14 November 2007
[SARCONI, Michele]. Istoria de' fenomeni del tremoto avvenuto nelle Calabrie, e nel Valdemone nell'anno 1783. Posta in luce dalla Reale Accademia delle Scienze, e delle Belle Lettere di Napoli. Naples: Giuseppe Campo, 1784.
Plate volume only, oblong 2° (360 x 500mm). 70 CONTEMPORARY HAND-COLOURED ENGRAVED PLATES on 68 leaves by Antonio Zaballi after Pompeo Schiantarelli and Ignazio Stile, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH A LARGE CONTEMPORARY HAND-COLOURED MAP OF CALABRIA engraved by Francesco Progenie after P. Eliseo della Concezione folded at end, 9 sheets joined overall 1510 x 1200mm. (Repairs on verso of the map.) Modern pink boards (upper cover detached).
THE ONLY KNOWN HAND-COLOURED COPY of this major work on seismic activity, enriched by the addition of the extremely rare Carta corografica della Calabria Ulteriore. The engravings of the Istoria de' fenomeni illustrate the ruinous Calabrian earthquake of 1783 and were commissioned by the Neapolitan Royal Acadamy to a group of scientists, including Sarconi himself, Angiolo Fasano, Nicolò Pacifico, Padre Eliseo della Concezione and Antonio Minasi, as well as the architects and draughtsmen Pompeo Schiantarelli, Ignazio Stile and Bernardino Rulli. The expedition left Naples on 5th April 1783, and in 1784 the account of their findings was published by Campo, making it the first scientific expedition on the consequences of an earthquake ever to be organised in Italy. The earthquake shook Calabria and the eastern part of Sicily for more than three years with several tremors, including 5 which registered grade XI on Mercalli's scale. More than 30,000 people died, hundreds of villages were destroyed, mountains collapsed, rivers changed their course creating new lakes, and even the coastline was reshaped. A dramatic overview of the exceptional alteration of the whole region comes from the remarkably accurate Carta corografica that Padre Eliso della Conciliazione designed with the help of a macchina equatoriale of his own invention (illustrated on the last plate). This large Carta is the first seismic map produced in Italy and it rectifies all the errors in latitude and longitude in previous maps of the region.
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