Ca. 114 x 160 cm (map size; visible size ca. 131.5 x 177.5 cm). Engraved. Framed and glazed in broad burl wood veneer frame with insignificant damage (141 x 187.5 cm).
Monumental reconstructive map of ancient Syracuse and its surroundings from Vincenzo Mirabella e Alagona's famous 1613 publication "Dichiarazioni della pianta dell'antiche Siracuse", dedicated to Philip III of Spain, King of Sicily. The map covers a large area, roughly from the island Ortygia, the historical centre of Syracuse, to the Euryalus fortress, and from the source of the river Ciane to the so-called House of Archimedes, and shows often fantastical renderings of such important monuments as the Temple of Apollo, the Greek and Roman theatres, and the ancient quarries called Latomie, including a staffage of fantastical ships.
The ornamental border, featuring reproductions of the obverse and reverse of 39 Greek coins, was specially engraved and described for the publication. Many of the coins of the notorious tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse and subsequent rulers show the famous triskelion composed of three bent knees, a symbol which today forms part of the flag of Sicily. The dedication of the book to Philip III of Spain is repeated in an inscription with the title of the map and the name of its author. The dedicatee is also represented by the monumental coat of arms in the upper right corner of the map. The nine copperplate engravings are signed by the otherwise unknown Francesco Lomia from Syracuse and are dated 1612, but the plates were published with the book in 1613.
Vincenzo Mirabella e Alagona (1570-1624) was a historian, archaeologist, and architect from Syracuse. He married into one of the leading families of the city, held public offices, and realized several building projects, such as the Theatine Church of San Andrea and the renewal of the cathedral square. In 1608 he accompanied Caravaggio on several visits to the Latomie. The painter subsequently coined the name “Ear of Dionysius” for one of the ancient quarries, which is still in common use.
Generally well preserved, with small chafed areas to some plates, one of which with hand-drawn additions, and some stains.