Tommaso Porcacchi (1530-1585) was a prolific Italian writer, scholar, geographer and translator. Born to a poor family, Porcacchi was however able to study thanks to the patronage of Duke Cosimo I. While in Florence, Porcacchi met humanist L. Domenichi, thanks to whom he was able to publish his first works, a biography of Vergil and a translation of the Aeneid. Thanks to Domenichi's recommendations, Porcacchi became acquainted with influential publishers of the time. In 1559, he settled in Venice, where he remained until his death.
In Venice, Porcacchi published several geographical, historical and archaeological works, and also translated a number of texts from Greek to Latin. By publishing in the vernacular language as well, he showed his support for the Counter-Reformation. Among his scholarly works, most notable are his anthology of the islands (first published in 1572), a treatise on funerary practices and a collection of biographies of illustrious men.
The engravings of this edition are quite original compared to similara isolaria of the time. Porcacchi establishes the technique of copper engraving, which allows for more accurate and detailed maps. The maps are accompanied by explanatory texts, which, as he notes in the introduction, contain historical, mythological, geographic and ethnographic particulars on each island. This work was repeatedly republished in expanded editions, most of which were released after Porcacchi's death.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou