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Jean-Dominique Cassini: Réduction de la grande Carte de la Lune de J. Dom. Cassini

Map: CELEST1189
Cartographer: Jean-Dominique Cassini
Title: Réduction de la grande Carte de la Lune de J. Dom. Cassini
Date: 1788
Published: Paris
Width: 9 inches / 23 cm
Height: 13 inches / 34 cm
Map ref: CELEST1189
RARE re-issued edition of one of the earliest available scientific maps of the moon.

Originally published in 1679 by Jean-Dominique Cassini (1625-1712), from drawings and engravings by Claude Mellan (1598-1688), this rare example was published by his great-grandson of the same name but more commonly known as Cassini IV (1748-1845).

In 1787, Cassini IV, then director of the Paris Observatory, discovered the copper-plate of the moon map made by his grandfather. He updated and reissued it in 1788 and continued its development until control was assumed by the French Revolutionary Government in 1793.

Cassini I was taught astronomy under Italian Jesuit priest and astronomer, Giovanni Battista Riccioli (1598-1671) who is responsible for the nomenclature across the map - much of which is still used today by the International Astronomical Union (UAI). In 1651, Riccioli published the “Almagestum Novum”, in which he devised a naming scheme for the Moon by dividing it into eight segments, devoting each segment to a period in history and naming features such as craters, mountain ranges and ejecta rays after fellow astronomers and polymaths such as Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo (all of whose names can be found in Mare Procellarum [Sea of Storms].

Several early and important Arab astronomers have also had craters named after them. These include the astronomer Azophi ('Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi) and the astronomer and instrument maker Arzachel (Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī).

The map is oriented with south at the top, as is common with lunar maps. Cassini IV has added labels to significant lunar features on this reduction. A substantial description of discoveries made by his great-grandfather and other important astronomers sits in a panel to the right of the map.

There are two rather elegant tributes within the topography of the moon’s surface, supposedly to Cassini’s wife, Geneviève de Laistre, and to the wife of the artist Jean Patigny (d. 1675). The first, the profile of a woman’s head which features in the lower half by the mountain range “Heraclides”. The second in the Mare Serenitatis, a heart shape or the Greek letter phi (φ) as in philos - meaning love.

Framed. [CELEST1189]