8vo, pp. [viii], 137, [1 (blank)], large folding engraved map of the Mediterranean and final leaf with long legend of the map; with large woodcut initial and some woodcut Phoenician letters to text; minute pinhole in p. 14 inconsequentially touching one letter, leaves very mildly and uniformly browned, occasional very light spotting to margins, the map repaired where torn along creases; ink stamp ‘Mario Cermenati’ to half-title.
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Compendio ossia epilogo anticipato di un’opera estesa sulla precisa situazione della famosa sommersa isola Atlantide da Platone e da altri antichi ricordata e descritta e della quale le isole di Malta, Gozo, Comino sono certissimi resti.
First and only edition, very rare, of the most fully and cogently argued work identifying Malta as one of the most substantial remains of the mythical Atlantis.
Though authored by one of the most famous Maltese authorities, Grognet de Vassé, the renowned Maltese architect responsible for the design and construction of the imposing Rotunda of Mosta (to date of the three largest church domes in the world), this work did not received full attention until the following century; it remains to this day the basis to which modern evidence in support of the Maltese Atlantis hypothesis is added when found.
The location and fate of the mythical Atlantis, described by Plato in a mere handful of pages and one of the most potent icons of utopia in the narrative and philosophical Western tradition, have constantly captured the imagination and commanded scholarly commitment throughout the centuries. Believing Plato’s myth to be, like many myths, the elaboration of remote but historical facts, scholars and archaeologists have placed the ‘lost continent’ in zones as diverse as the Mediterranean, Thera (Santorini), the Black Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall or the Antarctica.
Since the early 1840s Grognet de Vassé had published small and specific archaeological pamphlets discussing Maltese findings and preparing to advance the idea of a connection with Atlantis. From coins to tablets to literary and linguistic relics, his study does much to support the thesis of a lost small continent located in the Mediterranean to the East of Sicily, and his arguments, while by no means conclusive, have not to date been disproved.
The work is very rare. Library Hub (Copac) records one copy only (Rhodes House Library, Oxford), to which ICCU adds the Turin Accademia delle Scienze; OCLC does not find any copies.
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