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Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp, Plantin, 1612. Folio. (26), 128, (4), XL, 1 leaf. With 2 engraved titles, 1 title vignette, 1 portrait, 7 (of which 5 are double-page) copper plates, 166 double-page engraved maps, 5 text engravings, all in EARLY COLOURING. Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over unbevelled wooden boards, covers with roll borders and repeated tools, including different repeated smaller and bigger portraits with names surrounding the part with a depiction of 'Justicia', two fore-edge clasps with brass catches.


This is the last of the Latin editions of the "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" and the most complete as well. It contains a preliminary matter and an introduction by Michel Coignet, the Parergon and the Nomenclature. This edition was printed and published by the successor of Plantin in the famous printing house. The widow of Vrients had sold all the material of the Theatrum and the Epitome to the house of Plantin. In the atlas we find a list of the 12 plates added by Vrients. Another list mentions five plates which have been revised by the house of Plantin.


Abraham Ortelius's "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" is considered one of the most significant and influential atlases in the history of cartography. The very first edition was in May 1570. This atlas plays a pivotal role in the development and standardisation of modern mapmaking. "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" is revolutionary for several reasons; it is the first true atlas, meaning a collection of maps, each with a uniform style and format, covering various regions of the world. Prior to this, maps were often published separately or in different formats. The atlas contains a wealth of geographical knowledge, as it includes maps of different countries, regions, and cities, making it a comprehensive reference work for the time. The 1612 edition retains many of the core elements that contributed to the earlier success of the atlas. It consists of 166 maps, beautifully engraved and hand-coloured.


A unique feature of "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" is the inclusion of a list of sources, making it one of the first atlases to provide citations and references for its maps. 


Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) was a highly influential figure in 16th-century cartography. Born in Antwerp, Belgium, he embarked on extensive travels throughout Europe and had the opportunity to meet Gerard Mercator, another renowned cartographer. Ortelius would go on to become one of the most significant cartographers in history, with his crowning achievement being the publication of this atlas.


This beautiful early colored copy of the atlas has very ample margins (all the Vrients maps have at least 2 - 3 cm margins). Paper in almost mint condition. Exceptional copy!

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - 1612 - Abraham Ortelius

SKU: 3003
  • Cartographer

    Abraham Ortelius
  • Date

  • Dimensions (cm)

    Folio (52 x 32)

  • Atlas

    Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

  • Condition


  • Condition Rating


  • References

    Koeman 3, Ort 41 - van der Krogt, 31:055

  • Reference number


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