Delle Navigationi et Viaggi raccolta da M. Gio. Battista Ramusio, in tre volume divisi. Giovanni Battista RAMUSIO.

Delle Navigationi et Viaggi…
Delle Navigationi et Viaggi raccolta da M. Gio. Battista Ramusio, in tre volume divisi.

Venice: Giunta, 1613-1583-1606.

Three volumes, folio (305 x 205 mm), with 10 double-page or folded maps (seven woodcut, three engraved) and other woodcut maps, plans and illustrations in the text; eighteenth-century calf, spines gilt, gilt edges.

'The most perfect work of that nature in any language' (Locke)

A complete set of the greatest international collection of early travels (the three volumes respectively in sixth, third and third editions, representing the fullest possible text). Ramusio was assiduous in gathering and editing his narratives, some of them accounts published for the first time by him and not otherwise known, and some of which differed from previously printed versions. "In terms of wealth of material no previous compilation of travels could match Ramusio's achievement" (Lach, I p. 208).

A complete set of the greatest international collection of early travels (the three volumes respectively in sixth, third and third editions, representing the fullest possible text). Ramusio was assiduous in gathering and editing his narratives, some of them accounts published for the first time by him and not otherwise known, and some of which differed from previously printed versions. "In terms of wealth of material no previous compilation of travels could match Ramusio's achievement" (Lach, I p. 208).

'The publication of Ramusio's raccolta may be said to open an era in the literary history of voyages and navigation. Instead of accounts carelessly copied and translated from previous collections, perpetuating errors and anachronisms, we find in this valuable work original narrations judiciously selected, carefully printed, and enriched with notices which betray the hand of a scholar of great critical acumen…' (Harrisse, p. 457).

Ramusio's Navigationi et viaggi was 'the first large published collection of historical documents other than collections of laws and decretals; the first large and planned collection of travel documents, and therefore the first approach to a documented history of travel and geography; and if not the first work, certainly the second (after the Novus orbis collection published at Basel in 1532) to imply the concept of a separate literary genre for which we have still no better name than travel narrative' (G. B. Parks, 'Ramusio's literary history', Studies in Philology, 52, 1955, p. 127).

The first volume is 'devoted for the most part to Africa and southern Asia. Among its more important relations were included Leo's Africa; the accounts of Cadamosto, da Gama, Cabral, and Vespucci…; Varthema's travels; Alvares's work on Abyssinia; the description of India and adjacent lands by Thomé Lopes, Duarte Barbosa, and Andrea Corsali; the journeys of Conti and Santo Stephano; and Pigafetta's journal of the Magellan voyage. The second volume… is concerned with Central Asia, Russia, and the Northern Seas. Included in it are the travels of Marco Polo (in a curious composite recension of various texts, resembling most closely the recently discovered codex in Toledo Cathedral); Hayton of Armenia; the Venetian missions to Persia; Paolo Giovo's book on the Turks; and… the journeys of Rubriquis and Odoric, Heberstein's travels in Russia, and the apocryphal voyages of the Zeni to Greenland. The third volume… is purely of American interest, including among its contents Peter Martyr's first three Decades; the entire 1535 edition of Oviedo y Valdes; Cortes's Second, Third and Fourth Letters; Cabeza de Vaca's relation of his wanderings; Coronado's journey; the voyages of Ulloa and Alarcon along the Pacific coast; Xeres's account of the conquest of Peru; Orellana's voyage down the Amazon; as well as the exploits of Verrazano and Jacques Cartier. Ramusio… was pre-eminent as an editor; he handled his material with great skill and produced a collection of unique value…' (Penrose p. 306).

In this set volume I is the sixth edition (1613), volumes II and III are third editions (1583 and 1606 respectively). Each volume went through several editions (volume I in 1550, 1554, 1563, 1588, 1606 and 1613; volume II in 1559, 1574, 1583 and 1606; and volume III in 1556, 1565 and 1606), but only once, in 1606, were all three volumes printed in the same year. It is usual, therefore, for sets to comprise mixed editions. New material was included in some editions; the text represented in the present set is the fullest possible, since volumes I and III are the final editions and nothing was added to the subsequent edition of volume II.

Church, I, 99; JCB, (3)II:41-43; Penrose, Travel and Discovery in the Renaissance, pp. 286, 306; Servies, 20; Streit, I:282; Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast, pp. 43-45.

Price (AUD): $78,000.00  other currencies Ref: #4505178