9 June 2004
MAXIMILIANUS TRANSYLVANUS. Epistola, de admirabili & novissima Hispanorum in Orientam navigatione. Rome: F. Minitius Calvus, February 1524.
4o (210 x 150 mm). Title printed within elaborate woodcut border. (B2.3 in facsimile, several wormholes occasionally catching letters and occasionally repaired, A1 title and A4 reinforced along fold.) Later limp vellum; quarter morocco chemise; morocco-faced slipcase.
Fourth edition, second Roman edition of the first printed account of the first circumnavigation, under the command of Magellan.
Maximillian was a pupil of Pietro Martire d'Anghiera, at whose request he interviewed the crew of the Victoria, which was the only vessel to survive and return to Seville of the five which had set out from Spain in August 1519. Magellan was the first European to pass through the straits that bear his name and the first to enter the Pacific Ocean. He eventually reached the Philippines where he was killed by the natives. His achievement was extraordinary: he linked eastern Asia with Europe by the westward route, with only the sun to guide him. He established the circumference of the earth and the length of a degree of latitude, and proved that a calendar day is lost in circling the globe westwards. All early editions are very scarce. Alden and Landis 524/13; Church 56; Harrisse 124; Palau 158776 (note); Sabin 47040.
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