Magellan – Pigafetta, Antonio. Magellan’s Voyage. A Narrative Account of the First Circumnavigation (1519-1522). Manuscript of 1525 of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University in French on vellum in black, red, and blue. 2, 99 ll.
With 23 colored full-page sketch-maps ,
among which one with the Philippine Islands
Bohol — Mattan (Mactan, “Icy mourut le capitaine general” [Magellan]) — Zzubu (Cebu)
and innumerable colored initials, the larger ones decorated. Facsimile in the original size and the original colors. English translation and commentary by R. A. Skelton (5 ll. preliminaries & foreword, 195 pp., double full-page map, 23 full-page ills. & 2 globe ills. on 1 p.). Facsimile & text vol. New Haven & London 1969. Sm. fol. Beige orig. cloth with red backstamping and blind tooled frontboards in subdivided red orig. cloth dual slipcase with mounted color ill.
Dedicated to Edwin J. Beinecke who made this edition possible. – Title in red & black and with colored ills. – Splendidly arranged edition on heavy paper, printed by Enschedé en Zoonen, Haarlem. – Lower corner of fol. 25 of the facsimile vol. folded down during production. – The spines somewhat paled and tails minimally scuffed, the boards faintly finger-stained, the lower board of the text volume lower left with 3 little line traces, otherwise impeccable.
Prince’s Copy and “certainly the finest of all the manuscripts … as well as the most complete of the three French manuscripts existent”. Whether it is the one worked for the Grand Master of Rhodes must be left undecided. Former pre-possessor was Jean Cognet, chamberlain and pharmacist of the cardinal of the Lorraine, who dedicated it to Christophe de Gastinois, the secretary of the cardinal. 1720 in the possession of the abbey of St. Leopold in Nancy the further provenance should be quite complete up to Ed Beinecke in 1945. The manuscript in itself perfectly legible.
Pigafetta (about 1491 Vicenza about 1534; studies of mathematics & navigation,
see the large illustration of his monument on Mactan ,
where he was severely wounded, while Magellan met his death, within Witzani’s report in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of Aug. 13, 1992, p. R 3)
was one of only 18 survivors of the 270 setting out on Magellan’s expedition .
And “Just this one little Knight of Rhodes, this supernumerary, has brought Magellan’s deed to the knowledge of posterity … Shakespeare borrows a scene from Pigafetta’s logbook for his ‘Tempest’” (Stefan Zweig, Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan). The journal itself has not been preserved.
The edition here emphatically praised by Koeman :
“ … welcome the appearance of this very first facsimile reproduction … which is also the first translation into English of one of the French manuscripts still existing … Readers of journals … will now have access to original sources,
recording such fundamental facts as the establishing of the Pacific Ocean ,
the position of the Moluccas ,
and the remarks on earlier representations of Magellan Strait with its implications … (And the) appearance (of the book itself) is in perfect harmony with the beauty of the original manuscript and with the importance of its contents … Apart from its scientific value this work is a precious object for book-lovers … (And) having started reading the Introduction and proceeding with the translation … the scale turns to the part for which Dr. Skelton was responsible, for his masterly analysis of the origin and transmission of Pigafetta’s Relation … reading it is fascinating … Magellan’s voyage itself was not prolific for chartproduction. Presumably the material got lost in the Moluccas. Pigafetta had 23 pages with maps copied in his Relation, but they are sketches, in the ‘Isolario style’, without geographical grid and topographical details … In many ways the publication of this work is of great interest for a wide circle of students, scholars and bibliophiles … Against this background the publication … will render a great service to civilisation ”
(Imago Mundi XXIV, 1970, p. 151).
No less than Pigafetta’s report itself did back then when the triumphant return of Victoria under the command of previous mutineer Juan Sebastián Elcano made Magellan as the true originator of the deed almost forgotten.
Offer no. 29,123 | EUR 470. | export price EUR 447. (c. US$ 540.) + shipping