Cristoforo Buondelmonti

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Map of Constantinople (1422) by Buondelmonti, contained in Liber insularum Archipelagi (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris) is the oldest surviving map of the city, and the only one which antedates the Turkish conquest of the city in 1453

Cristoforo Buondelmonti (c. 1385 – c. 1430) was an Italian Franciscan priest, traveler, and was a pioneer in promoting first-hand knowledge of Greece and its antiquities throughout the Western world.


Cristoforo Buondelmonti was born around 1385 into an important Florentine family. He was taught Greek by the Italian scholar Guarino da Verona and received further education from Niccolò Niccoli, an influential Florentine humanist. By 1414 he had become a priest and served as a rector of a church in Florence.[1]

Buondelmonti left his native city around 1414 in order to travel. While travels were mainly focused in the Aegean Islands, he visited Constantinople in the 1420s. He went on to author two historical-geographic works: the Descriptio insulae Cretae (1417, in collaboration with Niccolò Niccoli) and the Liber insularum Archipelagi (1420). These two books are a combination of geographical information and contemporary charts and sailing directions. The latter one contains the oldest surviving map of Constantinople, and the only one which antedates the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453.

While travelling over the island of Andros, Buondelmonti bought a Greek manuscript and brought it back with him to Italy. This later became known as the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo, which played a considerable role both in humanistic thinking and in art.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gothoni 2003
  2. ^ Seznec, Jean (1981-01-01). The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and Its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691029881.