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"Cypri Insulae Nova Descript. 1573" by Abraham Ortelius and engraved by Johan van Doetichum in 1579. This beautifully coloured Latin first edition was published in Antwerp. 


This antique map of Cyprus, created by the esteemed cartographer Abraham Ortelius, provides a captivating glimpse into historical cartography. Ortelius, a renowned 16th-century mapmaker, was celebrated for his meticulous and artistic representations of geographical regions. The map showcases the island of Cyprus in intricate detail, reflecting the cartographic knowledge of the time. Additionally, a notable feature is the inset depicting Lemnos, offering a smaller but equally detailed illustration of this adjacent region. The antiquity of the map adds a layer of historical charm, allowing viewers to appreciate how past cartographers perceived and documented these Mediterranean landscapes.


Abraham Ortelius, born on April 4, 1527, into an ancient Antwerp family, left an enduring legacy as the creator of the pioneering 'first atlas,' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570). Well-versed in Latin, Greek, and mathematics, Ortelius, along with his sisters Anne and Elizabeth, ventured into map coloring, leading to his admission to the Guild of St. Luke as an "illuminator of maps." Over time, his endeavors expanded to include dealing in antiques, coins, maps, and books, gradually making the latter his primary focus. Flourishing in business, Ortelius amassed the means to establish an extensive collection of medals, coins, antiques, and a voluminous library. His extensive travels to Italy and France fostered connections with scholars and editors, contributing to a broad network of correspondence.


In 1564, Ortelius published his first map—an ambitious world wall map—and continued with maps of Egypt, the Holy Land, and a substantial map of Asia in 1565. By 1568, he was deeply engaged in producing individual maps for his magnum opus, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, completing it in 1569. The atlas, available for sale in May 1570, comprised seventy maps on fifty-three sheets, engraved by Franciscus Hogenberg. Ortelius further enriched the atlas through later editions, including Additamenta, resulting in the historical Parergon, a truly original work reflecting his meticulous research.


The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum played a pivotal role in advancing geographical knowledge in the late sixteenth century, unmatched until Mercator's atlas emerged twenty-five years later. Demand for Theatrum was remarkable, with 24 editions released during Ortelius's lifetime and ten posthumously, published in various languages. The atlas's map sheets grew from 53 in 1570 to 167 in the final 1612 edition. In 1577, the first pocket-sized edition, the Epitome, was introduced by engraver Philip Galle and poet-translator Pieter Heyns, becoming a fashionable and widely embraced work with over thirty editions in different languages. Abraham Ortelius's contributions not only transformed cartography but also shaped the dissemination of geographical knowledge for generations to come.

Cypri Insulae Nova Descript. 1573

SKU: 2014
  • Cartographer

    Abraham Ortelius 

  • Engraver

     Johan van Doetichum


  • Date



  • Country



  • Continent



  • Dimensions (cm)

    Image: 35 x 49.5

    Total: 41.5 x 56

  • Condition

    Early colouring. Title in gold. 


  • Reference



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