Sezione Storica – Fondo Cartografico Losardo – Sala IX (Tavv. XIX – XX)

  • Calabria Citra, olim Magna Graecia (mid XVII century) (Hall IX) (pl. XIX)
  • Calabria Ultra olim alters magnae Graciae pars (mid XVII century) (Hall IX) (pl. XX)

The two maps, representing the Calabria Citra and the Ultra, respectively, can probably be attributed to Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), a prolific Dutch mapmaker, known also as Guilelmus Caesius or Guilelmus Jansonius. He was also a geographer and, for a while, cartographer for the East India Company. When he was 20 years old, he learned astronomy and the art of building mathematical tools, atlases and globes in Denmark from the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), the master of Kepler. After a few years he returned to Amsterdam, where in 1605 he published the Nova universi terrarum orbis mappa, a map of the known world that comprised 18 sheets. He then concentrated on mapmaking, giving birth to a number of works: in 1619 he published the Theatrum Mundi in 1631 using 103 new maps, he realized the Theatri Appendix A. Orteli et Atlantis G. Mercatoris Continens tabulas Geographicas Diversorum Orbis Regionum Nunc Primum Editas Cum Descritionibus, which completes the atlases of Ortelius and Mercator. In 1635 he published, in three volumes, the Theatrum orbis terrarum sive Atlas novus which was republished in several editions, even after his death, by his son Joannes Joan Blaeu (1596 -1673). Joannes continued his father’s work and was the author of a large number of maps.

The engraving Calabria Citra, olim Magna Graecia (680×580 mm) is an oriented representation, with marginal graduation, scale of 5 Italian miles, wind roses, and a beautiful coloured cartouche in the upper right corner.

Some details such as the Mare Gionio (Ionian Sea) and the outline of Calabria recall Magini’s map, with also some common features in the details, in several place names (there is a conspicuous presence of place names in the inland of Cetraro, such as Contessa, Manco della Vite, Lado di Matrono, or Cozzo Pelato in Acquappesa), in the articulated hydrographic network and the pictorialism of the relief. Of course, the bond with Dutch cartographers is strong: the founder, Hondius was the brother in law of his son Joan Jansson Blaeu.

The engraving (680×580 mm) entitled Calabria Ultra olim altera Magnae Graciae pars presents a correct orientation, marginal graduation, wind roses, 15-miles metric scale, coloured cartouche in the lower right corner. Also in this case, the blueprint of Magini’s map is evident, as well as the influence of traditional Dutch engraving and mapmaking.

The engraving is plenty of place names and hydronyms; mountains are depicted in a style that reminds vignettes. However, there are many oversights and imperfections.