Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Janna Israel


This thesis provides a detailed analysis of an Isolario, or a printed book of maps of the Aegean Islands, created in 1485 by an anonymous author called Bartolommeo da li Sonetti. Through a thorough analysis of the material properties and content of the book, this thesis seeks to revise previous scholarly interpretations of this long under-studied work of cartography. Examination of five extant copies of the 1485 Isolario and the alterations made to the pages by their owners reveals much about how the volume was consumed, read and utilized in fifteenth and sixteenth century. In opposition to previous conceptions of this work as a functional travel guide used by mariners to navigate the Aegean, this thesis argues that instead, the information contained in the book only provides superficial resemblances to functionally useful content and was instead consumed by an elite audience of ‘arm chair travellers.’


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013