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1009046
  • Title
    L’arte del navigare, con il regimento della Tramontana e del sole; e la vera regola et ossorvanza del flusso e reflusso dell acque sotto breve compendio ridotta, ca. 1587 / A Treatise on Navigation by Observation of the Sun and Stars
  • Creator
  • Call number
    SAFE/MLMSS 9978
  • Level of description
    fonds
  • Date

    ca. 1587
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
    1009046
  • Physical Description
    0.45 metres of textual material (1 box) - manuscript
  • ADMINISTRATIVE/ BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY

    A Treatise on Navigation by Observation of the Sun and Stars, is an unpublished, illustrated handwritten manual of navigation in the Levant as well as in the South Seas by Agostino Cesareo, ca. 1587. The work was never published, despite Papal approval, and remains only available in its various manuscript copies. It is believed that these copies were produced as part of efforts to secure a patron for commercial publication. The work is written in Italian, rather than Latin as the official language of the church and the language of many scholars, so was intended for a wider audience.

    The volume on offer represents the state of Italian navigational art in the second half of the sixteenth century. It is probable that Cesareo composed his navigational treatise before 1567 and that several manuscript copies were subsequently produced, of which this is one. The majority of surviving copies are dedicated to powerful Italian noblemen. This is not an uncommon approach and echoes the efforts of Pedro Fernandes de Queirós to seek patronage for his memorials and voyages. The copy carries a dedication to Don Pietro Borgia, Prince of Squillace, dated 1587. Don Pietro was a lineal descendant of Gioffre Borgia (1482-1516), son of Pope Alexander VI and younger brother of Cesare Borgia and Lucrezia Borgia.

    Reference: Library correspondence file
  • Scope and Content
    Manuscript, quarto size; 66 leaves followed by 13 leaves with additions in a different hand, 8 full-page illustrations (including one of the Southern Cross constellation), as well as 4 volvelles. Volvelles, or wheel charts, are a type of very early slide chart, they are of paper construction and feature rotating parts. The volume features a dedication to Don Pietro Borgia, Prince of Squillace (d. c.1624), dated 1587, and an accompanying sonnet; contemporary limp vellum sewn on three cords. The volume is housed in a quarter, non-contemporaneous, morocco solander box.

    The text is divided into three parts:

    Part I deals with cosmography and navigation in general; navigation by the North Star (with a particularly evocative volvelle including a tiny ocean-going ship that circles the globe from pole to pole); and navigation in the southern hemisphere, by the Southern Cross and the south celestial pole. The latter section is titled Conto, o ragione del Polo Antarctico and comprises eight pages that include a detailed explanation of how the Southern Cross may be used as a navigational aid, a diagrammatic illustration of the constellation (one that is visually quite different from some other images of the constellation produced – the two rectangles, superimposed upon the cross forcing the stars into an image that appears, at first glance, as a symbol of Christianity). This section also includes a diagram of the equatorial winds.

    Part II describes navigation by the altitude of the sun, with extensive examples and tables, including the meridians throughout the Mediterranean, followed by “la regola della navigatione di Levante in ponente per longitudine.”

    Part III is devoted to the action of the tides, including details on the various hazards of the English Channel and the Strait of Messina, and contains a sketch map of the man in the moon, controller of tides.
  • Language
  • Source
    Purchased from Douglas Stewart, 2017
  • Copying Conditions
    Copyright status:: In copyright
    Research & study copies allowed: Author has been deceased for more than 50 years
    Please acknowledge: : Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
  • Subject
  • Open Rosetta viewer

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