500 Years Ago

Tuesday, 20 September 1519
“ A Day to be Momentous in History ”

Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan
sets Sail for the First Circumnavigation

“ the longest voyage of discovery,
the boldest adventure
in the records of our race, had begun ”

Stefan Zweig

Ferdinand Magellanus (Saborosa/Portugal c. 1480 – Mactan/Philippines 1521). Half-length portrait in oval medallion, in front of him chart while measuring the globe with the dividers. In the background plain coast landscape with three-master in a bay, on the shore on the right as well as on a height left two crosses each, besides several palms. Laterally lined by palm branches, above laurel wreath with fluttering blue ribbons, the title cartouche below entwined with fruit garland. Colored engraving. (1671.) 11¼ × 6¾ in (28.6 × 17.2 cm).

The especially above and below wide white margin unessentially and only on the back somewhat more browned. Absolutely unaffected by this, however,

and shining in just as beautiful as fresh colors

the portrait of Ferdinand Magellan as first circumnavigator and explorer

of both the Strait of Magellan in southern Tierra del Fuego named after him as the long-searched for, though soon enough forgotten again connection between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the Philippines where in a skirmish he met his death on Mactan in 1521. Pigafetta’s Relation is the one and only preserved narration on the three-years voyage which changed the image of the world dramatically.

Offer no. 28,825 / EUR  590. / export price EUR  561. (c. US$ 678.) + shipping

Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage

The Report of the Supernumerary

“ The upshot was to be that this supernumerary would become for Magellan the most important participator in his voyage. For what is an action worth when there is no one to describe it? A historical deed is not perfected when it has merely been achieved, but only when an account of it has been handed down to posterity. ”

Stefan Zweig

Antonio Pigafetta. 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 them one with the Philippine Islands

Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage

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., 195 pp., double full-page map & 23 full-page ills.). 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 ills.


book-plate Cornelis Koeman
Cornelis Koeman , De Bilt / Utrecht ,
with his map of the world-detail book-plate (Africa)

on the inside of the front boards of each volume. See Bonacker, Kartenmacher aller Länder und Zeiten, 1966, p. 132. – professor em. for cartography at Utrecht University, i. a. author of the monumental 6-vol. Atlantes Neerlandici, 1967/85. – See, too, below from his review of the publication here.

Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage (Dedication to Edwin J. Beinecke)

Dedicated to Edwin J. Beinecke who made this edition pssible. – Title in red & black and with colored ills. – Splendidly arranged edition on heavy paper, printed by Enschedé en Zoonen, Haarlem. – The fine decorative slipcase slightly pushed at the back edges, most minimally touched the back board of the text volume lower left, 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.

Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage

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 :

Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage, Title vol. 1Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage, Title vol. 2

“ … 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 ,

Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's Voyage

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. 28,576 / EUR  690. / export price EUR  656. (c. US$ 793.) + shipping

“ Nothing but his great deed would survive
the circumnavigator of the world,
and all mankind, but no individual,
would be his grateful inheritor. ”

Stefan Zweig

„ (D)ie Sendung (Hogarth / Marriage à-la-Mode) ist gestern wohlbehalten hier eingetroffen. Ist alles bestens, und ich danke Ihnen nochmals herzlich für die Beantwortung meiner Fragen und prompte Lieferung … Viele Grüße … “

(Herr C. K., 3. November 2013)