Sezione Storica – Fondo Cartografico Losardo – Sala IX (Tav. VII)

  • Itala nam tellus/Graecia Maior erat (1595) (showcase, Hall IX)  (pl. VII)

The Graecia Maior and the very small Neapolitanum Regnum maps should be attributed to Abraham Ortelius (also Ortels, Oertel, Orthellius, italianized in Abramo Ortelio, b. in Antwerp, 1528-1598), a well-known geographer and cartographer, the founder of Flemish cartography along with Mercator. He was the author of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, one of the first complete collections with a common scale, done in collaboration with the most important European cartographers and engraved by Franz Hogenberg, twenty-five years before the Mercator Atlas (it was published in 42 editions until 1612, in seven different languages).

Ortelius also published several historical maps, some of which were incorporated in the Theatrum. Between 1579 and 1606,  his Parergon Theatri containing a reproduction of Tabula Peutingeriana was published.

The first map of the Losardo Collection, Itala nam tellus / Graecia Maior erat, is a 500×610 mm engraving made in 1595. Probably it was taken from the first edition of Accuratissima orbis delineativo sive geographia vetus, sacra & profana by Georg Horn (1684?), included in Parergon Theatri, an appendix of Ortelius’ historical maps.

It is a mediocre and approximate representation dedicated to his doctor friend Nurenberg, with the East on top and a marginal graduation, but without a metric reference scale. The representation also includes landforms and hydrographic features, in imitation of Prospero Parisio’s map, while the shapes and the drawing style reflect Mercator’s maps . The name Calabria refers to the Salento peninsula, while Calabria itself is referred to as Magna Graecia, Locri and Brutii, while Sicily and Basilicata (also called Andragathia regio) are not specified. Two elaborate cartouches refer to the Tremiti islands, Diomedeae. The narrative takes into account places, peoples and cities, also described with special notations.

The engraving of the Neapolitanum Regnum, 210×170 mm (about ¼ of the original size) is taken in all probability from the Geografia by Giovanni Antonio Magini published in 1596. The map was probably made by Pirro Ligorio and reproduced by Ortelius, without any marginal graduation, scale or orientation, although the North-East is on top. It shows Cape Lacinio with the two columns. As Ligorio’s maps, it contains very little toponymical information.