- Title: A New Map of Italy
- Author: Herman Moll
- Date: 1714
- Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
- Condition: Very Good Plus - some wear and expert repair along issued quatrefolds, light age toning, some areas of minor dirt, creasing in margins, light foxing, original color (refreshed)
- Inches: 40 ¾ x 24 ¾ [Paper]
- Centimeters: 51 x 62.87 [Paper]
- Product ID: 317016
Beautiful large scale map of the Italian peninsula published by Herman Moll in 1714. Moll (c. 1654-1732) made his career in London as a cartographer, publisher, and eventually a producer of pocket globes. However, his birthplace and exact nationality remain unknown. Many assume he could be Dutch due to his involvement in Dutch cartography, the prevalence of the surname ‘Moll’ in the Low Countries at the time, and a trip he took later in life to the region. However, ‘Moll’ was also a German name, casting this hypothesis into doubt. Moll enjoyed a long and successful career, collaborating frequently with other London publishers and engravers and earning a reputation among his intellectual contemporaries. In fact, he is mentioned by name in Jonathan Swift’s famous novel Gulliver’s Travels (1726). His maps, noted for their ornament and beauty, retained their influence long after his death, and today remain highly collectible.
Map depicts Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and parts of France, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, Dalmatia and Turkey in Europe. Colored outlines help indicate the territories belonging to particular Italian states. Moll also includes a list of the sovereign nations contained within the map:
The Bounds of all the Sovereignties of Italy as they now stand.
- The Ecclesiastical State, to ye Pope.
- Kington of Naples, to ye Emperor.
- Dutchy of Milan, to ye Emperor.
- Kingdom of Sardinia to ye Duke of Savoy, now King of Sardinia.
- of Sicily to ye Emperor.
- Republick of Venice.
- Savoy & Piedmont to ye K. of Sardinia.
- The Dut. of Tuscany to ye G. Duke.
- Republick of Genua.
- of Mantua to the Emperor
- of Modena and Mirandola.
- Dutchy of Parma.
- Republick of Lucca.
- The Principalities of Monaco, Piombino, Masseran &c.
Note, That it is specified in the Map it self to whom all ye smaller Territories and Islands do belong.
Named bodies of water include the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Provence, the Sea of Genoa, the Sea of Tuscany, the Sea of Corsica, the ‘Tirhenian’ Sea, the Sea of Sardinia, the Adriatic Sea (or ‘Gulf of Venice’), the Gulf of Taranto, the ‘Jonian’ (Ionian) Sea, the Straits of Messina and Bonifacio, and the ‘Sea of the Islands of Dalmatia.’
Moll emphasizes the histories and characteristics of two of Italy’s most famous volcanoes, Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna. He includes inset views of both with legends explaining the scene:
Mont Vesuvius two Leagues from Naples
- A. The Vulcano that Burnt in Pliny’s time.
- B. The Great Eruption in 1631.
- C. Torre del Creco Covered with Ashes.
- D. la Nunciata Covered wholly wth. Ashes.
- E. two Gallies on board of which the People that escaped were saved.
- F. Bridge la Nunciata.
- G. Part of ye Suburbs of ye City of Naples
- H. A Fiery Current running into ye Sea
- I. Smoak proceeding from ye Fiery Current
- K. Monte Nivosi towards Apulia
- L. Vineyards Gardens of Oranges, Lemons.
Mount Ætna or Mongibello in Sicily beeing A True Draught of ye Eruption in 1669.
- A. Mountains raised by the Eruption
- B. The Eruptions
- C. Arch of Mount Marcello
- D. The Castle of Catania
- E. The Fiery Current falling into ye Sea
In addition to these dramatically-rendered scenes, Moll notes on the map other details about these volcanoes:
- Vesuvius, the great Eruptions of this Mount are numerous, one of ‘em happen’d in 1631, when by the Violence of the Shock the Sea retir’d several Times, left Ships on dry Ground, many Villages were Overturu’d, 30000 People and vast Numbers of Cattle destroy’d, Naples was like to have been utterly burnt up or demolished, and Streams of Fire run from the Mountain into the Sea. since that Time there have been many other great Eruptions.
- Ætna or Mt. Gibello, this Mountain sometimes issues out pure Flame, and at other times a thick Smoak with Ashes, Streams of Fire rain down, with great quantities of Burning Stones, and has made many great Eruptions.
A third inset shows ‘A Cataract of Air in Mount Æolius in Italy,’ illustrating a particular natural phenomenon from the Aeolian Islands: The Letters C.C. mark ye Cavitys of ye Mountains from whence the Wind proceeds.
Moll marks major cities, topographical features, bishoprics, archbishoprics, and post roads on the map. He also references historical events of note, such as earthquakes, battles, and the like. Longitude given from both the Ferro (lower margin) and London Meridians (upper margin). Over Carrara, between Tuscany and Genoa along the peninsula’s west coast, Moll writes:
"Carara. Here ye best white marble is Dug and send all over Europe."
Indeed, the eponymous Carrara marble has been prized since the time of Ancient Rome, and served as the choice material for Renaissance sculptors such as Michelangelo. The region’s economy has revolved around its quarries for centuries.
Delightfully, Moll includes the following about the city of Taranto, Italy:
the Spiders call’d Tarantula’s have their name from this City, because they abound in ye Neighbourhood. their sting is very dangerous, makes people Weep, Dance, Tremble, Vomit, Laugh, Faint, and Die if they be not relieved by Musick which sets them a Dancing and dissipates ye Poison by that exercise.