Slide #256

TITLE: Martellus' World Maps
Henricus Martellus [Germanus]
DESCRIPTION: Henricus Martellus was the one mapmaker who linked the late medieval cartography, just emerging from social, religious, academic and technological constraints, to mapping that reflected the Renaissance and the new discoveries. Little is known of this important German cartographer, probably from Nuremberg, who worked in Italy from 1480 to 1496 and produced a number of important manuscript maps. Martellus's world delineation, drawn in Florence and circulated by an engraved version prepared by Francesco Rosselli, helped to change the face of the world. It is believed that one copy of a Martellus map found its way to Nuremberg and inspired Martin Behaim to make his famous globe of 1492 (Slide #258). Another copy may have reached Christopher Columbus in Spain. These maps depicted graphically the theory that Cipangu [Japan] was but 3,500 miles (5,635 kilometers) westward, and only 1,500 miles (2,415 kilometers) further lay the shores of Cathay [China]. Columbus thus had documentary support for his beliefs about oceanic distances from his readings of earlier cosmographers, Cardinal D'Ailly (Slide #238) and Paolo Toscanelli (Slide #252). This provided him with the 'ammunition' to further promote his plan to sail west to reach the Indies."

The map was constructed on the projection of Claudius Ptolemy, the 2nd century A.D. classical Greek scholar. Ptolemy's geographical writings, largely disregarded during the Christian Middle Ages in Europe, became the basis for the Renaissance in geography. The Martellus delineation included some Ptolemaic dogma in its continental contours and projection but significantly modified and improved upon the ancient model with regards to its contents. Apparently Martellus was the first person to employ Ptolemy's procedures for constructing a his "second projection" (a.k.a. a modified spherical, homeoteric, pseudo-cordiform projection) which used curved meridians and parallels. Ptolemy's Geography (Slide #119) was first translated into Latin and became widely distributed throughout Europe beginning in the early 15th century. The splendid manuscript of Martellus preserved in the National Library at Florence contains thirteen tabulæ modernæ, but is probably later than the earliest printed editions of Ptolemy's Geography. However, Martellus revised the Ptolemaic world map based on Marco Polo's information on Asia, and he incorporated the recent Portuguese voyages to Africa. His is the earliest map to show the African continent as described by Bartholomew Diaz who rounded the Cape of Good Hope on his voyage of 1487-88. In the example of Martellus from the British Library the Mediterranean, western Europe and the west cost of Africa all derive from portolan [nautical] charts, extended to take in the recent discoveries. This map also expanded Ptolemy with some additions to the outline of Scandinavia.

No one at that time had any knowledge of the true position and outlines of East Asia, yet the representation of East Asia is identical on both Martellus' map and Behaim's globe. One was obviously copied from the other for in each the coasts were hypothetical (i.e., invented), unless they had both copied from a common prototype which first revealed such hypothetical coasts. There are, however, important differences between these two cartographic works. The medieval scholar G.H.T. Kimble demonstrated that, as far as 13° south, the nomenclature of West African coasts is 80% identical in the two maps but bears no relation to the nomenclature of any other map of the period. South of that limit, however, the Martellus map gives the outlines and nomenclature of the voyage of Bartholomew Diaz in 1487-88, while the Behaim globe has invented nomenclature corresponding to nothing in Portuguese cartography. The correspondence between the Behaim globe and the 1489 Martellus map consequently ended in 1485, when Diego Cão had returned from his first voyage after reaching 13° south (Cape Santa Maria in the Congo, 1482-1484). This was the time when Behaim, as a member of the King John's mathematical junta, was able to study the map and proposals of Columbus. On the 1489 Martellus map there is an inscription next to the Congo that mentions the commemorative stone (Padrão) that Cão erected at Cape Negro during his second voyage (1485-87) when he reached as far as Cape Cross.

The 1489 Martellus map extends from the Canaries to the east coast of China. No meridians, parallels or scales of longitude are given, but estimates based on measurements of the map indicate about 230° from Lisbon to the coast of China, or 240° from the Canaries. These agree with the distances on the Behaim globe. The coast of Cathay is approximately 130° west of Lisbon on the Martellus map, on the Behaim globe and in the Columbus-Toscanelli concept. The minor differences in location between these three must be seen against the enormous exaggeration of the extent of Eurasia which they exhibit in comparison with all previous estimates. The Catalan Atlas of 1375 (Slide #235) made it 116° east from the Canaries to the coast of China; the Genoese map of 1457 (Slide #248) made it 136°; and the Fra Mauro map of 1459 (Slide #249), about 125°. It is actually 141° from the Canaries to Shanghai.

Who had most to gain from such a reckless exaggeration of the extent of Eurasia and who was the first to do so? Columbus, surely. His entire hopes of gaining support from King John in 1485 for such an enterprise as sailing westward to Cathay rested on his argument that it lay only 130 to 140 degrees to the west. The Behaim globe and the Martellus map seem designed to plead the same cause. But Martellus had no such ambition or motive. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he copied a map which was originally designed to support the ideas of Columbus. Yet that map could not have been completed until early in 1489 for it had complete details of the discoveries of Bartholomew Diaz in his voyage of 1487-88, when he circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope (capo d' esperanza) and reached the Indian Ocean. He returned from this voyage in December 1488 and, within a year, full details, including rich nomenclature, had appeared on the map of Martellus made in Italy; this despite the utmost secrecy on the part of King John of Portugal. The furthest point reached by Diaz, the Rio de Infante [the great Fish River], is duly recorded (ilha de fonti). Even today, the best source for information on the voyage of Diaz is the Martellus map of 1489. The policy of secrecy of King John was shattered in one great leakage by someone in a unique position to know all the details.

Other features of the Martellus map indicate an origin in Lisbon. The representation of East Asia, from the Arctic to 35° south of the equator is new; it extends far to the east of the Ptolemaic limit of 180°; its nomenclature is completely new and based on Marco Polo. A manuscript copy of Polo and his travels was given by the Doge of Venice to Prince Pedro in 1427 and was thereafter in the King's Treasury in Lisbon. Copious marginal notes, in the handwriting of Bartholomew and his older brother Christopher, are found in the Admiral's copy of the printed book of Marco Polo published at Louvain between 1485 and 1490.

The Arctic coasts on the Martellus map and those of north and northwest Europe resemble those of the Fra Mauro planisphere of 1457-9 (Slide #249) rather than those of the Ulm Ptolemy (Slide #119I) of 1482. From Normandy to Sierra Leone the coasts seem to be based on Portuguese discoveries. In the Martellus map the influence the Fra Mauro map is pronounced. The coasts charted by Diaz have been fitted into the circular outline of the world of the Fra Mauro hemisphere, representing such a marked trend to the southeast that the Cape of Good Hope seems to be due south of the Persian Gulf, whereas it is due south of the Adriatic. The Indian Ocean is open to the south, as in the Fra Mauro planisphere. Due south of the Malay peninsula, at 28° south, there appears an enormous peninsula which widens and turns north to join China again with the largely circular concept of the Fra Mauro map. It does not exist in fact, and seems to be a repeat of the Donus Nicolaus map of the world in the Ulm Ptolemy, cut away by the circular outline of Fra Mauro. The Fra Mauro map was made at Murano, near Venice. It was commissioned for King Alfonso V of Portugal and was in Lisbon from 1459 on. Someone with access to it and to the reports of Bartholomew Diaz, drew the prototype of the Martellus map. Two peculiar features in the region of South Africa suggest that Bartholomew Columbus wa the someone.

First, by 1486 the mathematical junta had solved the problem of establishing latitude by measuring the height of the mid-day sun. The actual latitude of the Cape of Good Hope is 34° 22' south based on land measurements by Diaz, who landed three times on the south coast. Measurements of altitudinal height of the sun by astrolabe or quadrant were accurate on land but could be 2° or more out on the rolling deck of a ship. Yet the Martellus map shows South Africa extending across the frame of the map to 45° south. The only other claim that the Cape was at 45 degrees south is in the hand of Bartholomew Columbus.

In the volume of Imago Mundi, found amongst the possessions of Christopher Columbus after his death, there are numerous notes or postils written in the margins or below the printed matter. No. 23 is in the handwriting of Bartholomew, and was identified as his by Bishop Bartolomeo de Las Casas, who knew him well. Arthur Davies has made a long study of the writing of the Columbus brothers and states, without a shadow of doubt, that it is in the hand of Bartholomew. It reads, in translation:

'Note that in the year '88 in the month of December arrived in Lisbon Bartholomew Diaz, Captain of three caravels which the Most Serene King of Portugal had sent to try out the land in Guinea. He reported to the same Most Serene King that he had sailed beyond Yan 600 leagues, namely 450 to the south and 250 to the north, up to a promontory which he called Cabo de Boa Esperanza [Cape of Good Hope] which we believe to be in Abyssinia. He says that in this place he found by the astrolabe that he was 45° below the equator and that this place is 3,100 leagues distant from Lisbon [19,850 km]. He has described this voyage and plotted it league by league on a marine chart in order to place it under the eyes of the Most Serene King himself. I was present in all of this.

Bartholomew was present when Diaz reported to King John. It indicates that he was high in the confidence of the King as an expert cartographer, otherwise he would not have been present at such a secret occasion. It shows that he had the task of adding new discoveries to a Portuguese world map. He alone maintained that Africa reached to 45 degrees south, as on the Martellus map.

Secondly, no one in Lisbon knew of this 45° assertion. It was done probably in Seville after he joined his brother, entering the postil in Imago Mundi and altering his prototype map at the same time. Two unusual features of the Martellus map reveal this late alteration:

(a) Africa has been extended to 45° south only by showing it as breaking through the frame of the map. It seems that the prototype originally showed the Cape at 35° south, well clear of the frame at about 41° south, as one would expect of a competent cartographer.

(b) The second peculiarity is a legend off the east coast of Africa which reads: ultima navigatio Portug. A.D. 1489. This dates the legend as 1489, probably in January of that year, just before Bartholomew went to Seville. This legend has baffled scholars. On the face of it, seeing it on the Martellus map, it asserts that Diaz had proceeded north along the cast coast of South Africa to beyond Natal. His furthest point, in fact, was the Rio de Infante [Great Fish River] on the south coast, at 34° south. The legend is also at 33° to 34° south. It appears to be north of Natal only because Africa is shown as extending to 45° south. According to Davies, this is conclusive evidence that the prototype originally terminated at 35°, with the legend correctly placed near it. When Bartholomew altered the prototype map to 45° south, he was unable to remove the legend.

What purpose was served by extending Africa to 45° south? It was not to influence King John, who knew that the Cape was at 34.5° south. It was to influence the Catholic Sovereigns who were in the dark owing to the intense secrecy by Portugal regarding discovery. This suggests that the alteration was made in Seville. It suited Columbus admirably and it is likely that Bartholomew made the change at his direction. Columbus hoped Spain would support a voyage westward to Cipangu, 85° away, and to Cathay 130° to the west. At that latitude one degree was thought to be 50 miles (80 km), according to the Toscanelli letter, so that Japan was only 4,250 miles (7,200 km) west. To reach India around Africa would involve sailing north-to-south for 39+45=84 degrees, each of 67 miles (108 km); then north to India, another 45+15 degrees; together with 83° of eastering (Lisbon to Mangalore). All told such a voyage to India would total 227 degrees or 15,000 miles (24,000 km). The extra ten degrees in shifting the Cape to 45° south meant more than twenty degrees extra distance in a voyage to India. Moreover, and perhaps this was the decisive factor, it would take Portuguese ships to nearly 50° south to round Africa, into what Diaz had already found to be the roughest seas encountered anywhere in the world. Bartholomew, in 1512, gave evidence in the Pleitos (the great lawsuit of the Columbus family versus the Crown of Spain) and declared that he had gone about with his brother in Spain helping to gain support for his enterprise. His prototype map would have been a powerful argument.

Another peculiar feature of the Martellus map is the enormous peninsula commencing due south of Aureus Chersonesus [the Malay peninsula] at 28 degrees south, thereafter widening to reach China. It is a relic of the continuous coastline that linked southeast Asia to South Africa in Ptolemaic world maps, and it needs a name to identify it in argument. It bears a rough resemblance to the hind leg and huge paw of a tiger which is facing west. Davies, in his discussion of this map refers to it as the Tiger-leg peninsula; in others it is referred to as Catigara. It did not exist in fact but, on the prototype map of Bartholomew and on the Martellus map, it served an important purpose. It seems to render impossible voyages of Arab ships or Chinese junks between Ceylon and China. Although the Columbus brothers knew that Marco Polo had returned from China by this sea route, they inserted this great obstruction of Tiger-leg by 1485. It would show King John that even if the Portuguese reached India they could not reach the Spice Islands (which were on the equator east of Tiger-leg ) without having to make long voyages into the southern stormy seas. For King John and for the Catholic Sovereigns it showed that Spain could easily reach Cathay and then the Spice Islands, secure from all interference from Arabs or Portuguese in the Indian Ocean. Columbus may deceived himself regarding the existence of Tiger-leg but, since it suited his plans so admirably, one suspects that he asserted its existence just as he later made the Cape of Good Hope to be at 45 degrees south.

Tiger-leg must have formed part of the map and the proposals which Columbus made to King John of Portugal in 1485, for it was embodied in Portuguese cartography thereafter for half a century. It was in the prototype drawn by Bartholomew, copied by Martellus in 1489. The Behaim globe has placed it 30° south. The Laon globe, made in France about 1493 (probably by Bartholomew Columbus when he served Anne, Regent of France) has Tiger-leg to 40° south. It is shown to more than 25° south in the Cantino map of 1502 (Slide # 309),Canerio map of 1504, the Waldseemüller maps of 1507, 1513 (Slide #312) and many others. It was one of the boldest and cleverest concepts of the Admiral.

This world map is utterly without the amount of adornment typical of earlier maps of this period, i.e., princes, castles, animals, etc. (the only remanents are some castellated towns in Asia). The mountains are shown using a standardized symbol colored in brown, the oceans and rivers are painted blue, the forests of Scandinavia are singled out with symbolic tress in green and there is very little labeling of land areas except along the northern and western coast of Africa where there is an inordinate number of places identified compared to the remainder of the world's land areas.

In 1963, Alexander 0. Vietor, then Map Curator of Yale University, reported a gift by an anonymous donor 'in the form of a magnificent painted world map signed by Henricus Martellus, approximately six feet by four feet (180 x 120 cm). Signora Carla Marzoli of Milan, in a private communication, stated that this large map 'had left Italy into the possession of family centuries ago and had been lodged in a Swiss bank for safety, for a long time.' In 1959, through trade channels, she learned that this map was for sale. She examined it and saw its connection with the Martellus map in the British Museum and with the conceptions of Columbus. At her request, Roberto Almagia and Raleigh Skelton examined it and pronounced it authentic. She bought it and sold it to the donor, who gave it to Yale. Scholars all over the world owe her and the donor a great debt of gratitude. The fact that the map had been put away in a Swiss bank for perhaps 60 years explains why it went unobserved. Vietor, who described it as extraordinary for size and precision of execution, went on to state:

'It is painted in what seems to be tempera over a base of paper in sheets of different sizes, the whole backed up with a large framed canvas, much in the manner of a painting, and drawn, as the illustration shows, in the Waldseemüller world map of 1507. It has graduations of latitude and of longitude in the margins, the first instance of longitudes being shown on a map . . . On this map Cipangu is placed 90 degrees from the Canaries.'

The east-west extent from the Canaries to the coast of China is about 235°, which agrees with the Toscanelli-Columbus concept and with the 1489 Martellus map now in the British Museum. The two maps are nearly identical but there are two major differences. The 'Yale' map has Cipangu in the ocean 30° east of Cathay. It extends from 7° north to 31° north of the equator. Its shape, outline and position are identical with the representation of Cipangu on the Behaim globe (Slide #258). The Martellus map in the British Museum is less than 20 inches (50 cm) from west to east, and is on a scale one-quarter that of the Yale map. Its size was governed by the two folios of the codex [or collection] on which it is drawn. To have included Cipangu would have required a scale reduced one-sixth, too small to permit of legible nomenclature. The second major difference is that, while the coasts from Normandy to Sierra Leone, on the Yale map, are based on the world map of Donus Nicolaus of 1482, the corresponding coasts on the British Museum Martellus uses a Portuguese map for them. Nevertheless, the Cape of Good Hope is at 45° south on the Yale map, Tiger-leg extends to 33° south, and Africa breaks through the frame of the map in both. One map has been copied from the other, at one-quarter the scale. The Yale map was the original, or prototype, and was the joint product, according to Davies, of the Columbus brothers. As such, it is of enormous value, academic and financial.

The sheets of paper on which the Yale map is drawn are of different sizes, which excluded the possibility that they were printed map sheets, for they would then have had to be the same size to fit within the map portfolio. In a private communication of June 1972, Vietor stated that X-ray examination had revealed no evidence of printing on the paper sheets and that was hand-drawn, Iettered and colored. He added: 'unfortunately the physical state of the map makes reading the legends almost impossible.' The few names which are legible, mainly in the Indian Ocean, are in formal capitals, beautifully executed, as are two lengthy legends in the lower corners of the map. Fortunately, Martellus copied most of the nomenclature and legends on to the smaller map, now in the British Museum, so the 'Yale' Martellus can recover them without difficulty.

Little is known of Henricus Martellus Germanus. In 1489 he produced a codex with maps and text, which he called Insularium Illustration. This is a series of handsomely drawn and painted islands, with accompanying descriptive text in Latin, all done on parchment folios bound in leather-covered boards. It is listed in the British Museum as Additional Manuscript 15760. It survives in almost perfect condition for it has been so little used in 500 years that its colors, features and lettering, preserved from light, dust and the chemical impurities in air, seem as fresh as when Martellus made it in 1489. Folio 1 commences with an inscription in Latin giving the title Illustrated Islands by Henrici Martelli Germani and stating that it will present 'all of the islands of our Mediterranean Seas'. Martellus was commissioned to do his codex because he was versed in the new and beautiful humanist script of Italy, used throughout in the text, and for his talents as a painter and decorator of maps. Mountains are in brown and gold, rivers in light blue, while forests have tree symbols in green. In every case, the island is set in a dark blue sea which extends to the rectangular margin of the picture. Each island-picture is surrounded by a frame, drawn and painted in ivory to give the impression of a carved wood frame, suggesting a picture hanging on a wall. Such picture-islands occupy nearly all the folios, making an Atlas of Islands, and are then followed by a superb picture-map of Italy, taken from the 1482 world map of Donus Nicolaus. The islands in this codex were copies from the Ulm Ptolemy, from the Isolario of Bartolomeo de li Sonetti printed in Venice in 1485, and from other sources.

Then comes the most original and remarkable world map of the century. It was not foretold on Folio 1 and is clearly an unexpected addition to the codex of picture-islands. It uses the homeopathic (heart-shaped) projection, as far as can be judged, for it lacks meridians and parallels and scales. Next come three regional maps, striking because of the enormous nomenclature on the coasts. The first is of western Europe and Morocco, cut off in the east through the center of France; the second starts from this line and extends east as far as Naples and Tunis. These two maps, it is evident, were copied from one original. The third map is of the Black Sea region. Martellus had been required by his patron to include in the codex a world map and regional maps which had just come into his possession in 1489. His great talent for such an exacting task was his skill as a draughtsman-cartographer experienced in altering the scale of maps of islands that he was copying. He did this to fit the folios of the codex.

Almagia (1940) stated that he had identified no less than three manuscript maps of the world signed by Martellus, all virtually identical with that in the codex in the British Museum. He dated them to 1490. They all omitted Cipangu but he found a separate map of Cipangu in a codex which had the same outlines as those in the Behaim globe of 1492 . The three manuscript maps were larger in scale and showed more detail than the codex world map. According to Davies, the sequence now becomes clear. The sheets of the 'Yale' Martellus, together with certain regional maps, were acquired by the patron. Martellus assembled the paper sheets, stuck them on a canvas backing, made his characteristic rectangular picture frame for it and colored the seas in dark blue. Then he signed it. He then made a copy on a quarter of the scale, covering two parchment folios of the codex, to be included in it. He copied the regional maps and included them. Lastly he made three manuscript maps from the codex world map, larger in scale.

When Columbus left Lisbon in 1485 for Spain, Bartholomew, with his highly trained skills as a cartographer in the Genoese style, stayed on in the map workshop of King John II. He was engaged in building up a large map of the world based on Donus Nicolaus and on Portuguese charts. It was, like all important maps at that time, drawn on sheets of parchment which could be joined together almost invisibly, and mounted on linen. This large map, 180 cm by 120 cm, formed a standard Portuguese world map, continually added to by new discoveries, including those of Cão and Diaz. By the beginning of 1489, Columbus faced poverty and failure in Spain; his pension had been ended in 1488 and he no longer had free board and lodging from Medina-Celi or the Marquess de Moya. Bartholomew prepared to join him in Spain and help his project. They needed money and, in particular, the vital and continued support of the Bank of St George in Genoa. They got both. Money could be obtained from the sale of maps kept secret in Portugal. Before leaving Lisbon, Bartholomew copied maps of convenient size. The large standard world map he had to copy in some secrecy and, because of its size, he needed 11 sheets of paper, cheaper, and thinner and quieter than parchment. These sheets of the 'Yale' Martellus were tracings in the hand of Bartholomew. Early in 1489 he left Lisbon. He went first to Seville to help his brother and there altered the Yale map by substituting another sheet of paper which showed Africa to 45° south. Then he visited Italy to sell maps and to gain the support of the Bank of St. George. Antonio Gallo, Chancellor of the Bank of St. George, was also official chronicler of Genoa. After Columbus returned from discovering Asia, as was claimed by him at the time, his name rang through Europe. Yet Gallo took the occasion to record his knowledge (in his chronicles) of the Columbus brothers. What is astonishing is that he gave all the credit for conceiving the enterprise to Bartholomew, who first thought it out and entrusted it to his older brother, who was more used to the sea. This account of Gallo was copied, almost verbatim by Serenega in 1499 and by Giustiniani in 1516. Bartholomew left Genoa as a youth in 1479 and officially made only one further visit to Italy, in 1506. Gallo could have acquired knowledge of the role of Bartholomew only from his own lips, in 1489. Thereafter the Bank supported Columbus from time to time with credits.

Behaim copied from the map submitted to King John in 1485 by the Columbus brothers. On his globe (Slide #258), South Africa, between 23 and 28° south, extends a horn of land for hundreds of miles due eastward into the Indian Ocean. It is a relic of the Fra Mauro map, which had Africa extending eastward to this extent, but in a great curve from the equator. It indicates that, in 1485, Columbus used Fra Mauro for Africa south of the equator in the map he submitted to the Portuguese monarch. The Martellus maps of 1489 show that Columbus and his brother Bartholomew relied on authority in their 1485 map, on Donus Nicolaus and Fra Mauro. But they altered authority in three ways even at that stage. First, by extending Asia eastwards to 240° from the Canaries. Second, by inventing the great obstruction of Tiger-leg. Third, by placing Cipangu as only 90° west of Lisbon. In 1489, they extended Africa to 45° south. Such alterations were all to the advantage of Columbus, unscrupulous no doubt, but they earn our admiration for the sheer audacity of the great discoverer.

These two world maps by Martellus represent, along with Martin Behaim's famous globe of 1492, the last view of the old pre-Columbian world as perceived by western Europe before the great expansion of the world picture during the subsequent twenty years. The huge Martellus manuscript world map at Yale University is supremely important because it shows the division of latitude and longitude into degrees. This enables scholars to trace Columbus's thinking with some measure of certainty; he used this map to confirm his idea that Japan was only 90° west of Lisbon, when it was actually more than twice that far. The Yale map by Martellus does not show the western ocean as did Toscanelli (Slide #252), being bounded in the east by Cipangu [Japan] and in the west by the Canary Islands; but its graduation in longitude admits an interval of 90° between the Canaries and Cipangu (Toscanelli allowed 85°; and the corresponding figure on the Behaim globe is 110°). Cipangu is only shown on the Martellus map at Yale.

The Yale example shows more of the Ocean Sea in the Far East than does the British Library manuscript. Among the thousands of islands Marco Polo reported off the coast of Asia, an enormous Sumatra and Java are found in the south, while to the northeast is the huge island of Cipangu [Japan]. In the Indian Ocean, the islands of Madagascar and Zanzibar, rather poorly drawn, add an intriguing aspect. Some historians claim that their presence indicates the map cannot be dated before 1498, when Vasco da Gama returned with news of his voyage to India. Others, pointing out how crudely these islands are portrayed, assert that since this represents more Marco Polo information there is no conflict with the map s accepted date.

Martellus' shape of the world represents the most complete knowledge of the day. The map is remarkable for its exciting new information, although being imperfect because of its acceptance of classical and medieval antecedents. It was the most accurate delineation available to Martin Behaim when he constructed his globe exhibiting the pre-Columbian world. Columbus himself could find no better map to show him the way to Asia. These two are the only two extant non-Ptolemaic world maps of the 15th century to be graduated in latitude and longitude and so to convey a precise estimate of the width of the ocean between westernmost Europe and easternmost Asia. In its general geographical design the more famous Behaim globe derives from a map of Martellus type, if not by him.

Francesco Rosselli was one of the earliest known map stockists and map sellers; in addition he was an important map-maker whose cartographic output spans the decades of the great discoveries. He worked in Florence prior to 1480, then was away from Italy for about two years before returning to his home town where he was active until his death some time after 1513. Many of the maps sold by him (as evidenced by an inventory taken after his son's death in 1527) have perished but the following world maps are attributed to his hand:

1. 1482, copperplate, for Berlinghieri's version of Ptolemy. (Conjectural)
2. 1492-93, copperplate.
3. ca.1500, copperplate, one sheet of multi-sheet world map. (Conjectural)
4. 1506, copperplate, the Contarini-Rosselli world map.
5. ca.1508, oval copperplate, later woodcut version with added text in 1532.
6. ca.1508, rectangular copperplate.

Rosselli's copper-engraved, printed world map of 1492-93 measuring 375 x 525 mm. was discovered in Florence in company with four other regional maps and, it is surmised, they were intended as part of a new edition of Ptolemy. It is a cleanly-engraved copperplate, with finely-stippled sea and six characteristic loose-haired windheads grouped round the border of the map. Like its model, the projection is the barrel-shaped (homeoteric, or modified spherical) 'second projection' of Ptolemy.

The map's most prominent feature is, like the Martellus model, the new outline of Africa, now quite separate from Asia, and reflecting the rounding of the Cape by Bartolomeu Diaz in 1487. The British Isles and Scandinavia are also shown more correctly for the first time. A legend at the bottom referring to the date 1498 is clearly an error for 1489, and has been copied as such from the 1489 Martellus manuscript world map with obviously similar geographic content to that of Rosselli. The 1490 map by Martellus was also almost certainly known to Rosselli. This map is significant because of its large size (108 x 190 cm), and because it is on the same pseudo-cordiform projection later adopted by Waldseemüller for his wall map of 1507. When originally described by Vietor, Martellus' map was also thought to be a printed map, but subsequent examination has shown that it is a heavily-illuminated drawing on a large scale.

LOCATION: British Library, Additional MS. 15760, ff.68v-69, London, England
Yale University Beinecke Library, New Haven, Connecticut
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence; BL Add. MS. 15760.f.69

*Bagrow, L., History of Cartography, p. 106, Fig. 26.
*Crone, G.R., Maps and their Makers, pp. 71, 80-81.
*Davies, A., "Behaim, Martellus and Columbus", The Geographical Journal, pp. 450-459.
*Destombes, M., Mappemondes, A.D. 1200-1500, pp. 229-233, #52.17.
Harley, J.B., The History of Cartography, Volume I, pp. 187, 316.
*Harvey, P.D.A., Medieval Maps, pp. 52, 55, 69, Plate 39 (color).
*Humble, R., The Explorers, p. 10 (color).
*Levenson, J.A., Circa 1492, p. 230 (color).
*Nebenzahl, K., Atlas of Columbus, pp. 15-17, Plates 5a/5b (color).
*Ravenstein, E.G., Martin Behaim, pp. 66-67.
*Shirley, R.W., The Mapping of the World, pp. 16-17, XXIII, plate 4 (color), plate 24.
Skelton, R.A., The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation, p. 155.
*Winsor, J., Narrative and Critical History of America, p. 122

* illustrated

Index of Late Medieval Maps