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BORDONE, Benedetto. Isolario di Benedetto Bordone nel qual si ragiona di tutte l'isole del mondo, con li lor nomi antichi & moderni, historie, favole, & modi del loro vivere, …, Venice 1547.

Benedetto Bordone (1460-1531) was an Italian cartographer, illuminator of manuscripts, astrologer and engraver. Born in Padua, he settled in Venice at the end of the fifteenth century. He published the Italian translation of Lucian’s "Dialogues" with his own illustrations. In 1528, towards the end of his life, he published in Venice this "isolario", which, judging by its numerous reprints, was highly successful.

The "Book of Islands of the World", his only cartographic work, contains wood engravings of one hundred and eleven islands of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Far East. Sixty-two of the maps represent Greek islands. Bordone never travelled himself and was influenced by the work of Cristoforo Buondelmonti, as well as by the "isolario" of Bartolomeo da li Sonetti. He also relied on the maps of Ptolemy. He completed his own somewhat idiosyncratic maps with information on the myths, the climate and the history of each territory.

However, some of Bordone’s maps are inspired by recent discoveries (Mexico and Peru), while his is the earliest map of Japan. Regarding the Greek islands, he notes only a few place names, drawing a simplified outline of settlements and a schematic delineation of the coast, although he always gives the orientation. His work was addressed to the general public rather than to geographers, cartographers or court officials of the period.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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