One of the earliest maps of Southeast Asia from the first edition of “Geographia di Claudio Tolomeo” by Girolamo Ruscelli published in Venice in 1561 at Valgrisi. Italian text on the verso that describes the early history and geography of the area. A feature of this first state is that some maps haven’t the platemark at top because two maps were engraved on the same plate and the resulting sheet halved.
Ruscelli’s Atlas is an expanded edition of Gastaldi’s Atlas of 1548, which has been called the most comprehensive atlas produced between Martin Waldseemuller’s Geographiae of 1513, and the Abraham Ortelius Theatrum of 1570. Gastaldi’s maps were beautifully engraved on copper, marking a turning point in the history of cartography. From then on the majority of cartographic works used this medium. As it was a harder material than the wood it gave the engraver the ability to render more detail. Gastaldi sought the most up-to-date geographical information available, and [he] became one of the greatest cartographers of the sixteenth century.
Girolamo Ruscelli (1500-1566) was a cartographer, humanist, and scholar from Tuscany. Ruscelli was a prominent writer and editor in his time, writing about a wide variety of topics including the works of Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch, Italian language, Italian poetry, medicine, alchemy, and militia. One of his most notable works was a translation of Ptolemy’s Geographia which was published posthumously.
There is limited information available about Ruscelli’s life. He was born in the Tuscan city of Viterbo to a family of modest means. He was educated at the University of Padua and moved between Rome and Naples until 1548, when he moved to Naples to work in a publishing house as a writer and proofreader. He remained in the city until his death in 1566.