Around the World with an Adventuresome Jesuit—From the Holy Land to Mexico

Including Two Important Maps of Mexico & 48 Plates

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159. GEMELLI CARERI, Gio[vanni] Francesco. Giro del mondo del Dottor D. Gio: Francesco Gemelli Careri. Nouva edizione accresciuta, ricoretta, e divisa in nove volumi. Con un Indice de’ Viaggiatori, e loro opere. Tomo Primo [-Nono].... Venezia: Presso Sebastiano Coleti, 1728. Con Licenza de’ Superiori, e Privilegio. Vol. I: [32], 1-314, [6] pp., 6 plates, including frontispiece (1 folded); Vol. II: [4], 1-317, [11] pp., 5 plates (2 folded); Vol. III: [4], 1-256, [10] pp., 17 plates (1 folded); Vol. IV: [4], 1-335, [13] pp., 4 plates (1 folded); Vol. V: [4], 1-268, [20] pp., 2 plates; Vol. VI: [4], 1-292, [12] pp., 13 plates (2 folded), 2 folded maps; Vol. VII: [6], 1-290, [18] pp., Vol. VIII: [2], 1-336, [14] pp., 1 folded plate; Vol. IX: [1], 1-288 pp. Total plates and maps: 48 engraved plates and 2 engraved maps (see below for the two maps). 9 vols. in 5, 8vo (18 x 12 cm), contemporary quarter vellum over brown and purple mottled boards, edges sprinkled. Except for light shelf wear, in very good condition, plates and maps fine. In Vol. II, pp. 161-317 are lightly browned; in Vol. VI, the text block is cracked at pp. 32/33 and there is slight worming with no text loss in the gutter margin; Vol. IX title page with a few letters in facsimile; otherwise, the interiors are very good with the plates in good impressions. Complete sets are difficult to find.


Copia d’una antica dipintura conseruata da D. Carlo Siguenza.... Neat line to neat line 29.5 x 32.5 cm; overall sheet size: 33.5 x 36.5 cm. Peregrination map. Glass, p. 614, cites the first edition (Naples, 1699-1700) and notes: “Reproduces in vol. 6 Mapa Sigüenza.” Glass remarks in Vol. 14, pp. 197-198 (#290) that the map’s source is Códice Ramírez and notes that Gemelli-Carreri’s version of the map was the one used by Kingsborough (see herein) in his monumental work, as well as Humboldt (see herein). Glass states, “Migration itinerary and history of the Culhua-Mexica in the form of a map from Aztlan-Culhuacan through the settlement at Chapultepec to the founding of Tenochitlan.” A most interesting and early American map, originally compiled by Native Americans.

Hÿdrocoaphicame lo Mexicano rappresentato nelle sue Lacune. Neat line to neat line: 17.5 x 21.5 cm; overall sheet size: 19 x 25 cm. Apenes, Mapas Antiguos del Valle de Mexico, plate 17 (illustrating 1700 edition). Cartographic elements include location of settlements, lakes, and volcanoes, etc. The author states that this image is a copy drawn by Charles Sigüenza of an original drawn by Native Americans. Elias Trabulse states in his article “La obra cartográfica de don Carlos de Sigüenza Góngora” (Caravelle, 1988, No. 76/77, Hommage à George Baudot, December 2001, pp. 265-275): “Cabe decir que los mapas que realizó del virreinato y del Valle de México eran utilizados y copiados todavía un siglo después de su muerte, lo que da una idea del prestigio que gozó como científico en el siglo ilustrado.” According to Trabulse, the prototype original map drawn and signed by Sigüenza is extant in the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, one of only four surviving maps by the savant.

     Fourth edition, augmented (first edition, Naples, 1699-1700; two editions, Venice, 1719), based on a Venice, 1719 edition. European Americana 1728/77. Hill:II 687. Palau 101117n. Porrúa 6960. Sabin 26850. All editions are rare; only two copies of this edition are located, one in the Bibliotheque Nationale, the other in the Lilly Library. The only copy of an Italian edition at auction since 1972 was a copy of the first edition that sold in 2000, although various French editions are sometimes encountered. The only difference between the first Italian edition and later ones is the addition of his European voyage (here Vols. VII-IX).

This work details the remarkable five-and-one-half year journey of Giovanni Gemelli Careri, a Neopolitan lawyer. Gemelli Careri decided to travel around the world out of curiosity. During a voyage that began in 1693, he landed at Malta, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Persia, India, Singapore, Borneo, China, the Phillipines, and Mexico. This work was once thought to be fictitious, but the section on New Spain, at least, is certainly authentic. It was primarily Gemelli Careri’s interesting account of Mexico that led Baron von Humboldt to conclude that “his descriptions have the charm of local tint which could only have been given by an ocular witness.” More than charming description, however, the volume on Mexico includes detailed accounts of his stay at Acapulco, his overland trip to Mexico City, a valuable map of the Valley of Mexico, plates of archeological features, discussion of Mexican silver mining, and historical analysis derived from pre-conquest Codices. The descriptions of Aztec warriors taken from the Codices are especially noteworthy (Hill II:687).

     Sabin notes that Goldsmith dismisses Gemelli Careri as a falsehood, whereas Porrúa quotes Clavijero on the author’s authenticity. Giosef Antonio Guerrier, who wrote the original address to the reader, assures: “Ma l’unico mio scopo è di auvertirti, che il nostro Scrittore non dirà cosa, che non abbia co’ proprj occhi ragguardata; ed in ciò, che di veduta non può render testimonio, servirassi dell’ autorità de quei, che lo han veduto” (p. [3]). Gemelli Careri travelled totally across Mexico, including a trip to Puebla de los Ángeles, from his arrival at Acapulco until his departure from Vera Cruz for Havana, all of which took nearly a year. The Mexican leg of his journey covers 6: pp. 1-172.

     Volume 6 is heavily illustrated, all the plates showing Mexican subjects. Included are six views of Aztec figures from Codex Ixtlilxochitl part 2 and another possibly from the same; one cross-section plate showing mining;, and two showing flora. The folded map is a beautiful depiction of the Valley of Mexico and its waterways and lakes after Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, to whose library the author had access. The two folded plates are of ethnological and historical interest, with one showing the Veytia Calendar Wheel and the other, a timeline of Aztec history, showing their migration from Aztlan to Chapultepec. Glass states that the author acquired either the original or a copy of the Veytia Calendar Wheel from Sigüenza y Góngora in 1697 and that his publication of it in 1699 is the first edition. He states further that since Gemelli Careri, the original has not been seen and all subsequent publications derive from this work. (See Glass, Part 4, p. 614, col. 1 and pt 3, p 232, no. 390.) Gemelli Careri confirms that for the calendar image he is indeed indebted “alla cortesia de Sigüenza, che mi fece dono de sì pellegrine rarità” (6: p. 45).

     The author (1651-1725) was an Italian native who received a law degree from College of Jesuits in Naples and who decided to set out on his journey after a series of reverses, deciding to finance his trip by buying goods at one place and then selling them at a profit at a later venue. He left in 1693 and returned to Naples in 1698. He is considered “an acute observer” (Warren in Glass, Vol. 12, part 2, p. 63) and Dicc. Porrúa states his work is of “sumo interés.” His work, still valuable to this day, is also important for his observations on other regions he visited. He is considered the first European traveller to circumnavigate the world on so-called public transportation; half his journey was with the Spanish treasure fleets, and his observations on those experiences are still valuable.


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,837.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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