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Other 16th-century conflicts

Contemporary maps of 10 sixteenth-century wars

GIUSEPPE DE' ROSSI (1560-1639)

The battle of Lepanto, 1572

1572: 1592 or later

Etching and engraving; printed on paper; mounted on paper [Mount Type B] | 42.0 x 55.7 cm (image) | RCIN 721066.a

A diagram/map of the battle orders of the Ottoman fleet, commanded by Admiral Uluj-Ali (Uluç Ali Reis 1519-21 June 1587) confronted by the navy of the Holy League, commanded by Admiral Marc’Antonio II Colonna, Duke of Tagliacozzo and Duke and Prince of Paliano 1535-1 August 1584) and Don John of Austria (24 february 1547-1 October 1578) off the east coast of Cerigo (Kythera) on 7 August. Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War (1570-1573).

There is no indication of orientation; no land is shown. The coat of arms of Pope Gregory XIII (held office 13 May 1572-10 April 1585) is engraved, top left.

The Christian fleet, under Colonna, had left Corfu on 20 July, headed for Gomenizza from where Colonna sent two galleys to Cerigo, in the direction of Negroponte where the Turks had their magazines, to collect information on the newly restored Turkish fleet which had been rebuilt in the winter following the Battle of Lepanto. Don John had written to say that he was coming to join them and requested Colonna to wait for him at Corfu. On 28 July, the two galleys returned to Gomenizza with no useful information. On 29th July, as stated in the title of this map, the Christian fleet, not waiting for Don Juan’s arrival, left Gomenizza moving south to Cephalonia (Kefalonia Island 38°15ʹ00ʺN 20°35ʹ00ʺE where they were reinforced by 12 galleys and two galliots from Candia (Iráklion; mentioned in the title) giving, according to Setton, a total of 145 galleys, 6 galleasses, 25 galliots and 22 ships (‘navi’). This order of battle shows the 22 ships and six galleasses, but only 109 galleys and 20 galliots.

The fleet reached the island of Zante (Zákinthos) on 2 August and arrived at the island of Cerigo on 4 August. Here, they learned that the Turks had preceded them, taking on water on the eastern side of the island at S. Niccolò. The Turks were just forty miles away at Monemvasia (Peloponnese 36°41ʹ16ʺN 23°03ʹ21ʺE). The Turkish fleet was now approaching Cape Malea (the promontory at the tip of the south-eastern prong of Morea). Colonna moved out of the Bay of S. Niccolò on the eastern coast of Cerigo and directed that the Christian fleet be drawn up in battle order, shown in this map. The two fleets engaged in action off the east coast Cerigo, between the islands of Servi (Elafonisi) and Dragonera on 7 August. After inderterminate action lasting all day, the Turks retreated. The Christian fleet then retired to Zante and, on 20 August, the galleys and galleasses moved up to Cephalonia on their way to meet Don Juan who had arrived at Corfu on 9 August. On 31 August, the whole of the Christian fleet arrived back at Gomenizza before going back to Corfu.

The only confrontation between the Christian and Turkish fleets in the period mentioned in the title of this map occurred on the 7th August off Cerigo and, therefore, it is reasonable to presume that this map shows that action.

The first state of this map was published by Lafreri and the Heirs of Antonio Baldo in 1572, an example of which is in the Newberry Library (Call Number: Novacco 4F 110 (PrCt)). The catalogue entry makes clear that the names of Lafreri and Baldo’s heirs both appear on the map, together with the date 1572 [MDXXII]. The words ‘Romae ex Antonii Lafreri formis’ appear on the map (the position is not given). It is probable that this imprint has been erased, except for the date and possibly the word ‘formis, and that ‘G.R.’ has been substituted after 1572 in place of, or near to the former position of, Lafreri’s name.

The initials ‘G.R.’ with the word ‘formis’ are identified by Nägler (vol.III, no.313, p.93) as belonging to Giovanni Battista Rossi (de Rubeis), an engraver and dealer who flourished, he states, at the end of the sixteenth century on the Piazza Novona [in Rome]. It is probable that Nägler has confused Giovanni Battista (1601-78) with his uncle, Giuseppe the Elder (1560-1639). If this is right, then the initials ‘G.R.’ are unlikely to have been engraved in 1572 because Giuseppe the Elder would have been only twelve years old. If they do refer to Giovanni Battista, then the date of execution is likely to have been after 1617 in which year he entered an apprenticeship with his uncle, Giuseppe the Elder. The De Rossi family eventually acquired many of Lafreri’s plates after they had passed through earlier hands such as those of Claudio Duchetti (Lafreri’s nephew) and then Pietro de Nobili (in 1584) and others. Giuseppe De Rossi the Elder had also acquired some plates of Philippe Thomassin. While it is possible that the initials ‘G.R.’ belong to someone else, the fact that Giuseppe the Elder did acquire some of Thomassin’s plates, including, perhaps, the plates from which the design on the verso of this map/naval order of battle was printed, suggests that the identification of G.R. with Giuseppe the Elder is safe. See also RCIN 721066.b.

The sequence of states for this map/naval order of battle would therefore appear to be: 1) Lafreri and Baldo’s Heirs; 2) Pietro de Nobili; 3) Giuseppe De Rossi.

  • Giuseppe de' Rossi (1560-1639) (printer) [bottom right:] G·R· formis MDLXXII


    Navy-Venetian Republic
    Navy-Ottoman Empire
  • Watermark: A kneeling man within a shield

    Condition: the bottom third of another copy of the map has been pasted to the bottom of the copy of the whole map, perhaps in order to make a sheet large enough on which to print the decorative circular design which appears on the verso [see below for description]. However, the mismatch between two parts of the ciruclar design suggest that it, itself, was printed from two copperplates The verso on which the circular design is printed bears the remains of a paper mount indicating that it was the map which was considered as the relevant item in the collection [dal Pozzo's] in which it was once included

  • 42.0 x 55.7 cm (image)

    63.0 x 55.7 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    Ordine col quale l'Illmo et s.or Marc'antonio colonna insieme con l'ecco General Venetiano, parti / rono dalle Gomenizze alli 29. di Luglio 1572. percaminar inazi a trouare, et combattere l'Armata / Turchesca la quale in numero di 140 galere si ritroua uerso Negroponte, como e stato referito / da tre galere nostre, ch'erano ite innanzi a pigliar lingua et quando si caminaua con / quest' ordine, non era ancora arriuato il Sermo Sigr don Giouanni d'Austria il qual / senza dubbio saná poi gionto á congiungersi col presato Sigor Marcantonio alli 8. ouer 10. del / presente d'Agosto. et alli.30.di luglio doueuano unirsi.12.galere di quelle erano / in Candia le quali saranno ripartite a proportione nella batt: / aglia et nelli corni. Di modo chel sigr Marcantonio / hauera in tutto galere.140.Naui 22.galeazze.6. / et.20.tra fuste, et galeotte, Inomi et l'insigne / dele qali tutte, et de ssri et Cani d'esse / con qesto medesimo ordine. [top right, in an asymmetrical panel]

    Additional text:

    [short explanatory notes, giving details of the types and numbers of ships, and their positions in the line of battle, appear beside each group of galleys.]


    George III heading [on verso:] Gomenizze 29 July 1572.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [top left, ink, in a sixteenth- or seventeenth-century hand:] 106. (Verso) [top left, black pencil:] 1572; [top right, red pencil: 1/57 [altered to:] 1/58; [top right, black pencil:] I/62.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Gomenizze Ordine col quale il S.r Marc Antonio Colonna insieme con il General Venetiano partirono dalle Gomenizze alli 29 di Luglio 1572, percaminar inazi a trovare et combattere l’Armata Turchesca la quale in numero di 140 Galere si ritrova verso Negroponte. Petri de Nobilibus formis.

  • Subject(s)

    Igoumenitsa, Epirus, Greece (39°30ʹ12ʺN 20°16ʹ02ʺE)

    Euboea Island, Euboea, Greece (38°30ʹ00ʺN 24°00ʹ00ʺE)

    Kythera, Attica, Greece (36°15ʹ05ʺN 23°01ʹ05ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    D. Woodward, ‘The Italian map trade 1480-1650’, in History of Cartography, vol. III Part 1, 2005 pp. 773-803

    K.M. Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571, Philadelphia 1984, pp. 1081-1084

    M. Bury, The print in Italy, 1550-1625, London 2001, p. 230

    M. McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 2714

    R.V. Tooley, ‘Maps in Italian atlases of the sixteenth century, being a comparative list of the Italian maps issued by Lafreri, Forlani, Duchetti, Bertelli and others, found in atlases’, Imago Mundi III, 1939, pp. 12-47, no. 612: first state


Page revisions

  • 6 June 2024