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Abraham Ortelius:  Presbiteri Iohannis, Sive, Abissinorum Imperii Descriptio

Maps of West Africa

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Title: Presbiteri Iohannis, Sive, Abissinorum Imperii Descriptio

Map Maker: Abraham Ortelius

Place / Date: Antwerp / 1598

Coloring: Hand Colored

Size: 17.5 x 15 inches

Condition: VG

Price: $1,200.00

Inventory ID: 49054


Finely colored example of Ortelius' famous map of the Kingdom of Prester John, from  Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas of the world.

Prester John was a mythical African King, waging a war against the Muslim Infidels from his Kingdom in Central Africa. For centuries, from the receipt of a fake letter from Prester John to the Byzantine Patriarch, Europeans searched for Prester John, initially in Asia and later in Africa. The Crusaders hoped that Prester John would join with Europeans in the protection of the Holy Lands from the Islamic Saracens and in the protection of all Europe from the Mongols. In the late 1400s and early 1500s, the Portuguese searched for Prester John in East Africa, though they did eventually find a Christian kingdom in Abyssinia.

A dedication to King David of the Bible is in the upper left of map. Above the dedication is the coat of arms of Prester John. Elephants and other figures adorn the map. 

References: Van den Broecke 175.

Related Categories:
Maps of Africa
Maps of Africa
Maps East Africa
Maps of North Africa
Maps of West Africa