Dionysius, a Greek author of the time of Hadrian, is commonly known as Periegetes (the guide), to distinguish him from other authors of the same name and refers to his work Orbis terrae descriptio, called De situ habitabilis orbis ("Descriptive Account of the Habitable World") in this edition. Designed more as a geographical handbook for a reader of the Greek poets than as a systematic or scientific treatise on geography, De situ habitabilis orbis undertakes a verse account of the known world and its seas, countries, and islands. During the Renaissance, it became quite popular, no doubt because of the combined interest of humanists for newly published ancient texts and the growing interest in geography as reports of the discovery of new lands circulated.
The 1543 Aldine edition of De situ habitabilis orbis was translated into Latin verse by Simon Lemnius, who in his dedicatory preface mentions both Amerigo Vespucci and Columbus and the discovery of America. The title page of this work has a view of the earth which shows South America, labeled "America." Franciscus, mentioned in the colophon, is Francesco Torresani, the uncle of Paulus Manutius.