CARTOGRAPHER:  Giovanni Battista Nicolosi


PUBLISHER: V. Mascardi, Rome, 1670 (second state) as part of an atlas entitled Dell’ Hercole e studio geografico di Gio. Battista Nicolosi…The map is in volume 2 of the book.


TECHNIQUE: copper engraving.


DIMENSIONS: Four sheets, 79 x 92 cm when joined. South at the top. Size of each sheet: 40 x 46 cm


Inset:  Map of France.


CONDITION:  Very good


REFERENCES:  Norwich #45;  Betz #94.


VALUE:  This a scarce and valuable map.


This is a a scarce  and sought-after 17th century Italian map, remarkably finely engraved with south at the top as was the custom amongst Italian cartographers of the time.


Giovanni Battista Nicolosi (1610-1670) was a priest and cartographer in the service of the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide) in Rome. At the request of the Propaganda Fide in 1652, Nicolosi produced an atlas, Dell’ Hercole e studio geografico di Gio in 1660 which contained this map of Africa in 4 sheets. According to Betz (2007:515) the main source for this map appears to be Nicolas Sanson’s map of Africa of 1650.


The map illustrated here is the second state of Nicolosi’s map which differs from the first state (1660) in that it has some additional coastal placenames. Nicolosi’s map is generally conservative and what is unusual is that he does not fill the map with placenames and geographical features based on other travel accounts and information avalaible to him. There are no decorative elements on the map which follows Ptolemaic conventions for its depiction of much of the interior.