, the number some-
times exceeds one thousand and these names, running
directly inland from the coast, with rare exceptions were
written in small letters, though for the regional names,
which were inscribed in the later charts, capitals were
employed. Since the names run landward from the coast
lines, it will therefore be noticed, as one examines the
chart, having the north above, that many of the names
are inverted. A large majority of the place names are
in black, but it is a striking feature that many are in
red, and it is usually the same names so written in the
several charts. This fact appears to have no other signifi-
cance than that a certain special importance then attached,
or at least once attached, to the place entered in red.
As these charts were intended primarily for the use
of seamen, there was naturally little occasion for at-
tention to the geographical features of the interior
regions. These regions, wanting all reference to physi-
cal features particularly in the earlier charts, have,
therefore, a certain prominence by way of contrast, being
blank save for the crossing lines. With the passing
years, more and yet more of geographical detail came
to have representation on inland regions. River courses
in time were represented, though at first with striking
inaccuracy: mountain ranges were made to cross certain
sections, but clearly attesting the want of exact informa-
tion: important cities were often made more conspicuous
by means of pictures, 1 but cities represented in the interior
show a want of knowledge of their exact location. Terri-
torial boundaries do not appear, but many of the separate
states bear their respective names, and often in addition
are distinguished by an appropriate and highly orna-
mented coat-of-arms. Castile, for example, has the
quartered field with the castle on a red, and a red lion
on silver, ground ; Aragon, a red standard in a gold field ;
Portuguese territory, a banner having five dots in a blue
field; the Knights of St. John, a silver cross on a red
ground; Venice, the gold lion of St. Mark on blue
ground; Turkish territory, a banner displaying the half
moon; regions remote and unknown, as Tartaria, by a
ruler on his throne or an elaborately drawn tent.
1 Vid. For reproduction of picture of Genoa, p. 28, from Bartolomeo
In addition to the features just described, legends
were often inserted, where space permitted, referring to
the products of the region bearing the legend, or to the
character of the inhabitants of the same. Much of this
information appears to have been derived from Pliny,
Solinus, Isidor, or from travellers such as Marco Polo,
or Nicolo di Conti. Such legends or descriptive records
are, however, generally confined to the world charts of the
portolan type which occasionally are to be found in
portolan atlases, as for example, in the atlas of Bianco
of 1436 or in such as the Catalan world chart of about
1450, belonging to the Royal Estense Library of Modena,
Italy. Now and then one finds the earthly paradise
represented, as in mediaeval cloister maps. Gog and
Magog were often located by the chart-makers, as was
Prester John, properly adorned as a Christian ruler, and
in the Atlantic we frequently find the so-called fabulous
islands such as Antillia, Satanaxa, Isla de Man, Brasil,
Many of the portolan charts are both signed and
dated, while many are wanting such inscriptions. Where
author and date legend is given it is usually found in-
serted on the left of the sheet and is very brief, as,
" Petrus Roselli composuit hanc cartam in civitate
Maioricarum anno domini M cccc lx iij." * It is seldom
easy to determine the exact age of an undated chart,
remembering that such as are dated frequently contain
records which clearly indicate carelessness on the part
of the chart-maker or the influence of tradition, as may
be seen in the representation of a banner, after the
authority so indicated in a locality has been overthrown.
A noted instance of such false record is the representa-
1 Vid. Reproduction No. 2.
tion of the cross of the Knights of St. John over the
island of Rhodes long after that island had fallen into
the hands of the Turks. It may further be stated that
one is not always justified in giving to a chart a date
prior to a known great geographical discovery seeing
that such event is not recorded. Portolan chart-makers
were generally inclined to make full use in their own
records of that which they found at hand. The majority
of them were loth to break with tradition or to correct
an error, yet we cannot deny to some of them a place
of leadership in trans-marine discovery as we find in their
charts islands laid down far to the west in the Atlantic,
the insertion of which, though not always resting on
authentic discovery, unquestionably served to embolden
such navigators as were eager for the finding of new
It remains to refer to one of the most attractive fea-
tures of portolan charts, that is to the colors employed.
In some of them the work of the miniaturist of the
period is seen at its best. In the earliest examples color
was but sparingly used, but with the advancing years
it became more and more a feature. The compass or
wind rose, at first simple in character, seemed in time to
offer to the chart-maker an opportunity to display his
sense of the artistic, and not infrequently we find roses
which are very elaborate. Banners to be truthful pre-
sentations needed color, and they often appear in great
numbers and in brilliant tones. Much care was fre-
quently given to drafting designs in which to inscribe
the scale of miles, or to the addition of a suitable border
for the chart. The effort to emphasize the importance
of certain cities led to the addition of fine bits of minia-
ture work to the chart's decorations.
As the crossing lines appear at first to want system
or order in arrangement, but on close examination are
found to have been laid down in accord with a well-
devised scheme, so the color as represented in these lines
and in the compass or wind roses seems at first to have
been added regardless of rule or of special plan, whereas
chart-makers were here most careful in the observance
It may have been, primarily, for practical reasons
that any color scheme was employed at all for the cross-
ing lines. From the multitude of these lines confusion
would have prevailed in the attempt to use the chart were
the lines of one color. With rare exceptions, it will
be found that the lines indicating the eight principal,
winds or directions are in black, the half winds in green,
and the quarter winds in red. For the colors in the
several roses or cards, a certain freedom prevailed, espe-
cially in the case of those of complicated design. Con-
tinental coast lines were generally colored but lightly,
though occasionally there was a liberal application of
green or blue which was often edged with a line of gold.
The coast lines of the larger islands were usually treated
as the continental coasts, but smaller islands were en-
tirely overed with red, blue, silver, or gold, and in the
case of the smallest of these islands, where numerous,
the color was applied so as to produce the most artistic
effect regardless of rule. Of the five or six colors em-
ployed, red, green, blue, black, gold, yellow, the red
seems to be the best preserved.
Seldom was color employed for the larger bodies of
water, except in the case of the Red Sea, which in-
variably exhibits the influence of tradition, being colored
red, while on certain world charts of the portolan type,
the larger seas and oceans were covered with waving
blue or green lines, as may be seen in the Catalan chart
Such then in origin, character, and importance are
portolan charts with which modern scientific chart or
map-making had its beginning. Apparently first con-
structed in the thirteenth century they multiply rapidly
throughout the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth cen-
turies as before stated, retaining most of the characteristics
exhibited in earliest examples. Though remarkable for
their near approach to accuracy, it appears not a little
surprising that the learned chart-makers of the sixteenth
century did not in general accept them at their value
until Ptolemy's maps, by actual astronomical measure-
ments, had been shown to be inaccurate. With seamen,
however, these manuscript parchment charts remained in
favor long after the invention of printing and its use
in the multiplication of maps and charts.
Herodotus: History. Vide passages relating to Near-
chus, Hanno, Scylax, et al.
Pliny: Natural History, iii-vi.
Carolus Mullerus [Ed.] : Geographi graeci minores,
i., pp. 15-96. Vide for the text of Scylax, i., pp.
427-514, for the text of the Stadiasmos.
Ptolemy: Vide various editions of his Geography for
reference to Marinus.
Nordenskiold : Facsimile Atlas. Stockholm, 1889.
Vide for a review of Ptolemy's contributions in the
field of geography, with references to Marinus.
Nordenskiold: Periplus. Stockholm, 1897. Vide for
a summary of accounts of early maritime expeditions,
with extensive extracts from the periploi, also refer-
ence to portolan charts, their character, standard of
measurement, legends, with numerous reproductions.
Uzielli e Amat di S. Filippo: Studi biografici e
bibliografici sulla storia della geografia in Italia.
Vol. ii., Roma, 1882. An extensive list of portolan
charts with brief descriptions. Bibliography, pp.
Fischer, Th.: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und
Seekarten italienischen Ursprungs und aus italien-
ischen Bibliotheken und Archiven. Venedig, 1886.
Contains chapters on portolan charts which are
Kretschmer, K.: Die italienischen Portolane des
Mittelalters. Berlin, 1909. This contains a sum-
mary, not unlike that by Nordenskiold in his Peri-
plus, but is not in all points in agreement with that
work. It contains the texts of the known portolans,
with a list of names to be found in portolans and
portolan charts. An exceedingly valuable work.
Can ale: Storia de commercio, dei viaggi, delle scoperte
e carte nautiche degl' Italiani. Genova, 1866.
Wuttke, H. : Zur Geschichte der Erdkunde im letzten
Drittel des Mittelalters. Die Karten der seefahren-
den Volker Siideuropas. Dresden, 1871.
Lelewel, J.: Geographie du moyen age, accompagnee
d' Atlas et de Cartes dans chaque Volume. 4 parts.
Atlas compose de cinquante planches. Bruxelles,
1850. This published to illustrate the preceding work.
Santarem: Atlas compose des Cartes des XIV, XV,
XVI, XVII siecles pour la plupart inedites, et
devant servir de preuves a l'ouvrage sur la priorite
de la decouverte de la cote occidentale d'Afrique
au dela du cap Bojador par les Portugais. Paris,
Matkovich, P.: Alte handschriftliche Schifferkarten
in den Bibliotheken zu Venedig. Wien, 1863.
Luca, G. de: Carte nautiche del medio evo designate
in Italia. Napoli, 1866.
Desimoni, C: Intorno ai Cartografi italiani e di loro
lavori manoscritti e specialmente nautici. Roma,
Errera, C. : Atlanti e Carte nautiche dal secolo XIV al
XVII conservati nelle biblioteche pubbliche e private
di Milano. In Rivista geografica Ital., iii. 1896.
Maecel, G.: Recueil de Portulans. Reproduction
Choix de cartes et de mappemondes des XIV, XV
Raccolta di Mappamondi e carte nautiche del XIII al
XVI secolo [Ongania], Venezia. Seventeen charts
are reproduced in photograph.
Stevenson, E. L. : Marine World Chart of Nicolo de
Canerio Januensis. New York, 1908.
More than five hundred portolan charts and atlases
are referred to by Uzielli e Amat which are to be found
in fifty-four public and private libraries. Referring only
to the larger collections, it may be mentioned that ninety-
five of these charts and atlases are to be found in Venice,
the majority of them belonging to the Biblioteca Mar-
ciana, and the Museo Civico; sixty-six are to be found in
Florence, chiefly in the Archivo di Stato and the Biblioteca
Nazionale ; fifty-two are listed as belonging to the British
Museum; twenty-six belonging to the Biblioteca Nazion-
ale of Naples; seventeen to the Bibliotheque Nationale
of Paris; seventeen to the Archivo del Collegio di Pro-
paganda in Rome; sixteen to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana
of Milan. In the other collections designated the number
varies from one to fifteen. Comparatively few portolan
charts and atlases are to be found in the libraries of the
United States. The largest collection is that belonging
to The Hispanic Society of America, in which there are
thirty-two, the great majority of which are here described
for the first time. In the Edward E. Ayer collection
of the Newberry Library of Chicago, there are twenty-
one; in the Library of Congress three, and in the John
Carter Brown Library of Providence there are two re-
markably fine atlases.
1. GIACOMO GIROLDI [Probable], early 15th
A portolan chart of the early fifteenth century, 53 x 92
cm. in size. Neither the author nor the exact date can
be determined with certainty. It contains, however,
numerous features which suggest that it is the work of
the above-named author and its date cannot be far from
1425. [Fischer, Sammlung Mittelalterlicher Welt- und
Seekarten, pp. 153-154.] One other portolan chart by
Giacomo is known, dated 1422, which may be found in the
National Library of Paris, and three of his atlases bearing
dates, respectively, 1426 [reproduced in photograph by On-
gania], 1443, and 1446. This particular chart is here first
described. It includes the Mediterranean, together with
the Black Sea, the Atlantic coast of Europe to Fries-
land, the British Islands, and the coast of Africa from
Gibraltar to Cape Cantin. The chart is crossed by the
usual lines, having two complete systems of crossing
points, with sixteen points in each group. The centre
of the group on the right is in the iEgean Sea, that on
the left near San Sebastian in Spain. On both the upper
and the lower border a scale of miles is given. The faint
indication of a scale on the right, where the tongue ex-
tension appears, should not be considered as representing
degrees of latitude.
Color has been sparingly used, and compass roses, as
well as miniature representation of cities, are wanting.
The place names seem to be identical with those given
in Nordenskiold's Periplus, pp. 25-44, which names have
been taken from Giacomo Giroldi's atlas of 1426. A
striking agreement between this chart and the atlas of
1426 may be seen in the physical features of the interior
regions which are represented.
In central and eastern Europe the Danube, the
Dneister, Dnieper, the Rhine, the Rhone, appear, each of
which is represented as having its source in a lake, also
the Seine, the Scheldt, the Maas in northern France,
the Guadalquivir in Spain, and the Nile in Africa.
With the exception of a few water stains, the chart
is well preserved. *
2. PETRUS ROSELLI, 1468.
A portolan chart of the year 1468. In size it is
58 x 90 cm. It is a chart of the Catalan type, and
exceedingly important on account of its age, and of its
geographical and other details. On the upper left of the
parchment appears the inscription, " Petrus Roselli com-
posuit hanc cartam in civitate Maioricarum anno domini
M cccc lx iij."
Roselli belonged to a famous school of Majorcan carto-
graphers. In addition to this chart, hitherto apparently
unknown, four other charts of his may be mentioned, one
bearing date 1447, one apparently dated 1462, one dated
1446, and one of the year 1465. The chart has numerous
radiating lines, and two small compass roses. A very un-
usual and interesting feature for a chart of this character
is the representation of the winds by four wind-heads.
It includes the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea,
the whole of Europe except Russia and the Scandina-
vian region, the north coast of Africa, the Canary, the
Madeira, and the Azores Islands. In the Atlantic there
are numerous fabulous islands including " brazil," " ilia
de moni " [Man], " antilia," " tamar." These islands
are located as in Bianco's chart of 1436, Pareto's chart
of 1455, and in Benincasas' chart of 1482.
The details which are inscribed in the interior regions
are very numerous. Across the north of Africa stretches
the Atlas range of mountains; the Alps are represented
in Europe; the Carpathian in Austro-Hungary ; the
Sierra Nevada in Spain, and Mt. Sinai in northwestern
Arabia. The larger cities are distinguished by groups
of turrets and banners, eleven of which are in Africa;
six are in Europe on a river evidently intended for the
Danube; Venice and Genoa are given their usual prom-
inence, and a conspicuous line of cities is represented
in the Baltic region. The tents in the interior of Africa
give a rather undue prominence to the rulers of that
section. On the north coast of Africa are numerous
Mohammedan banners; on the west coast are those of
Portugal; the Papal banner flies over Avignon; those
of Castile and Aragon give prominence to Spain. Such
decorations as these are particularly numerous on other
parts of the chart. An interesting survival from early
Christian centuries is the idea of giving to the Red Sea
a color appropriate to its name, and this idea, together
with the representation at its northern extremity of the
crossing place of the Israelites, finds expression on most
of the portolan charts which include that region.
Roselli drew much of his information from charts of
the previous century. It is especially interesting to find
that there are numerous features resembling the Catalan
chart of 1375. Though the map is somewhat stained
and torn, its colors are well preserved, and its geo-
graphical nomenclature, with few exceptions, can be
3. NICOLAUS de NICOLO, 1470.
A well-drawn parchment chart of the year 1470, in
size 65 x 101 cm. In the tongue of the sheet, which
in this instance is on the right, appears the author legend,
" Nicolaus de Nicolo M. cccclxx." Nothing appears to
be known concerning this chart-maker, who probably
was a native of Venice, other than is contained in this
one example of his work. In 1882, according to
Nordenskiold, it belonged to Count Pietro Gradenigo.
It includes the east coast of Italy and Sicily, the
Adriatic, the iEgean, the Dardanelles, the Sea of Mar-
mora, the Bosphorus, and the southwest coast of the
Black Sea, with the west coast of Asia Minor. It is
drawn in large scale, has neither compass roses nor scale
of miles, though the usual sixteen crossing points with
the connecting lines appear. The islands of the Adriatic
are made especially prominent, and the lagoons of Venice
have been inscribed with great care. None of the cities
have been distinguished by picture, nor do regional names
The chart is well preserved, though slightly torn on
the edges, and is an excellent specimen of early Italian
4. ANONYMOUS CHART, late 15th century.
A portolan chart of the fifteenth century, 57 x 91
cm. in size.
Though its author, probably of the city of Venice, is
unknown, there is the suggestion in some of its details
that it may be the work of Petrus Roselli, as in the re-
presentation of the Jordan and other features of that
eastern region. Compass lines are numerous, but com-
pass roses are wanting. On the upper and on the lower
border a scale of miles is represented. The chart in-
cludes the Black Sea, a part of the Red Sea, and the
Mediterranean as far west as the Balearic Islands, which
region lies in the tongue extension on the left. The
coasts are colored, as are also the islands; Rhodes has
the cross of the Knights of St. John. Flags and ban-
ners are numerous. Some of the important cities, as
Venice, Rome, Belgrade on the Danube, Damascus, Jeru-
salem, and Cairo are represented by interesting colored
Mt. Sinai is inscribed as an important locality on
which is placed the Monastery of St. Catharine. The
Danube is laid down as a river flowing directly east-
ward, having several large islands at its mouth. The
Jordan, having its source in a mountain, topped with a
castle and a banner, flows through two lakes.
The names are well written, as is usual in red and
black, being in Italian and occasionally in the Venetian
dialect. It is well preserved, except in parts of its
5. VESCONTE de MAIOLO, 1512.
A portolan chart of the year 1512, having the very
common tongue extension. It is 55 x 90 cm. in size.
In the upper corner on the left is a characteristic inscrip-
tion, " Vesconte de Maiolo composuy hanc cartam in
Neapoli de anno doi 1512 die 11 jany," near which
author legend is a well-executed miniature of the Virgin
Vesconte de Maiolo belonged to a distinguished Ital-
ian family of chart-makers whose work has been pre-
served in numerous examples. Fourteen single charts
and atlases are known to have been made by Vesconte
from 1504 to 1549. His world chart of 1527, original
in the Ambrosiana, Milan, has been issued by this Society
in colors of the original, and was included as No. 10 in
a facsimile atlas of charts illustrating early discovery and
exploration in America, issued by the author of this paper.
This chart of 1512, according to Nordenskiold, be-
longed in 1882 to Count Pietro Gradenigo of Venice.
It includes the entire Mediterranean, the Black Sea,
the Atlantic coast of Spain from Gibraltar to Cape
Finisterre, the coasts of Africa as far south as Cape
Bojador, with the Madeira and Canary Islands.
Compass roses are small and are not numerous. On
the upper and on the lower border, a scale of miles is
drawn. Continental coast lines are colored, as are most
of the islands, Rhodes being marked with the cross of the
Knights of St. John.
The several countries are designated by appropriate
flags. Cities, distinguished by pictures, are numerous,
among which Barcelona, Valencia, and Lisbon appear
in Spain; Avignon has the papal coat-of-arms, and
Genoa south of the Alps, is made especially prominent,
being the native place of Maiolo. Six cities are located
on the Danube River, which is represented as rising in
a mountain in Central Europe, five are in northern
Africa, and in Palestine Jerusalem is appropriately
represented with an elaborate church edifice topped with
a Christian banner. Additional interior physical fea-
tures are the Atlas Mountains stretching across the north
of Africa with striking colors of green and red, and the
Sierra Nevada in Spain. The Nile, the Rhone, and the
Danube rivers are all distinctly drawn, though not
The names are in red and black and are in the Italian
The chart is well preserved, being injured only in
certain parts of the border.
6. CONDE HOCTOMANNO FREDUCCI, 1524.
A portolan chart of the year 1524, being 39 x 60 cm. in
size. It is attached to a wooden roller, and has marks
of nails in the margin which suggest that it may at one
time have been fastened to the walls of a ship's cabin.
On the extreme left is the author legend, " m. vgo.
Conde Hoctomanno Freducci de Ancona la fatta nel
According to Uzielli e Amat, it once belonged to the
Marquis Girolamo di Colloredo in Udine. It contains
the usual sixteen crossing points with the radiating lines,
but is without compass roses.
In the extension of the sheet to the left is given the
scale of miles. It has neither degrees of latitude nor
The chart contains the Black Sea, the northern part
of the Red Sea, with the usual representations, and the
Mediterranean as far west as the Balearic Islands. Con-
tinental coasts are colored, as are most of the islands.
The cross of the Knights of St. John covers the
island of Rhodes. Coast names are remarkably well
written, and exquisite miniatures of Venice, Damascus,
Jerusalem, Mt. Sinai with the Convent of St. Catharine
having a subscribed legend, and Cairo adorn the chart.
A few rivers are represented emptying into the Black
Sea; the Nile delta has been made prominent, and in
Palestine the Jordan River and lakes are inscribed, to
the east of which is a range of mountains, each peak
having a name.
Aside from a few water stains, and slightly torn
margins, the chart is in excellent condition.
7. CONTE de OTHOMANO FREDUCCI, 1537.
An atlas of five portolan charts drawn on parchment,
and mounted on pasteboard. Each chart is 35 x 45 cm.
It has an excellent pigskin binding with a title in
gold stamped on the front of the cover, " Portolano m. s.
The author was a distinguished Italian, and appears
to have been a very productive chart-maker, as no less
than eight of his atlases are known, and at least five of
his single-sheet charts.
On the left of chart four is the legend, " Yhs ma vgo.
Conte de Otho mafio. Freducci, de Ancona, la fatte nel
ano M. cccccxxx7." This atlas, according to Nordens-
kiold, first became known in 1882, at which time it was
the property of Luigi Arrigoni of Milan.
The sixteen crossing points arranged in a circle about
a central crossing, together with the lines which radiate
from each point and connect it with every other point
save the two on its immediate right and left, give to
each chart a very attractive appearance. Each of the
five charts has what appears to be a scale of miles marked
across each of its four corners, and one compass rose
has been drawn on chart three. The borders of the con-
tinents are colored, and are represented as a series of
large and small curves; islands are red, green, blue, or
gold; the nomenclature is in Italian, and written in red
or black. Turreted buildings which represent cities are
exceedingly numerous, but are small, and are sketched
1. Chart one represents a section of the coast of
Spain, with the coast of Africa from Gibraltar to a
point near the mouth of the Senegal, and the Madeira,
Canary, and Azores Islands. Near the parallel of the
Canary Islands, and somewhat inland, is a legend of
some length. The Azores, the Madeira, and the Canary
Islands are practically located on the same meridian.
The island of Lancillotto, which is at the centre of the
circle of radiating points, has the Genoese cross con-
2. Chart two represents the Atlantic coast of Europe
from Gibraltar to Holland, including also in the north
England, Scotland, and Ireland, with numerous small
islands, among them " Yxola de till," " Montorius," and
" isola de man," and to the west of Spain the Azores
Islands. England, Scotland, and Ireland are dis-
tinguished by regional names artistically drawn. Across
Ireland is written a legend as if to explain the signifi-
cance of a great bay on the west, which is thickly studded
with small islands: " Lacus fortunatus ubi sunt insule que
dicunt incule sec beate n ccclxxij."
3. Chart three represents the western Mediterranean
with the island of Majorca placed at the centre, and
otherwise made conspicuous by its color. Coast names
are exceedingly numerous, with an unusual number of
names in the Balearic group of islands. The one com-
pass rose of the atlas is to be found on this chart in
4. Chart four includes the Mediterranean from a
meridian slightly to the east of Sardinia to the extreme
western coast of Asia Minor. The region represented
is very striking by reason of its details, a fact especially
to be noted of the iEgean Sea. Along the border on
the right appears the author legend quoted above.
5. Chart five includes the eastern Mediterranean
and the Black Sea, with the bordering regions. Rhodes
is conspicuously marked with the cross of the Knights
of St. John, and Cairo, though not designated by name,
is represented by a large group of buildings stretching
along the Nile.
The atlas is remarkably well preserved.
8. ANONYMOUS, first half of 16th century.
A chart of the first half of the sixteenth century,
47 x 74 cm. in size. Though its authorship cannot be
determined, it may be referred to as an excellent example
of Catalan or Spanish draftsmanship, having its nomen-
clature in the language of eastern Spain.
While clearly belonging to the sixteenth century, it
is based very largely on fifteenth-century originals.
Compass roses are few and are very simple in
In addition to the crossing lines running diagonally
over the sheet, there are lines which cross at right angles,
apparently drawn to represent latitude and longitude, at
intervals of eight or ten degrees. These lines, however,
are not designated as graduation lines. Four scales of
miles are indicated without special ornamentation.
The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, the
Black Sea, and a part of the Red Sea, which is colored
red, having at its northern extremity the crossing place
of the Israelites indicated, the Atlantic coast of the
Iberian peninsula southward from Cape Finisterre, and
a very limited section of the coast of Africa. Regional
names are omitted, but in each of the continents the
largest cities are especially distinguished in picture, as
Genoa, and Cairo which is called Babelonia. The colored
flags and banners inscribed are especially numerous, in-
cluding the papal banner over Avignon, though not over
Rome, the Spanish banner over Spain, Mohammedan ban-
ners in Africa and the East, the cross of the Knights
of St. John over Rhodes, but not over Malta. Christian
powers are represented as holding sway over a part of
the Balkan peninsula, Asia Minor, and the coast of the
The Sierra Nevada Mountains in Spain are especially
conspicuous, being the only interior physical features
9. ANONYMOUS, early 16th century.
A parchment sheet of the early sixteenth century,
48 x 82 cm. in size. Though its author is unknown, it
clearly is of Italian origin, the nomenclature being in
the language of the peninsula.
On the left is the tongue extension, apparently used for
hanging the chart, on which extension is a miniature
picture of Christ on the cross. Graduation is not indi-
cated, but on the upper and on the lower borders a scale
of miles is drawn, each in an elaborately ornamented
The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, the
Black Sea, and the Atlantic coast, beginning at Cape
Finisterre, and terminating at a point near eight degrees
down the coast of Africa. The coast lines, drawn with
a pen, are colored, as are the rivers. As is usual in such
charts, most of the names are in black, but many are
Fifteen compass roses of different sizes and designs
are drawn, and are connected by the crossing lines.
The three continents are each designated by name, which
name is written in a scroll. Pictures of cities, flags and
banners are wanting, Jerusalem or Palestine being dis-
tinguished by the representation of a mountain (Gol-
gotha) with three crosses. Over the islands of Rhodes
and Malta the cross of the order of St. John is repre-
sented. The chart is well preserved, being torn but
slightly on the border, through which nails have been
driven, perhaps for attaching it to the walls of a pilot's
10. ANONYMOUS, early 16th century.
A portolan atlas bound in pasteboard cover, contain-
ing three charts of the early sixteenth century. Each
chart is 37 x 57 cm. in size.
Neither the author nor the date is known. Judging
in particular from the character of the ornamentation,
it seems to be a French work [vid. No. 22]. The
nomenclature is French, Spanish, and Italian. The
writing is in rather an unusual running style. Very
much of available space is covered with elaborate scroll
and feather designs in brilliant colors. Compass roses
are numerous, but are not elaborate. Degrees of
latitude are indicated on chart one, not on a meridian,
but in three sections, with that section on the extreme
left indicating degrees from the twenty-second parallel
to the thirty-first, the next section near the coast of
Spain from the thirty-first to the forty-fourth parallel,
and the third section some distance to the west of the
coast of Ireland from parallel forty-four to fifty-eight.
1. Chart one includes the Atlantic coast regions
from Holland " Olanda " to a point near Cape Verde,
with the British Islands, the Azores, the Madeira, and
the Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean to the Gulf
The regional names include " Europa," " Olanda,"
"Irland," " Iscotia," " Inglaterr," "France," " Spag-
nia," " Africa," " Barbaria." In the Atlantic to the
west of Spain is the legend, " L'ocean occidental," and
near it an elaborate ornament containing a shield with
the French lily topped with a royal crown. In Spain
is the Spanish shield with the imperial double eagle.
Much attention was given to the ornamentation of the
2. Chart two includes the iEgean with the border-
ing coasts. The names " Natolia," " Candia," " Morea,"
" Grecia," " Romania " are inscribed. The sheet is
somewhat injured by water stain.
3. Chart three includes the entire Mediterranean,
and, like the preceding, is over-decorated. " Europa,"
" Asia," " Africa," " Barbaria " are inscribed. The chart
is much faded.
The atlas is not one of great value; though contain-
ing practically all that may be found in the better Italian
portolan charts of the period, it was apparently designed
for display rather than for use.
11. BAPTISTA AGNESE, early 16th century.
A portolan atlas of the first half of the sixteenth
century, containing fourteen charts preceded by repre-
sentations of coats-of-arms and astronomical tables. Each
page is 28 x 41 cm. in size.
The atlas is neither signed nor dated, but the work-
manship is so strikingly characteristic of Baptista Agnese
that one can hardly be in error in ascribing it to him.
Its date cannot be far from 1545. Agnese was a prolific
chart-maker, many of whose atlases are extant. He ex-
hibited remarkable skill as a draftsman and miniaturist,
and held a foremost place among the Italian chart-makers
of his time. His work, however, appears to have been
done rather for the libraries of princes than for the use
The atlas is one of his largest, containing not
only those charts which usually are to be found in
his atlases, but certain important additions as Nos. thir-
teen and fourteen.
The several charts have retained their brilliant colors,
with blue coast outlines, and with the numerous small
islands in red, blue, or gold. Interior regions on some
of the charts contain numerous vignettes and figures,
with far more than the usual references to geographical
features, though having withal numerous and curious
Page two of the atlas contains two coats-of-arms
similar in general design, with a third on page three of
like character. Declination tables are given on page
four, an armillary sphere is artistically sketched on page
five, and on pages six and seven the circle of the zodiac
with the several signs very artistically designed.
1. Chart one, occupying double pages, as do all the
charts, being in size within the narrow black border line
35 x 50 cm., includes the Pacific Ocean, with America on
the right, and on the left a small section of the coast of
Asia, with the " insule Maluche." The Atlantic coast
of America is represented from Labrador to the Strait
of Magellan, with an omission on the extreme east of
Brazil. The Pacific coast includes Lower California and
the Gulf of California which is colored red, thence it
extends southward to about latitude 12, omitting the
remaining section of the coast to the Strait of Magellan.
Degrees of latitude and longitude are indicated, as are
also the tropics and the equator. In the centre of the
chart is a combined compass and wind rose encircled
with the sixteen crossing points from which the usual
thirty-two lines radiate.
2. Chart two includes the Atlantic Ocean with
Africa, a part of Asia and of Europe on the right, and
on the left the east coast of North America, the east
and west coast of South America, omitting the Pacific
coast from latitude 12 to the Strait of Magellan. The
nomenclature is very rich, both for the Old and for
the New World, and is remarkably well preserved. The
chart contains the crossing lines, degrees of latitude and
longitude as in chart one.
3. Chart three includes the Indian Ocean, with the
African coast from the Gulf of Guinea eastward, and
the southern Asiatic coast to China. The general fea-
tures of the chart are the same as are represented in the
4. Chart four includes the greater part of the con-
tinent of Europe with Scandinavia on the northern
border, the Baltic, the British Islands, the coast of
France, the north coast of Spain, northern Italy, and
the Dalmatian coast. There are numerous fine minia-
ture representations of kings on their thrones. Numerous
rivers are represented in heavy blue lines, though with
little care for accuracy, and the mountains of southern
Europe from the Pyrenees to the Balkan peninsula are
inscribed. Numerous regional names appear. The fea-
tures of chart one are included, omitting indications of
latitude and longitude.
5. Chart five includes the Spanish peninsula, with
northwest Africa, the Balearic, the Madeira, and the
Canary Islands. Numerous cities in picture, and rivers
in heavy blue lines are represented in Spain. The Atlas
range of mountains is represented in northern Africa.
The chart has the usual crossing lines, but no indication
of degrees of latitude or longitude.
6. Chart six represents the Mediterranean region
from the west coast of Greece to Gibraltar. It contains
the usual portolan chart features. It is slightly water-
stained, but all names can be read with ease.
7. Chart seven represents the eastern Mediterranean
from Sicily to Palestine, with the south coast of the Black
Sea and the northern section of the Red Sea, which is
colored red. The island of Rhodes still retains the cross
of the Knights of St. John.
8. Chart eight represents the Black Sea with the
coast line in blue, except that of the Crimea, which
is colored green. The chart is remarkably clean and
9. Chart nine represents Italy with the Adriatic
coast of Dalmatia. This chart differs greatly from the
preceding, the author attempting to produce not only
a sea chart but a land map as well. The entire surface
is covered with a pale-yellow color shading to light green.
Mountain ranges are especially conspicuous. The Po
River with its numerous branches fills the low plain of
northern Italy. The Tiber and the Arno rivers have
a source in the same lake. Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica
are very prominent.
10. Chart ten represents the iEgean Sea as it ap-
pears in most portolan atlases. The island of Rhodes
is conspicuous with the red ground and the gold cross.
Other large islands have the entire surface either green,
red, or gold. Crete has a city with harbor prominently
marked on the north coast.
11. Chart eleven is a world chart including prac-
tically the same as may be found in Nos. one, two, and
three. The whole of the north of Europe is, however,
represented with the Scandinavian peninsula stretching
off to northward. There are five compass or wind
roses, and the usual arrangement of crossing lines. The
tropics and the equator are represented, but graduation
12. Chart twelve is a characteristic Agnese world
chart, oblong in shape, having the equatorial diameter
nearly twice that of the polar. Fifteen parallels are
represented and twenty-four curved meridians. It is
more or less a conventional world chart, since the author
clearly made little effort to be strictly accurate. Nu-
merous regional names are inscribed, and a few interior
geographical features appear, as mountains in Asia,
" Mons luna " in Africa, the Pyrenees in Spain, and the
Andes in northern South America. There are also
numerous rivers, as the Nile, the Indus, the Ganges, the
Volga, the Danube, and, in the New World, the Amazon
and the La Plata. Magellan's route is indicated, as is
also the route from Spain to Peru, crossing the New
World at Panama. Twelve artistic wind heads are
arranged about the chart, each wind having its appropri-
ate name. Compass roses as well as crossing lines are
13. Chart thirteen represents Palestine. Like Nos.
nine and fourteen, it is both a marine and a land chart.
It has a ground color of very light yellow shading to
green, though the color has not been evenly applied.
Mountain ranges and isolated mountain peaks are very
numerous, and are made especially conspicuous. The
several towns and villages are each represented by an
artistic vignette, and Jerusalem appears as a group of
buildings surrounded with a wall. The Jordan River
and the lakes are colored blue, and are much magnified
in size. As drawn, it places the east at the top of the
sheet, though a compass rose is inscribed, which indicates
14. Chart fourteen includes the Scandinavian pen-
insula with the Atlantic islands to the northwest and the
west, and with the Baltic Sea and its neighboring re-
gions to south and east. The chart has the same ground
color as Nos. nine and thirteen. There are numerous
artistic representations of rulers on their thrones. Two
well-drawn ships sail the Atlantic waters, and a sea
monster appears off the Norway coast. Very small and
artistically- drawn buildings representing cities and towns
are numerous. One wind head is represented at the
north, but all crossing lines are omitted. The chart is
slightly water-stained at the top.
12. BARTOLOMEO OLIVO, after 1550.
This portolan chart of the sixteenth century is 86 cm.
in length by 51 cm. in width.
Its author was a member of the famous Oliva family
of Majorca. On this chart his name is inscribed in the
upper left corner, " Olivo mallorqin En. Palermo Alio
1520." The last three figures are inscribed over an
erasure, and only the figure 1 is the original. We find
here one of the numerous attempts at date forgery.
Sometimes for a specific reason, generally to give a ficti-
tious value to a chart, a date is found altered to one
earlier, often to one later. While the argument is not
conclusive, it appears to have been drawn after 1526, as
the cross of the Order of St. John appears on the island
of Malta, and perhaps near 1581, as the Spanish flag
alone appears on the Iberian peninsula, whereas on
Domingo Olives' chart of 1568 Lisbon is likewise so
distinguished, by a Portuguese banner.
Compass roses are numerous, and elaborate, and it
is interesting to observe that the central crossing is in
Sicily. On the western border is a representation of
Christ on the cross. The scale of miles is indicated
twice at the top, and twice at the bottom of the chart.
Here we also have it distinctly indicated that the same
scale was not used for the Atlantic coast that was used
for that of the Mediterranean. Degrees of latitude are
marked on a meridian passing about five degrees west
of the coast of Spain.
The chart includes the Mediterranean, the Red and
the Black Seas, the Atlantic coast region as far north
as Holland, with England, Scotland, and Ireland, and
the African coast to Cape Bojador. The author has not
^ r . '-' ; 3. ' : <n.rJ;> ;>
16. JAUME OLIVES, 1563. CHART THREE
given a colored border to his continental coasts, but has
added color liberally to his islands. The three continents
are distinguished by names ; cities especially distinguished
by picture are numerous both along the coasts and in-
land; numerous river courses are shown, though not from
accurate information. An ocean monster appears to the
southwest of Ireland, and in Africa, the ostrich, the lion,
the camel, and the elephant are well represented.
The chart is well preserved, being only slightly torn
on its borders.
18. HIERONYMO GIRIVA, after 1550.
A portolan chart with pasteboard cover of the second
half of the sixteenth century. It is 33 x 65 cm. in size.
It is neither signed nor dated, but internal evidence sug-
gests that it is the work of Giriva. On the interior of
the front cover has been pasted the engraved book-plate
of Conde de Vislahermosa. The chart includes the Medi-
terranean with a very small section of the Black Sea
coast, and the Atlantic coast from " lisbona " to Cape
Compass roses are numerous, being inscribed at most
of the sixteen crossing points. The central rose is placed
in the island of Sicily. In each of the four corners a
scale of miles is drawn in a waving scroll ornament. In
the upper corner on the left is a representation of Christ
on the cross. Eleven cities are distinguished by minia-
ture pictures, including " lisbona " and " barselona " in
Spain. Over each appears an appropriate banner.
Mountains are represented in northern Africa, and Gol-
gotha with the three crosses. A few of the important
rivers are represented in their lower courses, as the Nile,
the Rhone, the Guadalquivir. The chart is well pre-
served, but the decorative work is not that of a first-class
14. BARTOLOMEO OLIVES, 1552.
A portolan chart of the year 1552, in size 49 x 75 cm.
On the left is the author legend, " Bartolomeo olives
maijorq; 1552," and in the tongue extension a miniature
of the Virgin and Child.
Bartolomeo was one of the most distinguished mem-
bers of the Majorcan family of Oliva, which family has
a place of prominence among early chart-makers. A
large number of his charts are recorded by Uzielli e Amat,
and by Nordenskiold. Compass or wind roses are
numerous at the crossing points, five of which are large
and beautifully executed. In each of these the initial
letters for the eight winds appear, beginning at the north
with the needle point <A> thence to the right about the
circle G = NE; >fr == E; S = SE; O = S; L
SW; P = W; M = NW. Twice on the upper and
twice on the lower border the scale of miles is inscribed.
The chart includes the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, a
section of the Red Sea with the crossing-place of the Israel-
ites indicated, and the Atlantic coast from Cape Finisterre
to Cape Nun. Seven cities are represented in picture,
Venice, Genoa, and Cartagena being especially prominent,
and the banners are very numerous. Interior physical
features inscribed include the Sierra Nevada Mountains,
very conspicuous in southern Spain, Mount Sinai topped
with the Convent of St. Catharine, also the Nile, the
Danube, and the Rhine rivers, with the numerous others
distinctly indicated in their lower courses.
The chart is remarkably well preserved, having only
its margin on the right slightly torn.
15. GIOVANNI MARTINES, after 1560.
A portolan atlas of seven charts, 18 x 25 cm. in size,
bound in dark leather. Each chart, however, occupying
two pages, is 24 x 34 cm., including a plain narrow red
border. Across the upper part of chart one is the author
legend, " Joan Martines en Messina any 1562," the figure
2 being written in after an erasure. It is hardly prob-
able the date as it appears is correct, though it doubtless
is one of his earlier atlases, the oldest hitherto described
being dated 1567. He was one of the foremost chart-
makers of his day, there being extant a considerable
number of single charts and atlases bearing his name.
On the back of the front cover are the words in gold
" Carta Navigatoria," and on both front and back the
outline design for a coat-of-arms, with the letters M.
P. G., the initial letters of a former owner, " Michele
Petrocochino del quondam Georgio." Fifteen pages of
manuscript in Italian and written in a bold hand, relat-
ing to astronomy and geography, have been bound in
with the charts.
The several charts have the usual characteristics of
the type. Coast lines are in gold, or in blue and gold.
A few minor geographical features are represented, as
regional names, and the lower courses of rivers. Each
chart, except the first, has a scale of miles, and at least
one compass rose.
1. Chart one represents the world in two hemi-
spheres, each having an equatorial diameter of 167 mm.
and a polar diameter of 165 mm. Meridians and paral-
lels are drawn at intervals of fifteen degrees. Coast lines
are in gold, and numerous original names appear in both
the Old and the New World. The Strait of Anian
(Bering) is represented, which name appears in north-
east Asia. The great austral continent " terra incog-
nita " is sketched in outline. It is a chart to which much
2. Chart two includes the southern coast of the
Spanish peninsula, the west coast of Africa to about
latitude 15 north, with the Madeira and the Canary
Islands. On this and succeeding charts three crossing
points and three only are represented, from which thirty-
two lines radiate. One of these points is located at the
centre, one at the right of this, and one at the left, but
all are on the same parallel or line crossing the chart
from east to west.
3. Chart three includes the northwest coast of
Europe, with England, Scotland, and Ireland well
represented. The names are numerous and well
4. Chart four includes the south coast of Ireland
and England with the coast of Holland, France, and
5. Chart five includes the Mediterranean from the
eastern coast of Spain to the west coast of Greece, also
the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily,
with a small section of the extreme north coast of
Africa. On this chart the names are particularly
6. Chart six includes the JEgean and the eastern
7. Chart seven includes the Black Sea drawn in
16. JAUME OLIVES, 1563.
This atlas of six charts dated 1563 is 19 x 23 cm. in
size, though each chart, occupying double pages, measures
23 x 36 cm.
It has an excellent leather binding, with the entire
front and back of the cover very artistically decorated
with contemporary tooling.
It is a characteristic bit of work of a very distinguished
member of the Majorcan family Oliva, which family had
numerous representatives in the ranks of the early chart-
makers. On the last double page appears the inscription,
" Jaume oliues mallorchi en napoli any 1563."
All names have been inscribed with great care, partly
in Italian and partly in Catalan. The usual portolan
chart colors have been employed all of which are well
preserved. From a central point on each chart thirty-
two lines radiate with one exception, all other lines having
been omitted. It is interesting to find that on the last
double page a very large compass rose has been drawn
filling almost the entire sheet, and on the first double
page a circle has been drawn with the radiating lines,
suggesting that the author had intended these as construc-
tion lines for a chart which had never been drawn. Coast
lines, in most instances have been colored, to which has
been added a gilt border. There are numerous miniature
representations of cities and banners on each of the
charts. With the exception of sheet five, a part of which
has been cut away, the atlas is remarkably well preserved.
1. Chart one represents the eastern Mediterranean,
omitting the Levantine coast. Chios and Rhodes have
the Christian cross while all the banners represented are
the Mohammedan. The chart has the thirty-two radiating
lines and instead of a wind or compass rose it has the
usual initial letters for the eight principal winds properly
placed near the border of the sheet, which arrangement is
2. Chart two includes the Atlantic coast from " c.
finisterr " to " c. blancho " with the Canary and the
3. Chart three includes the western coast of Europe
from " cartagena " to " dascie " on the North Sea coast,
with a small section of the northwest coast of Africa, also
England, Scotland which is separated from the former
by a strait, and Ireland. There is a central compass rose
from which thirty-two lines radiate. Three cities are es-
pecially distinguished in the Iberian peninsula, each with
picture and banner.
4. Chart four represents the western Mediterranean
from Sicily to the Strait of Gibraltar. The Spanish,
Papal, and Mohammedan banners are prominent features
of the chart, and the city of Genoa is made especially
conspicuous in picture.
5. Chart five represents the middle Mediterranean
region, including the Adriatic and the iEgean Seas.
This chart has been somewhat mutilated on the upper
or northern section.
6. Chart six represents the Black Sea and the ex-
treme eastern Mediterranean coast. In the centre is a
compass rose from which thirty lines only radiate.
"Banners are numerous, most of which are Mohammedan.
17. JAUME OLIVES, 1566.
A portolan chart of the year 1566, rectangular in
shape, and in size 46 x 69 cm. On the upper left ap-
pears the Madonna and Child resting in the clouds, near
this picture a lion, which is represented as tearing an
animal in pieces, underneath which is the inscription,
" Jaume Olives, Mallorquien Marsela ay 1566." Jaume
Olives was a member of the famous family of Oliva which
first came into prominence in the island of Majorca.
Other distinguished members of this family were Barto-
lomeo and Domingo Oliva, each being the author of
numerous portolan charts. Five other charts of this
author are known, which represent the Mediterranean,
one of which, bearing date 1557, is in the University
Library of Pavia, one dated 1559 is in the National
Library of Naples, one of 1561 is in the Vittorio
Emanuele Library in Rome, one of 1563 is in the
Museo Civico of Venice, and one of 1566 in Mar-
seilles. The one here described appears to have been
his last. Seven large compass roses are included in
the circle of sixteen crossing points. Neither latitude
nor longitude is indicated. Four scales of miles are
The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, the
Black Sea, the Red Sea with the indicated course of
the Israelites at the northern extremity, the Atlantic
coast of Spain from Cape Finisterre, and the coast of
Africa to Cape Blanco.
Important cities are made prominent, notably Genoa
and Venice, and brilliantly-colored flags and banners are
The names are written in very small letters, and are
numerous. The corners on the left of the sheet have been
torn, but not to such extent as to injure the contents
of the chart. It is one of the most valuable of the
18. GIOVANNI MARTINES, 1582.
A portolan atlas of the year 1582, containing five
charts each 32 x 48 cm. in size, bound in pasteboard
On chart four appears the inscription, " Joan Martines
en Messina Any 1582."
A number of charts and atlases by this author are
known, all of which are exceedingly well done. In the
front of this atlas is pasted a brief description of the sev-
eral charts by E. F. Jomard, editor of the famous atlas
" Monuments de la Geographic" There are three or
more compass roses on each chart, some of which are
elaborately executed. The usual intricate crossing lines
are inscribed, and on each chart a scale of miles drawn
on a great waving scroll. The nomenclature is especially
1. Chart one includes the eastern Mediterranean, the
JEgean, and the Black Seas. Over Jerusalem waves a
flag with the cross, over the Crimea the Genoese flag,
which flag also appears prominent at the entrance to the
Black Sea. The Red Sea is a conspicuous feature, and
Cairo appears as a many-turreted city on the Nile.
2. Chart two includes the central and western Medi-
terranean. It contains all the characteristic features of
the preceding, with Venice, Genoa, Marseilles, and two
cities in northern Africa, made prominent by groups
of turreted buildings.
3. Chart three represents the coast region of west-
ern Europe from Gibraltar to Denmark and Iceland.
This chart is especially interesting. England and Scot-
land, as on contemporaneous charts, are represented as
separated by a strait. Iceland appears on the extreme
GIOVANNI MARTINES, 1582 CHART ONE
northern border, southwest of which is " Frixlandia,"
with a few other names to be found on the Zeno map
of 1558. " Isla de Brasil," with its usual peculiar fea-
tures, is located to the southwest of Iceland. The Iberian
peninsula is especially distinguished by its turreted cities
and conspicuous banners. About four degrees to the
west of Spain the prime meridian is drawn across the
chart, on which degrees of latitude are very distinctly
4. Chart four presents the west coast of Spain and
the coast of Africa from Gibraltar to the mouth of the
Senegal, which point is conspicuously marked with a
Portuguese banner, as is also the city of Lisbon. The
prime meridian on which the degrees of latitude are
marked is represented much to the west of the Canary
Islands, and is at least ten degrees farther west than
on the preceding chart. It is on this chart that the
name of Martines appears.
5. Chart five represents the west coast of Africa
from the mouth of the Senegal to the Cape of Good
Hope, the last-named point being especially marked in
large capitals "CAPO DI BONA SPIRANZA."
Numerous Portuguese banners are inscribed along the
coast. The prime meridian, if such it is intended to be,
runs slightly to the west of Africa, north of the equator,
while south of the same it is represented as starting at
a point at least four degrees farther to the east.
The atlas is well preserved in all its rich details.
19. ANONYMOUS ATLAS, late 16th century.
A French atlas of portolan charts of the second half
of the sixteenth century in brown leather cover. It con-
tains four charts each occupying double pages 49 x 61
cm. in size. On the outside of the front cover is stamped
" Ex libris Luigi Arrigoni Mediolani." Its author is
unknown, but it corresponds in all important particulars
to the contemporaneous work of Italian chart-makers.
Compass roses are numerous and some are very
large. Certain designs for banners, as well as the car-
touches in which the scale of miles is inscribed are bril-
liantly colored and elaborately executed. The coast lines
are colored, certain parts of which are unusually heavily
The coast nomenclature is very full, and regional
names, especially, are in French. French portolan charts
of the period are not numerous, and this work is one of
the most valuable of the kind known.
1. Chart one drawn on a large scale includes the
western Mediterranean, the Atlantic coast of Africa to
Cape Cantin. Many regional names are inscribed as
"Europe," " Spagne," "Genes," "Provence," " Cata-
logue," "Valence," " Granade," "Andalvzie," "P:Gal,"
" Afrique," " Tunis," " Arger," " Barbarie," " Fex."
2. Chart two includes the middle Mediterranean and
the Adriatic. The coast of France, of Tunis, of the
island of Sicily, and the opposite mainland of Italy, the
Adriatic coast of Tuscany, the coast of Istria, and the coast
of western Greece, all are made especially prominent by
Regional names are numerous, including " Europe,"
"Genes," " Venise," " Italie," " Tuscane," " Istrie,"
" Dalmatie," " Tunis," " Tripoli." " Greece," and
" Afrique " are inscribed in a conspicuous cartouche.
As inserted in the atlas, the north is at the right.
3. Chart three includes the eastern Mediterranean,
18. GIOVANNI MARTINES, 1582 CHART TWO OF ATLAS.
is highly colored, and contains numerous elaborate orna-
ments. " Europe," " Asie," and " Afrique " are ap-
propriately inscribed, with the addition of such names as
"Greece," " Troye," " Natolie," " Carmanie," " Svrie."
Golgotha is represented with the three crosses. The
mouth of the Nile is made prominent, as is the name
4. Chart four includes the entire Mediterranean,
with a small section of the southwest shore of the Black
Sea, the northern section of the Red Sea, the Atlantic
coast of Spain from Cape Finisterre southward, the coast
of Africa to Cape Cantin. There is a very considerable
tongue extension of the sheet on the left. It is rather
more highly decorated than is either of the preceding
sheets, containing the regional names and most of the
features represented on each of the preceding charts.
It appears indeed to be simply a chart represent-
ing the contents of the preceding grouped into one
The entire atlas is one remarkably well preserved.
20. DOMINICUS de VILLARROEL, 1590 circa.
An atlas of portolan charts, bound in a pasteboard
cover and drawn near the close of the sixteenth century.
It contains seven charts, each 37 x 52 cm. in size, with
one page representing Judith and Holophernes having
a Latin subscription concluding with a reference to the
author: "Hoc opvs D. Dominicvs de Villarroel Regis
Hispaniarvm Cosmography s faciebat," one page repre-
senting the martyrdom of St. Sebastien, and one page
on which appear two circular calendar tables furnished
with a movable parchment disc. Under each of the
tables is an explanation as to its meaning and its
Villarroel was probably not a Spaniard, as he is not
referred to by Fernandez de Navarrete in his Bibliotheca
maritima espanola, but was probably an Italian living
under Spanish rule in Naples. The Bibliotheque Na-
tionale of Paris possesses a portolan chart, apparently the
work of this same chart-maker, representing the Medi-
terranean, Europe, and northern Africa with the inscrip-
tion, " Don Domingo de Villeroel, cosmographo de su
Magestad, me fecit in civitate Neapolis 1589," and two
atlases are referred to by Nordenskiold in his Periplus,
p. 65, of the years 1530 and 1580 which may be by the
same cosmographer. This atlas, hitherto unknown, is
probably his last work. Each chart is covered with the
usual crossing lines and contains several compass roses,
some of which are elaborately executed. Degrees of
latitude are represented, on each also the scale of miles
in a waving scroll. Certain important cities are made
especially conspicuous on the first four charts, and nu-
merous banners of state and coats-of-arms are represented
in their appropriate localities.
1. Chart one represents the eastern Mediterranean
and the Black Sea, recording in the interior regions only
the names of the several countries.
2. Chart two includes the central and western Medi-
terranean, having compass roses which are especially well
drawn. The several countries of central Europe are each
distinguished by the representation of at least one city
over which flies an appropriate banner.
3. Chart three includes western Europe from Gib-
raltar to the White Sea, and is remarkably well drawn.
Spain gives excellent illustration of the statement (vid.
18. GIOVANNI MARTINES, 1582 CHART THREE OF ATLAS.
p. 20) that a different scale of measurement was used for
the Atlantic coast from that used for the Mediterranean
coast. England and Ireland are remarkably well repre-
sented as is the Baltic with the entire Scandinavian region.
4. Chart four includes southern Spain with the coast
of Africa to the Gulf of Guinea. The prime meridian
is represented passing west of the Canary Islands, on
which meridian degrees of latitude are marked from 1
to 42 north.
5. Chart five presents the Atlantic Ocean from 15
to 60 north latitude. This is one of the most interesting
charts of the Atlas, exhibiting on the right the coast of
Africa, Portugal, and Ireland, at the top Iceland, Green-
land, and the island of Frisland of the Zeno map, on the
left Canada and Labrador with the neighboring islands
under the name Terra Nova. In the middle Atlantic are
many islands, among which are S. Brandan and Icaria.
The North American coast represents a type between
that of the Dieppe School and that of Ortelius as laid
down in his Theatrum of 1570.
6. Chart six includes the Adriatic, Lower Italy, and
Sicily. In this and the succeeding chart the draftsman
has altered somewhat his style, giving less attention to
ornamentation. The cities are made prominent merely
by a gold dot. Compass roses are less conspicuous though
in the style of the small roses on the preceding charts,
and the ribbon scroll in which is represented the scale of
miles is the same pattern.
7. Chart seven represents the entire iEgean Sea with
the neighboring coast regions. As in the preceding
chart ships are artistically sketched sailing the sea, and
the towns, as well as all coast-places bearing name, are
preceded by a gold dot.
21. VINCENTIUS PRUNES, 1597.
A small portolan chart of the year 1597. Its dimen-
sions are 17 x 54 cm. The author legend near the upper
border on the left reads, " Vincentius prunes in civis
majoricarum me fecit anno 1597."
Neither Uzielli e Amat nor Nordenskiold refers to
this chart-maker, although they make brief mention of
Matteo Prunes as a Majorcan cartographer whose work
belongs to the second half of the sixteenth century.
In the tongue extension on the left is a miniature of
the Virgin and Child resting on a cloud, underneath which
are the heads of three cherubs.
The sheet being so much longer than broad would
apparently call for at least two systems of crossing
points. Instead but one is represented with its centre
in the island of Sardinia. The circumference of the
circle in which the sixteen points appear passes through
the Adriatic on the right and the east coast of Spain
on the left. The lines passing through those points are
extended to the borders of the sheet. Numerous paral-
lel lines cross the sheet from north to south and from
east to west at intervals of about five degrees.
Along the upper and also along the lower border a
scale of miles is represented.
The chart includes the entire Mediterranean, also the
Atlantic coast region, from Cape Finisterre to Cape
Cantin, with an extensive nomenclature, but no interior
regional names are given. Ten miniature representations
of cities are drawn, over each of which is an appropriate
The chart is well preserved, though evidently very
slightly reduced from its original size by trimming.
22. ANONYMOUS ATLAS, second half of 16th
An atlas containing three portolan charts of the late
sixteenth century, bound in brown boards. Each chart
is 40 x 58 cm. in size. It is the work of an unknown
French cartographer. The continental coasts and most
of the islands are colored. The chief ornamentation con-
sists of compass roses, each of which has eight points, the
central one in charts two and three being located in the
island of Sicily, and there are somewhat elaborate car-
touches, in each of which a scale of miles is represented.
1. Chart one represents the Grecian Archipelago, in-
cluding a section of the coast of Asia Minor, " Natolie,"
the island of " Candie " very prominent, the east coast
of the Grecian peninsula, " Grece," and " Morea," and
the coast of " Romanic" Chios and Rhodes are made
conspicuous by means of their color and the silver
2. Chart two represents the entire Mediterranean,
the entrance to the Black Sea, the west coast of Spain,
and the coast of Africa to Cape Cantin. Certain coast
regions and islands have been made especially con-
spicuous by color. Regional names in large capital let-
ters are inscribed, as " Spagne," " Europe," " Asie,"
" Barbarie," " Afrique." This sheet has the tongue
extension on the left.
3. Chart three includes about the same as the pre-
ceding, except that nothing beyond the Strait of Gibraltar
is represented, and it is drawn on a somewhat larger
scale. Sicily is made the centre of the group of sixteen
crossing points, although not in the centre of the sheet,
and a second crossing point is indicated in the eastern
Mediterranean, which, however, is not represented as the
centre of a system.
The atlas is well preserved in all its details.
23. ANONYMOUS ATLAS, close of the 16th
A portolan atlas containing three charts, belonging
to the closing years of the sixteenth century, in size
35 x 62 cm. Though unsigned and undated it presents
many features suggesting that it is the work of a mem-
ber of the Oliva family. The drafting is exquisitely
done, the decorations of each sheet showing workmanship
of a superior quality.
1. Chart one represents the Mgean Sea with all of
its neighboring coasts to the west, the north, and the
east, with the island of Crete at the south. The coasts
are colored with certain sections very conspicuous. It
contains a scale of miles in an elaborate cartouche stretch-
ing entirely across the northern boundary, or as it appears
in the atlas, on the extreme right. Compass roses are
numerous, though not conspicuous, and the compass lines
are rather more numerous than is usual by reason of
the fact that each of the sixteen crossing points is con-
nected with every other point, the lines being extended
to the border of the chart.
2. Chart two includes the entire Mediterranean, with
a very limited section of the southwest coast of the Black
Sea, and terminates in the west at Gibraltar. Sixteen
pictures of important cities appear. The Nile with its
numerous branches is represented, as is Golgotha sur-
mounted with the three crosses. The chart furnishes an
excellent example of an attempt to represent along the
20. DOMINICUS DE VALLARROEL, CIRCA 1590. CHART THREE OF ATLAS
coasts rocky promontories and sand shoals. In each of
the four corners a scale of miles is drawn with a half
3. Chart three represents the Atlantic coast of
Europe and Africa from Holland to the mouth of the
Senegal River, including the British Islands, the Azores,
the Madeira, and the Canary Islands. Along the west-
ern, or as it appears on the chart as placed in the
atlas, the upper border, the degrees of latitude are rep-
resented on a conspicuously drawn meridian line. Com-
pass roses are numerous, and the crossing lines are
arranged as on the other charts of the atlas. Two cities
are represented in picture in France, three in Spain, and
two in Africa. There is a mountain range in France
running north and south and one similarly represented
in the African desert with a spur extending to the
southwest. A scale of miles is represented in the corner
of the chart nearest Ireland, and one in an elaborate
cartouche in Africa.
24. ANONYMOUS CHART, 16th century.
A small parchment sheet of the sixteenth century,
24 x 37 cm. in size.
It is clearly a double page chart from an atlas, hav-
ing a narrow strip attached on the right to give the
pages the requisite size.
In the upper corner on the right the name " Rocco
Bagli " has been written, which is probably the name of
a one-time owner. Compass lines and compass cards are
represented with the usual system of crossing lines. A
scale of miles is drawn in the upper corner on the right.
Along the border of the sheet, and outside the colored
border, is a prominent representation of degrees of lati-
tude, though numbers are not given.
Color was liberally used, especially for compass cards,
and along the coasts. Malta and Rhodes are covered
with the cross of the Knights of St. John, but no cities
are distinguished by miniatures, nor are flags or banners
The chart includes the eastern Mediterranean from
the island of Sicily. " Asie " across Asia Minor, and
" Barbarie " in northern Africa, are the only regional
The chart is not one of great importance. It is in
a fair state of preservation.
25. ANONYMOUS CHART, late 16th century.
A chart of the late sixteenth century, 18 x 19 cm.
in size. In the lower corner on the left is the name
" Bogali," probably that of a former possessor. It in-
cludes the Tyrrhenian Sea with the adjacent coasts and
islands, and has the usual crossing lines, with one com-
pass rose. An ornamentation in the lower corner, near
the inscribed name, suggests that it is the work of a
French draftsman, though the nomenclature is Italian.
The chart is not that of a careful, expert workman, nor
is it one of great scientific value. Apparently it is a
sheet from an atlas, greatly reduced from its original size.
The names are all legible, though the sheet is considerably
26. VINCENTIUS DEMETRIUS VOLCIUS, 1600.
A portolan chart dated 1600, being 46 x 85 cm. in
size. In the upper corner on the left is the author
legend, " Vinus demetrei Volcius Rachuseus Fecit in
terra Liburni de 13 Ianuari 1600." This chart is here
first made known, but other portolan charts by Volcius
which have been described bear dates 1593, 1596, 1598,
1601, and 1607. It includes the entire Mediterranean
with the Atlantic coast from Cape Finisterre to Cape
Bojador. The centre of the circle in which the sixteen
crossing points appear is in southern Italy. There are
five compass or wind roses, and on both the upper
and the lower border a scale of miles has been
The chart is remarkably clean and well preserved,
having a considerable tongue extension on the left, and
a narrow black border making an angle in the tongue
extension, which border is omitted on the right.
27. MAIOLO E VISCONTE, 1605.
A portolan chart of the year 1605. In size it is 58
x 81 cm. In the tongue extension of the chart is a re-
presentation of the Virgin and Child, and the date 1605,
which, however, has been crudely altered to 1505. To
the right, and slightly below the picture of the Virgin,
is the author legend, " Carta nauticatoria di mano de
Baldasaro da Maiolo e Giouan Antonio de Visconte fatta
nell' anno 1605 in Genoua," the year as here given having
been also changed by the same hand.
Baldasaro was the last descendant of the famous
Maiolo family of Genoa, especially distinguished as chart-
makers in the sixteenth century. Apparently only two
other charts of Baldasaro's are known, one of 1566, and
one of 1583. Giovan Antonio was likewise a member
of a famous family, of which family Pietro Vesconte
was a member, whose name appears on the oldest-known
portolan chart bearing date.
Compass cards are numerous, though not elaborate
in design: a very simple scale of miles is represented on
the upper and also on the lower border.
The chart represents the Mediterranean, the Black
Sea, a small section of the Red Sea, the Atlantic coast
of Europe from Gibraltar to Holland, and in faint out-
line a section of the Baltic and the southern extremity
of Scandinavia, the coast of Africa to " rio doro," the
British Islands, the Azores, the Madeira, the Canary
Islands, and the fabulous islands " Maida " and " Brazil."
Colored groups of turrets with flying banners represent
the larger cities, among which Genoa, Venice, and Con-
stantinople are especially conspicuous. In all eighteen
cities are so distinguished. Much care seems to have
been exercised with reference to the insertion of the
In its colors and nomenclature the chart is well pre-
served, though the sheet has been slightly stained and
torn in the margins.
28. JOANNES OLIVA, early 17th century.
Portolan chart of the first quarter of the seventeenth
century, 51 x 96 cm. in size. In the upper corner on
the left is a somewhat faded representation of Christ on
the cross, to the right of which, and somewhat below it,
is the inscription: "Joannes Oliva fecit in civitate
Liburni aflo domini . . ." the numbers representing
the year having been erased.
The author was a member of the famous Oliva family,
coming originally from the Balearic Islands, and later
having its representatives in many localities in Italy.
Nine other single parchment charts and two atlases of
his are known; the chart here described being apparently
Fifteen compass roses adorn the chart, though not all
of the same design, the central one being located on the
island of Sicily, from which the thirty-two lines radiate.
A scale of miles appears on the upper border, and on
the lower the scale is recorded three times in a long wav-
ing scroll. Latitude is represented on a meridian cross-
ing the chart east of the heel of the boot of Italy. The
chart represents the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
with a small section of the Atlantic coast from Lisbon
to Cape Cantin.
The three continents are designated by name. In
Africa the river Nile is drawn, and in Palestine Golgotha
with the three crosses.
The nomenclature is in Catalan, or in Italian with
distinct Catalan forms, and as usual the names are in
red and black. It is an interesting fact that those written
in red are best preserved.
Over Rhodes, Chios, and Malta the cross is represented.
The chart is very well executed, but is somewhat in-
jured along the edges, and in parts is slightly faded.
29. PLACITUS CALVIRO ET OLIVA, early 17th
A portolan chart of the early seventeenth century,
in size 53 x 100 cm.
On the left in the tongue extension is the author
legend, " Placitus Calviro et Olivia fecit in nobile urbe
messana . . ." Numerous charts signed as here are
known, possessing no superior scientific value, though
well drawn and elaborately decorated. The date of this
chart has been erased apparently with the thought of
substituting another for the original. In the extension on
the left is a miniature of the Madonna and Child. It is
furnished with an elaborate border ornament, except on
the right, where this appears to have been cut away.
Degrees of latitude are represented on the left.
The chart includes the Mediterranean, the Black Sea,
part of the North Sea, the Atlantic coast from Holland
to a point near Cape Verde in Africa, with the British
Islands, the Madeira and the Canary Islands. It is a
chart elaborately ornamented, especially in Africa. West
of Spain in the " Mare Oceano " two ocean monsters are
represented. Various animals are to be seen in Africa,
and palm trees are numerous. There are many minia-
ture representations of cities, each with its appropriate
banner. The three continental names have been in-
scribed, also Golgotha with the three crosses, and the Nile
River, " Flume Nillo." No less than twelve rulers appear
in their respective countries, each in full figure, with his
appropriate shield. These represent " R. de Spania,"
" R. de Francia," " Imperator," " R. de Ungaria," " R.
de Russia," " Gran Turc," " Gran soldano di Babilonia,"
" R. de Tripoli," " R. de Tunis," " R. de Alger," " R. de
Fes," * R. de Maraco."
The purely geographical parts of the chart, including
the coast lines and nomenclature, are very much faded,
but the ornamentation is well preserved.
30. ANONYMOUS CHART, early 17th century.
A large parchment chart of the early seventeenth cen-
tury, 77 x 93 cm. in size. It is unsigned but the general
character of the draftsmanship and the brief inscrip-
tion near the scale of miles reading, " Duytsche Mylen 15
voor een Graedt," suggests that it had its origin in the
Netherlands though in the main the nomenclature is
As the chart represents the territory of especial in-
terest to the Dutch West India Company, it is probable
that it was drawn for use on one of its ships, and not
long after the year 1621, in which year that company
was founded. Later settlements in west Africa and
Brazil are not represented. The map is covered with a
network of compass lines in which the usual portolan
chart colors appear, and one compass rose has been in-
scribed. Degrees of latitude are indicated which extend
from 45 south to 43 north. On the right is represented
the west coast of Portugal and Africa to the Cape of
Good Hope, and on the left the east coast of South
America from the mouth of the Amazon to the Rio de
la Plata, North America and the West Indies being
omitted. In the upper corner on the right is an inset
map containing the west coast of Europe with the British
Islands as far north as 60 north latitude. The interior
regions are left blank, but the harbors, inlets, headlands,
and mouths of rivers are represented, suggesting that the
map was intended for practical use on shipboard. A
stamp in the middle of the sheet indicates that the chart
earlier belonged to the Depot des Cartes, Plans et Jour-
naux de la Marine in Paris. On the inset map appear
the regional names " Yrlandt," " Schotlandt," " Enge-
landt," " Francia," and " Hispania." In Africa appear
the names "Marocho," "Mandinga," "Guinea,"' "Benin,"
" Loango," " Gout Cust," " Gabon," and " Angola," and
in the New World " Brasilia " and " Terra dos Patos."
The chart is remarkably well preserved and all names are
legible, the names of the Atlantic islands being in red.
81. JOUAN BATTISTA CAVALLINI, 1637.
A portolan chart, once part of an atlas, of the year
1637. It is 42 x 58 cm. in size.
In the upper corner on the left is the author legend,
" Jouan Batta Cauallini in Liuorno Ano 1637." Caval-
lini was a chart-maker of distinction of the city of Leg-
horn, Italy. Uzielli e Amat mention three charts and two
atlases by this author, four of which are dated respectively,
1636, 1639, 1642, 1654, and one undated. It contains
numerous compass roses well executed, from each of which
thirty-two lines radiate. A scale of miles appears in each
corner of the sheet within an elaborately drawn design,
and the chart is furnished with an artistic border. De-
grees of latitude are marked on a line crossing the sheet
to the west of the Madeira Islands.
The chart includes the western Mediterranean and the
Atlantic coast regions from northern France to " Arguin "
in Africa. The names inscribed for the larger areas are
" Spania," " Gallia," " Barbaria," " Africa." Numerous
cities are represented in miniature with banners, and near
each is the name of the province or region in which the
city lies. The provinces so distinguished are in Europe
" Piemonte," " Provenza," " Guascognia," " Navara,"
" Catalognia," " Valenzia," " Cartagena," " Andaluzia,"
" Castiglia," " Portogallo," " Galizia," "Biscaia"; in
Africa "Tunesi," " Costantina," "Algieri," " Oran,"
"Fesse," " Maroco," "Arguin."
32. GEORG. ANDREA EOCKLER, 1650. CHART TWO OF ATLAS.
The elephant, the bear, and the unicorn are represented
The chart is well preserved.
32. GEORG. ANDREA BOCKLER, 1650.
An atlas of four portolan charts of the year 1650,
bound in parchment cover, each chart being 29 x 42 cm.
in size. In the lower corner on the right of chart one
appears the legend, " Georg. Andrea Bockler, Archt. u.
Ingeineur Ffort. 1650." This probably refers to the
author: it may be an inscription of a one-time owner.
We know that at Frankfort a/M. about the middle of
the seventeenth century, there lived a distinguished
architect and engineer by the name here given. Many
of his works are extant, especially certain ones relating
to architecture, to the science of war and heraldry, and
there is also an engraved map of his known representing
biblical history. The atlas appears to be a copy based
wholly upon Italian sources of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, and closely resembles the work of the Oliva
family. Each sheet contains compass roses with the
usual sixteen crossing points arranged about a central
point. We have here a fine illustration of the combination
of wind and compass rose, the eight winds being desig-
nated in the central part of each compass card by ap-
propriate initials, the north, however, having the needle
point in place of the initial T, and the east the Greek
cross, instead of the initial L. Each sheet has a scale
of miles distinctly marked. Flags and banners are
numerous on each chart, as are miniature repre-
sentations of the important cities. The coast lines are
composed of a series of short curves with numerous breaks,
as if to indicate the mouths of streams or rivers.
1. Chart one represents the Atlantic coast of the old
world from Cape Finisterre to a point near the mouth
of the Senegal, including the Madeira and the Canary-
Islands. To the left of these islands a very conspicuous
line is drawn on which degrees of latitude are indicated.
" S.tiago " and " lisbona " are marked with turreted
buildings and banners. Three cities, " Melli," " Ciudat
de boxador," and " S. juan," are so distinguished in
2. Chart two contains the west coast of Europe and
Africa from Holland to Cape Cantin, though the first
point indicated at the north is " dansic ", with the Medi-
terranean coast as far as the meridian of Marseilles,
including also the British Islands, and in the extreme
northwest " Frixlandia," and to the south of this, " ilia de
brasill." The cities made prominent by colored miniatures
include " frixa," " anvero," " Avignon," " barsalona,"
" valensia," " granada," " lisbona," " S.tiago."
3. Chart three includes the Mediterranean from the
north coast of Spain to the Gulf of Corinth. On this
chart Venice and Genoa are made especially prominent
with picture and banner. Five other cities are indicated
in a similar manner.
4. Chart four includes the eastern Mediterranean
and the Black Sea. Banners are particularly numerous
on this chart. " Gerussallem," " Mont de Sinayi," and
"babelonia" (Cairo) are given special prominence.
The Red Sea has not the usual solid red color, but is
crossed with waving red lines.
The atlas is remarkably well preserved.