The 1511 Atlas of Vesconte Maggiolo contains 10 double leaves of vellum with sheets 2 to 10 being examined in text ChAVM/1. This text solely concerns the first sheet, “Dedication Page”, which contains the heraldic emblems, sinister and the map of Corsica, dextra. The text is therefore divided into two sections, the heraldry and the map, and both will be found to have questions remaining. That will be fully understood when the analysis, as far as it can be taken today is completed here-in. The investigation of necessity enters the realm of Biblical History and its allusions and the complexity of family structures concerning the titular rulers of Corsica and Naples/Sicily.
However a necessary appendix is a discussion of the Naples cartographers and why Vesconte Maggiolo should be asked, if he was, to come and produce this atlas!
THE SINISTER OF JCB 08658-001; section one
The sheet is c39 x 27.6cms, being a half sheet and comprises three pairs of Angels supporting three crowns and suspended are two ducal crowns. The central Arms are those of Aragon and with the Cross of Jerusalem in four quarters. It is surmounted by a Ducal Crown and set upon a pillar having the Arms of Aragon there-on.
Either side of this central Shield are two matching shields containing, sinister the Horn of Plenty or Cornucopia and dextra a crowned Lion Rampant horizontally divided perhaps to illustrate two families. These shields are held in the claws of a double headed Eagle, which was the symbol of the Eastern Roman Empire and then of the Holy Roman Empire from the 12th century. Mathew Paris in his “Chronica Majora” c1250 illustrates this fact.
But given that the second half of the page, dextra, is a map of Corsica there is no doubt that it is the Aragonese intervention there that is of import. I am therefore including pages from Medieval Corsica (Wikipedia, as I have no intention of writing a history of Corsica for this text,) which sets down the family lines which may or may not be the key to the story line of the whole first sheet. However Dr Vannina Marchi Van Cauwelaert of the University of Corsica has several texts which are a must to be read for a full understanding of the volatile situation in Corsica. The “Istoria di Corsica” in five books by Anton Pietro Filippini (1529-1594), born at Vescovato on Corsica is available online and is a full description of the island, its coastal areas and the interior, some by obviously being hiked has been used to illustrate changing toponyms etc. The texts by Dr Antoine Franzini of the Laboratoire ACP-UPEM are a must and include “La Corse des XVe siècle, politique et societe, 1423-1483” a very detailed study.
I would also draw your attention to the text, “Kingdom of Italy-Corsi” website which is a detailed summary by years of the situation on Corsica and contains the names of the main characters. Also the History of Cartography, volume III, part 1, chapter 37 which is pages 940-974 and discusses the Aragonese maps for the Kingdom of Naples.
But in all of these studies we must consider the fact that this Atlas was drawn in Naples, Italy and the King of Naples from 27th June 1458 to 25th January 1494 was Ferdinand I, born in Aragon 1423 and was of the House of Trastamara. He used the title King of Naples and Jerusalem and thus it is entirely possible this sinister page refers solely to Neapolitan families and may have nothing to do with Corsica, hence my inclusion of the previous armorials.
However the armorials either side of the main shield are still unknown to me. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was named King of Naples (being Ferdinand’s Grandson) and it is possibly a “nod” to the future by the inclusion of the Double Headed Eagle. Ferdinand II died in 1516 and then Charles V as Charles I from 1516 to 1556 became King of Castile and Leon, Aragon and Sicily, Count of Barcelona and King of Naples as Charles IV. He was HRE, 1530 to 1558 as Charles V. His Armorials for Aragon /Sicily are a shield with the sinister being the Arms of Aragon and dextra being diagonally quartered containing the Arms of Aragon plus two singular Eagles as has previously been illustrated.
PRELIMINARY CONCLUSION FOR FIRST SECTION ONLY
I can only assume that Vesconte Maggiolo would have been told by his client what to draw, and as that client is unknown hence the speculative nature of the research. Most other researchers have speculated a Corsican connection because of the adjacent map of Corsica, but that is possibly not the case. Therefore, until the Armorials are determined, if it is a proper shield, and both are not a figment of the Clients imagination or desire, this first section is concluded sans determination. I add the fact that the “Arxiu de la Corona d’Arago” were unable to assist in determining the Arms and neither have any of the medieval experts I have contacted been able to help and thus it is the case that; Opiniones Meae, Facta Omnibus.
However a post script is necessary; consider the Arms of the Town of “Rafol de Salem” near Valencia, which was an Aragonese holding. They show a crown surmounting a shield which is divided horizontally in the centre with the upper half having the Arms of Aragon and the lower a Cornucopia. I therefore will not discount the idea that the two matching armorials either side of the main shield are that of a township and not a family.
If anybody requires a full description of the two matching armorials using the nomenclature of the specialists, the College of Arms, then the paper by Marie Armand Pascal d’Avezac, 1871, “Atlas hydrographique de 1511 du genois Vesconte de Maggiolo: encore un monument geographique parmi les manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Altamira”, page 11, has it in full.
However, just to be prepared to consider any theory, I offer this; the coat of arms for the Magiolla family in the “insignia Neapolitanorum Genuensium” is a Lion Rampant and thus this could be a play by Vesconte Maggiolo on his own coat of arms, plus Plenty!
THE DEXTRA OF SHEET JCB 08658-001; section 2 of text;
The dextra sheet is investigated in two sections; firstly the monograms and then the map of Corsica are discussed separately. Set out as a symmetrical page it has four monograms comprising two sets of inter-twined letters holding in the centre between the upper and lower letter sets a tableau of 12 persons sitting around an oval table with a green object set centrally within four hemi-spherical forms or scallops as they are drawn to indicate indentations in the table top. Then the map of Corsica is set within this tableau and is to all intents and purposes a geographical format with the “Dela des Monts” featuring as the dominant form it is in reality. The whole is bounded by an acanthus leaf design with shading to lift the drawing out of the page. I draw your attention to the text regarding the history of Corsica, diagram ChAVM/2/D03 and the following sentences;
“ In 1437, after years of more political turmoil, a Diet of Caporali and barons offered the Genoese republic the sovereignty of the isle. By the agreement with Genoa, regular tribute was to be paid, but the Corsicans were allowed to retain their own laws and customs, to be governed by their own bodies, the TWELVE in the north and a new council of SIX in the south, and be represented at Genoa by an orator.”
JCB 08658-001; Dextra
1; The Monogram’s
There are four pairs of monograms with several possible variations, but all appear to be very similar. The draughtsmanship is fraught with difficulty as they are so intertwined that determining the upper and following letters gives the variants. They are all illustrated as pairs with appended readings and some notes to allow other researchers to determine their own reading. The initials are however a mystery, bearing in mind they need not be personal but may represent a religious text etc.
They are as follows;
1) NW/top left/upper; TFPNE or TEPN. There is to my reading a black line across the lower stroke to the right thus making the letter F and subsequently an E as there is also the shadow of the top arm of the E behind the letter P.
ChAVM/2/D08 and /D09
2) NE/top right/ upper; FTENP
3) SW/bottom left/upper; TEPN
4) SE/bottom right/ upper; TLNP
Lower; EDNP or FDNP
ChAVM/2/D10 and /D11
Thus the basic letters are D, E, F, N, P, T, with the most being a mixture of EPND.
The later history of “the Crown of Aragon” is principally that in 1164 the marriage of Petronila, princess of Aragon to the Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer IV created a dynastic union now known as “the Crown of Aragon”. In the 13th century the Kingdoms of Valencia, Majorca and Sicily were added to “The Crown” and in the 14th century the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica.
But in fact Aragon has existed as a county since the 9th century and was roughly the territory of the valleys of Anso, Hecho and Canfranc. Its lineage stems from Count Aznar Galinez and the town of Jaca was to become the capital between 1035 and 1063 when it moved through military victory over the Moors to Huesca and Navarra. In 1068 King Sancho Ramirez (1063-1094) journeyed to Rome and Aragon became a Holy See and part of the Roman Catholic empire protected by the Pope. There is a large lineage thus possibly available for the letters to be attributable. To that end I offer the arms of the Town of Jaca, or Chaca in Aragonese which has the Four Kingly Heads and Patriarchal double cross with three fleur des Lis.
The arms are surrounded by a motto which is; IN CRVCE ET MARIA A VICTORIA ET TROPHEIS GAVDEAMUS; VOS QUI PRIMI ME ELEGISTIS IN REGEM ARAGONUM, Y FEDILISMA Y VENCEDORA.
In translation that is as follows given to me by an eminent university scholar, and lecturer in Ancient History. I copy the words precisely;
I have done a little searching and I think the city’s arms are surrounded by three separate mottos, two in Latin, one in Spanish (or something akin).
1) In cruce et maria et trophies gaudeamus.
“Let us rejoice in the cross and Mary through victory and trophies”
I believe this is derived from the initial capture of jaca from the Moslems. The trophies may be the four heads of Morrish Kings on the arms (?).
2) Vos, qui primi me elegictis in regem aragonum
“You, who first chose me as king of Aragon”
This relates to the election of Ramiro II in 1134, and is taken from the text of a charter issued by him for the city.
3) Fedelisima y vencedora
“Faithful and victorious”.
These seem fairly standard as titles attributed to cities (attested for nearby Tarazona), and I am not sure the exact date of their bestowal. Certainly “vencedora” was given (again?) by Philip V in the early 18th C during the War of the Spanish Succession.
There is also a paper online at; https://www.academia.edu/25271972, by Manuel Monreal Casamayor, entitled Heraldica Jaquesa y su Relacion con la Aragonesa; El escudo de Jaca con la Cruz Patriaerchal con las cabezas de moros conocida por este motiro como Cruz Patriaarchal Jaquesa constituida en el Senat de la Cuidad de Jaca.
He writes; La tradicion, no obstante, corrobora La Battalla de Jaca la Victoria en ella alcanzada, con la confeccion de un escudo de armes, con quarto cabezas de reyes moros, y con la conmemoracion del dia de la Fiesta de la Victoria, en la ermitra de Neustra Senora de eas advovacion, sita en la confluencia de los rios Aragon y gas, donde se cree tuvo lugar.
The Archive of the Crown of Aragon was kind enough to pen this for me; “the four heads referred to the Alcoraz battle (15/11/1096), that of the conquest of Huesca, legend has it that they are the heads of the four Muslim leaders who died on the battlefield. Kings of Aragon began using them in the 14th century. The Fleur de Lis is from the War of Succession 1701-1713, and was awarded to Jaca. The Patriarchal Cross comes from the Kingdom Fief made by Sancho Ramirez (1068)”. The translation of the text is very similar to above.
However I should caution you to wait and read my further notes for the full story.
Thus we have a very distinct religious connection which is amplified by the Patriarchal Cross, and the initials of the monograms could be for any period from the 10th century onwards. It is worth noting that in 1288, the Treaty of Canfranc, mediated by Edward 1st of England was signed here providing for the release of Charles II of Naples from his imprisonment by Peter III of Aragon
However it is possible, if these initials refer to persons they are from the 15th century given that the Atlas was drawn in 1510/1511. I would recommend that anybody wishing to follow up in detail on the personages involved should go to the Foundation of Medieval Genealogy and the paper; fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ ARAGON & CATALONIA.htm., where the complete genealogy is set down, including archival references.
The central shield quartered by Aragon and Jerusalem should indicate that Aragonese nobility were part of the crusades which endeavoured to take and hold Jerusalem, to them the Holy City. But there is no record of an Aragonese Nobleman partaking of a crusade. I can confirm that the Knights Templar had Preceptories and Castles from the 12th century in what was Aragon and is now Catalonia Spain at, Montsaunes, Douzens, Monzon, Mas-Deu Chalamera, Granera, Corbins and Palau, and that Frederick II who was raised in Sicily 1220-1250, King of Sicily aged 3, and not having left Europe won the throne of Jerusalem in 1228, lost it, but won it back in 1229 through diplomacy. However the Regnal Title King of Jerusalem was claimed by several others and of the Aragonese line. Thus it is possible this is an amalgamation of events as one Armorial Shield.
But as with all such investigations the whole Atlas must be studied and to that end the large scale chart JCB 08658-007 indicates Sicily with the Arms of Aragon from the 14th century and the Kingdom of Naples with quartered Aragonese Arms as the chart illustrates and is shown on Diagram ChAVM/2/D13.
ARMORIALS OF THE ARAGONESE LINE, CORSICA AND NAPLES
This text now contains a plethora of diagrams which may be considered the investigative extent necessary to begin discussing this sinister sheet. The armorials of the ruling houses and then the armorials of the main places in the storyline particularly Corsica and Naples and the armorials of the Neapolitan families are very similar and show a very wide spread of the basic Aragonese line. But in studying the “Armorial de Gelre” which on folio 62r has the complete Arms of the Aragonese of the period and includes the “Royaume de Corse” Arms consisting of a square shield containing the bust of a Black person, a Maure, with a bandana around the fore head, and it is placed on a pole with the Aragonese Arms adjacent. However, study the page from the Insignia XIV siecle, Neapolitanorum, Genuensium and there-in are the Arms of the Saracino and Sasso families with the matching Black head as their Armorial. I have then included the Arms which illustrate the Aragonese connection to Naples for two Dukes. I would draw your attention to the website concerning the Nobles of Naples where it illustrates the Arms of all of the Houses and has a page on the House of Aragon, Case regnati-Gli Aragonesi. The URL is as follows;
www.nobili-napoletani.it/elenco_famiglie (for the A to Z of family arms)
However as with all research into vague histories we must consider the evidence at hand and although it may not directly influence our quest it may provide for other avenues to open. Thus if we study the premier coat of arms for Aragon printed in Saragossa, 1499, we see that in the lower half quarters the Aragonese bands and adjacent the four Maure Heads which it appears comes from the Battle for Huesca where the Aragonese defeated the Moors and captured the town. The coat of arms for the town of Alcoraz is quartered by the Cross of St George and has four Maure heads in the quarters. The historical evidence is that it is confirmed by the Arms of Pierre III of Aragon dating 1281 and recalls the legend of the battle by Pierre I and his son Alfonso to take the town of Huesca. The full Arms of the autonomous commune of Aragon are the arms of Sobrarbe, Inigo Arista roi de Pampelune, Alcoraz and Aragon combined in four quarters. The latest manifestation has the eight Arms of the Region.
Therefore we may plainly state that the Flag of Corsica, a Maure Head , is nothing more than a quarter of the Croix d’Alcoraz commemorating the battle of Huesca and the defeat of the Maure. I am including the information available as a diagram insert.
I would also draw your attention to the to the Atlas Maior of Joan Blaeu, 1665, and the map drawn by Joanne Baptista Labana, “Arragonia Regnum”, on which he shows the Arms of Aragon alongside the Arms of Sardinia which he draws as a oval cartouche. It contains the Cross of St George and in the quarter’s four crowned heads, 2 + 2 in style as Pope Boniface VIII in 1297 gave Sardinia to the Kings of Aragon and hence they were also Kings of Sardinia until1713.
Thus I venture to say the FOUR is a very important number for the Aragonese and may account for the number of monogram diagrams we now study.
But these monograms are supporting via looped strings a religious design.
THE HANGING DESIGNS
All four are ostensibly the same design (hence the possibility that the initials are meant to be similar) and are in effect illustrating an oval table which has set at its centre within the four scallops, an Emerald cubic stone, with twelve figures surrounding the table, four drawn very differently and having larger circular bodies. These four give the impression of being over-painted to erase what may have been a figure drawn in the body circle. Note; that I have already shown the Atlas Maps have erasures for certain flags on Islands.
The scallops are indicative of the Pilgrimage to St Jaques de Compostelle, being the shell of a sea mollusc. St Jaques was a Fisherman, brother of St John and thus the storyline has its beginning in the 12th century, but actually when it commenced is unknown. However the main reason for the scalloped table is in all probability that Compostella is one of the Holy Sites and can be used as a “Pilgrimage” instead of the necessity to visit Jerusalem. There is a definite connection for Aragon in that the Council of Jaca, was held in the town of Roi Sanche Ramirez d’Aragon (1063) on the route from Arles to Compostella. Thus the scallops are probably denoting that the Aragonese considered the Pilgrimage to Compostella equivalent to that of one to Jerusalem and thus could assume the title King of Jerusalem. That could indicate that at least four Kings of Aragon made the pilgrimage, but it is not known.
In “Church” history the Emerald holds significant properties and has several historical texts applicable to its meaning. It is included in chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation by St John the Divine and the “Holy City, new Jerusalem” is described (v16) as “ and the city lieth foursquare” “with 12 foundations”, “the fourth an Emerald” (v19).
The International Gem Society publication states the following;
“The Archbishop Rabanus Maurus of Mainz (786-856) wrote about the 12 Apocalyptic Gems; “In the Emerald is expressed the strength of faith in adversity”
These stones were frequently connected to the 12 apostles, Andreas bishop of Caesarea (563-637) had this to say of the Emerald- “The Emerald which is green in colour, is nourished with oil, that its transparency and beauty may not change: we conceive this stone to signify John the Evangelist. He, indeed, soothed the souls dejected by sin with divine oil, and by the grace of his excellent doctrine lends constant strength to our faith”.
Some later writers rejected the assignment of the foundation stones to the 12 Apostles, holding that only Jesus Christ could be regarded as the foundation of His church, and some associated the transparent green Emerald with the kindness and goodness of Christ.
But perhaps more applicable to our research, Ramon Lull (1232-1315) describes the properties of the Emerald in his text “Lapidarium” and many of these properties appear to be evidenced by his personal experience; “ We saw that while we took her with us (Emerald) we healed many sick people”; “Thanks to these stones we were able to calm storms, and we applied it on exhausted pilgrims who immediately recovered from the fatigue of their travels”
Ramon Lull then prescribed the use of the Emerald to King Robert of Naples when he was afflicted with “ diabolical attacks” perhaps epilepsy.
Robert of Anjou, known as Robert the Wise, 1275-1343, King of Naples, titular King of Jerusalem, Count of Provence and Forcalquier from 1309 -1343, was the central figure of Italian politics in his life time. Hence we are returned to the “sinister” page and the use of the Cross of Jerusalem with the Arms of Aragon as a combination shield, but it is not known.
Therefore it is very likely we are witnessing the pictorial form of the above descriptions of 12 disciples sat looking at the cubic Emerald, a metaphor for Christ. The four white bodied forms are thus Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, surrounded by the other eight disciples. However, the NW/top left diagram appears to have hidden on the east and south forms a torso and a number, which leads me to believe they are over-painted, altered as with the erasure from another chart the Flags of Corsica, Sicily and Mallorca. I also believe the southern figure on the SE/bottom right has a head appearing out of the over-painting.
I have enlarged the pairs of letters and their insert tableau and appended what I believe is the correct reading of the letters as drawn in the order of their position top to bottom. Thus they are available for any researcher to analyse.
I am including the translated text of an email from Antoine Franzini which sets down some other facts which may be very pertinent to the storyline and thus necessary to be shared.
“The principal problem is, why only a map of Corsica in this set? Have other maps of the islands or other places been lost? Otherwise it is completely incomprehensible and must explain the rest. What is your idea on it? “ (I have responded and urge the original text ChAVM/1 to be read as it explains the problem of the Atlas and its being altered in the distant past). “More precisely, the central character of this affair is undoubtedly Ferdinand II, but as far as I know, he has not been interested in Corsica. Does anyone who orders this map want Ferdinand to be interested in the conquest of a kingdom that belongs to him and that is in the hands of another, in this case the Office of Saint George for the City of Genoa? It would necessarily be his Corsican lords, refugees in Naples, especially the Count of Corsica, Giovan Paolo da Leca and his son Altobello ( Giovan Paolo had lost a few years earlier another son, Orlando). Recall that the eldest of his sons, Ristoruccio da Leca, was married to Lucrezia Fregoso, sister of Giano II Fregoso, who was an important player in genoese politics of the time and was going to be Doge of Genoa in 1512. Giano was married to the sister of Ristoruccio, Alda or Aldabella da Leca. The only proposition I will make is that the four lower and upper monograms are respectively identical.”
That last comment I have disproven and shown that another researcher also believes they are different. However it introduces yet another complexity into the story line which must be considered as Lecha, the town or castle features on the map of Corsica.
THE MAP OF CORSICA AND ITS TOPONYMS
The map is obviously one of two parts, the northern and southern areas divided by the “Dela des Monts”, the mountain range defining upper and lower Corsica. The toponyms for the northern area are mostly correct and in their approximate geographical position. That cannot be said for the southern portion which has most of the western toponyms and the central toponyms wrongly positioned.
I have included as a first investigative map the Atlas map with its toponyms written on their correct position and then the toponyms from various texts and charts to complement the atlas and show the development of their names. The “Lo Conpasso de Navigare” is the earliest text with “Grazia Pauli” second followed by “Grazioso Benincasa” portolan chart, the “Catalan Atlas of 1375” and a text from the “Marciana Biblioteca Venice” dated to the end of the 14th century. This comparison indicates that Vesconte Maggiolo was in fact copying from the later texts as they deteriorate in their toponym spelling, probably from one being phonetically written after the text of “Lo Conpasso de Navigare” of the late 13th century. The second investigative map is the map of Corsica, geographical, with most of the toponyms from the 1511 Atlas positioned to illustrate the complexity of the actual map.
The third investigative map names and illustrates the medieval chateaus, Genoese towers and other towers which are possibly indicated on the original map. It is thus obvious that the castles or chateau’s are generally from a line of families from Cinarca via Istria and the various lines of the family tree. But there are many named castles which could be the one represented on the map of Corsica dated 1511 as the misplacing of so many toponyms makes for problematic research.
Hence I have produced two more maps which co-join to form the western region of southern Corsica from Capo Senino to Bonifacio and included the relevant text from “Istoria di Corsica” by A P Filippini as it clearly illustrates that Vesconte Maggiolo was either mis-informed or perhaps more likely mis-led on the positioning and naming of the places. Given that the text I have used was written just after the Map of Corsica was drawn by an inhabitant of Corsica, I am inclined to believe the text and not the map of 1511. It clearly identifies that there are several Monte Rosso, the Pieve’s applicable, and the numerous castles that are part of the story line for the history of Corsica. They are widely spread and thus probably the reason the 1511 map is so wrongly drawn apropos these castles etc.
CONCLUSION WITHOUT CONCLUDING
Vesconte Maggiolo was trained by Albino de Canepa in the 1480’s and was probably born c1470. He was thus active in Genoa as a cartographer from 1490 until he left for Naples. When he left is not known and even did he travel by Road via Pisa (Florence) Rome etc. Thus he may have had a career in Genoa before leaving for Naples and established himself as a cartographer of repute. That career in Genoa may or may not have been lucrative, as I explain in the text ChGEN/1, and hence, he may have left Genoa either to earn a better living or because he was summoned to Naples by a client who knew of his expertise. We know of his family, children, uncles etc, and the fact that he married in Naples and returned to Genoa passing away in 1549, having a life span of some 80 years.
Therefore the text regarding the “Dedication Page” of the 1511 Atlas is no more than a set of research notes which may or may not lead to the uncovering of the meaning of the Coats of Arms and the monograms. It is evident that whoever briefed Vesconte Maggiolo on the details for the map of Corsica was far better equipped in knowledge of the northern section of the island above the “Dela des Monts” than the southern section. This probably indicates a personage from one of the hierarchy of Corsica and perhaps from one of the major towns such as Calvi, Bastia or Leria or even Corte where education would be provided for than in perhaps the smaller towns of the southern area. Even though this southern area includes the towns of Ajaccio and Bonifacio and the major “Pieves” of the important families it is still small and rural. I cannot discount that the fact that the Bank of St George of Genoa had copious records as A P Filippini reports in his masterly set of five books, “Istoria di Corsica”, but they are written some 25 years after the Atlas was drawn.
The plethora of families, their inter-linking and movements throughout Corsica makes for difficulties in establishing precisely when and where everybody was and as we are not privy to their full names (given or otherwise), as they are normally recorded as “So and So of Some Place”, the monograms are so far indecipherable apropos personal initials, but as I have already indicated they could be “mottos” or a Latin saying of religious significance to them.
Thus after a year of research I reach no conclusions, only leave to the future ideas.
APPENDIX; ARAGONESE PARCHMENT MAPS OF THE NAPLES FIEFDOM
Page 948 of HOC 3/1/37 has the following paragraph:
“Unfortunately, we know nothing about the cartographers who produced the original Aragonese parchment maps. However, we cannot help thinking that the project must in some way have involved Antonio De Ferraris, known as Il Galateo. Although to date there is no documentary or archival proof of his connection with a scheme for the topographical survey of the entire Kingdom, he was a central figure among geographers and cosmographers of the Aragonese court. What is more, his chorographical works, such as “Descripto urbis Callipolis” and “De situ Yapigiae”, may have been produced quite late in his life (between 1511 and 1513), but they give as a starting point information gleaned from ancient writers, which is then checked through careful personal investigation, thus revealing an antiquarian eye for archaeological detail that, as we shall see, is a feature of the Aragonese parchments42
42 On Galateo, see Aldo Blessich, “Le carte geografiche di Antonio de Ferraris ditto il Galateo.”Roivista Geografica Italiana 3 (1896): 446-452, and Blessich, “La geografica alla corte Aragonese in Napoli”, both of which also contain information on the other cartographers and cosmographers active in Aragonese Naples (Luca Gaurico, Marco Beneventano and Bernado Silvano).
Pages 953/954 have the following text;
“Silvano’s numerous references to nautical charts, together with the great faith he put in them and the fact that he himself had been a mariner, support the claim that between the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth, such cartography flourished in Naples (even if documentary evidence for this is scant). There is documentary evidence that the Majorcan Arnaldo Domenech was in Naples in 1486, the year in which he produced a chart of the Mediterranean71 (his guide to weights and measures dates from two years earlier and was produced in Siena72 ). However, we know nothing at all about Zuane di Napoli, who is mentioned in the Cornaro Atlas in the BL and seems to have spent his entire working life outside his homeland73 , and only a little more about Calabrian Cola di Briatico, author of one extant atlas74.
The basis of nautical cartography in Naples during the sixteenth century was laid during the period of Aragonese rule. Vesconte Maggiolo, one of the most extraordinary chart makers of the Renaissance, was at work in Naples between 1511 and 1519, the period during which nautical cartography workshops were started in the other principal military or commercial centres of the Kingdom, such as Messina and Palermo75.
71; The chart is now in the National Maritime Museum, London. On Domenech, a Majorcan cartographer active between 1446 and 1489 and a pupil of Petrus Roselli, see Julio Rey Pastor and Ernesto Garcia Camarero, “La cartografia mallorquina” and Tony Campbell HOC 1, 371-463. (see my text ChGME/1 also)
72; See Gustavo Uzielli and Pietro Amat di S. Filippo 1882
73; See Cortesao, Portuguese Cartography,2
74; See Roberto Almagia, 1950.
75; see HOC 3/1/7, cartography in southern Italy.
I would also draw your attention to an earlier note, 17, “The Aragonese Kingdom of Naples was the first modern state to create large scale maps of its own territory both for political and administrative as well as military purposes. Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Piante e disegin, cart XXXII,2. HOC 3/1/37 page 949. Figure 37.8. Map of the Borders of the Kingdom of Naples (Eighteenth century copy). Peace between the kingdom of Naples and the Papal States was signed in February 1492, with a new border being established. This is depicted in four parchment maps discovered in Paris in 1767. There are paper copies of these made in 1768. Size of original; 31 x 54.6cm.
Comment; the 1511 atlas is c39 x 57.6cm.
I am therefore left rather bemused that we have skilled cartographers in Naples and yet Vesconte Maggiolo travels there in 1508/09 ostensibly to carry out a commission for an Atlas. Thus I return to previous comments that perhaps Vesconte Maggiolo working in Genoa perhaps as an artist and a cartographer either did not produce enough income at that time in Genoa or that his work was so well respected as an artist and cartographer that this was a special commission and required to be artistically decorative.
It is strange that he was in Naples only from c1509 to c1517, was middle aged but married there and later added his sons name to a chart. Was the son therefore old enough? That he had a good reputation is perhaps evinced by the fact that the Doge of Genoa requested Vesconte Maggiolo to return to be the official cartographer for Genoa.
This 1511 Atlas “Dedication page” is all about praising the Aragonese Line, which one is uncertain, but it is not a cartographer’s product, it is an artist’s product of design layout and luxurious portrayal. Which, returns me to the idea that Vesconte Maggiolo was trained as a cartographer by Alberto de Canepa in Genoa, found he was an excellent artist and pursued that career for a length of time prior to leaving for Naples?