Naples, Ayolfus de Cantono 9 November 1496.
4to (215 x 151 mm.). iix], p. Roman type, shoulder notes, initial spaces with printed guide letters, one rubricated three-line initial, one recto with capitals stroked in red, TWO HALF-PAGE WOODCUT AND LETTERPRESS MAPS (each 92 x 92 mm.), FINE WHITE- AND BLACK-LINE WOODCUT FRAME with dolphins, cornucopia, foliage, scholars, lovers and a soldier, Cantono’s white-line woodcut device (Kristeller 111) on the final verso.
Contemporary limp vellum (soiled) with wide leather sewing cords laced through the spine, evidence of four pigskin ties, early and later manuscript spine titles.
“THE FIRST GAZETTEER TO APPEAR FOLLOWING THE LANDFALL OF COLUMBUS IN THE WEST INDIES” (White). In his preface, Lilius freely admits to omitting from his work “certain islands” (p. [ii]) he deemed unimportant as they were not affirmed by traditional authorities.
This is the second edition of the text. The first appeared at Florence in June 1493, just as word of Columbus’ discovery began circulating in print in Italy under the title, Letter on the Islands of India. By the end of 1496, Lilius had expressed hostility to the existence of the New World in his essay “Against the Antipodes” (in Origin and Praise of the Sciences).
His dictionary is a systematic summary of universal geographic and anthropologic knowledge. From Abarimon to Zachynthos, all “known” places and peoples are named and described, including mythologic and fantastic, based on earlier sources.
To illustrate his text HE PROVIDES TWO MAPS, one showing the earth’s climate zones, and the other a T-O map with the disposition of the three continents encircled by the ocean.
This is one of the seven surviving editions signed by Neapolitan printer Ayolfus de Cantono, whose elegant white-line border frame decorates the opening of the text.
In nice condition (two natural paper flaws, one affecting a few sorts), with scattered contemporary marginal notes; contemporary inscription of Fratris Andreae Mocte Castellaci, bookplates of Alfred Ehrman and of his Broxbourne Library (The Broxbourne Library (1978) 378 & reprod.).
¶White, “National Gazetteers of the United States” in Names 18 (1970) 9-19; Klebs, Incunabula scientifica et medica 607.2; Campos, Technology, Scientific Speculation and the Great Discoveries 512-3; Sander, Le Livre à figure italien…jusqu’à 1530 3975; ISTC il00219000; Goff L-219; see Sabin’s A Dictionary of Books Relating to America 41066.