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Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - 1612


Cartographer :

Abraham Ortelius

Dimensions :

Conditions details :

Very Good

Reference :


Very rare and beautifully hand-coloured complete atlas "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" by Abraham Ortelius from 1612.


Abraham Ortelius's "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" is considered one of the most significant and influential atlases in the history of cartography. The 1612 edition is a noteworthy continuation of Ortelius's legacy, having been originally published in 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 disparate formats. The atlas contains a wealth of geographical knowledge, as it included 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 144 maps, beautifully engraved and hand-coloured. The maps were often based on the work of other notable cartographers, including Gerard Mercator, among others, compiled into a coherent format by Ortelius.

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. This indicated a growing emphasis on accuracy and rigor in mapmaking, reflecting the changing landscape of cartography in the late 16th century.

The success of "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" is evidenced by its multiple editions and translations, highlighting its widespread recognition and use among scholars, explorers, and navigators. It not only contributed to the dissemination of geographical knowledge during its time but also played a crucial role in shaping the development of modern cartography. Ortelius's work laid the foundation for subsequent generations of cartographers and remains a testament to the significance of his contributions to the field.

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 "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum." Notably, he was appointed as the Royal Cartographer to King Philip II of Spain, underscoring the significance of his contributions to the field of mapmaking during his lifetime.

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