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Abraham Ortelius is perhaps the best known and most frequently collected of all sixteenth-century mapmakers. Ortelius started his career as a map engraver. In 1547 he entered the Antwerp guild of St Luke as afsetter van Karten. His early career was as a business man, and most of his journeys before 1560 were for commercial purposes. In 1560, while traveling with Gerard Mercator to Trier, Lorraine, and Poitiers, he seems to have been attracted, largely by Mercator’s influence, towards a career as a scientific geographer. From that point forward, he devoted himself to the compilation his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), which would become the first modern atlas.

In 1564 he completed his “mappemonde", an eight-sheet map of the world. The only extant copy of this great map is in the library of the University of Basle. Ortelius also published a map of Egypt in 1565, a plan of Brittenburg Castle on the coast of the Netherlands, and a map of Asia, prior to 1570.

On May 20, 1570, Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum first appeared in an edition of 53 maps. By the time of his death in 1598, a total of 25 editions were published including editions in Latin, Italian, German, French, and Dutch. Later editions would also be issued in Spanish and English by Ortelius’ successors, Vrients and Plantin, the former adding a number of maps to the atlas, the final edition of which was issued in 1612. Most of the maps in Ortelius Theatrum were drawn from the works of a number of other mapmakers from around the world; a list of 87 authors is given by Ortelius himself

In 1573, Ortelius published seventeen supplementary maps under the title of Additamentum Theatri Orbis Terrarum. In 1575 he was appointed geographer to the king of Spain, Philip II, on the recommendation of Arias Montanus, who vouched for his orthodoxy (his family, as early as 1535, had fallen under suspicion of Protestantism). In 1578 he laid the basis of a critical treatment of ancient geography with his Synonymia geographica (issued by the Plantin press at Antwerp and republished as Thesaurus geographicus in 1596). In 1584 he issued his Nomenclator Ptolemaicus, a Parergon (a series of maps illustrating ancient history, sacred and secular.) Late in life, he also aided Welser in his edition of the Peutinger Table in 1598.

Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1598
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61794
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
8.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61616
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1585
Size:
10 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46390
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1574
Size:
17 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61447
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1590 circa
Size:
9.3 x 12.3 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61519
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
10 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61546
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
9.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61754
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
62047
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584 circa
Size:
9.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61704
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
9.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61818
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1598
Size:
9 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61993
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
18.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
41339
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46302
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
19 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46478
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
20 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61510
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1600 circa
Size:
4.5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
52563
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1580
Size:
20 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61472
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1579
Size:
19.5 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61580
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1592
Size:
19 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
23516
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
60197mp2
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
20 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61551
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
9 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61945
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
17.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
44739
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
18 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
45663
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
20 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
49941
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
20 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46355
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19.5 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
50212
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1571
Size:
18 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
50718
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
18 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
44832
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49833
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1573
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53969
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1598
Size:
13.5 x 18 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
62077

Archived

Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
39465
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
53242
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1612
Size:
22.5 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
53819
Place/Date:
Antwerp /
Size:
20 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55232
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
17.5 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61300
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20567
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20819
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21640
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
28310
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20820
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
26759
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
26800
Place/Date:
Brescia / 1598
Size:
4.5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
9485
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
19812
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
28623
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
28347
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1602
Size:
5 x 4 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
23013
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
8 x 4.5 inches (plus text)
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6033
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
19811
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20411
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21034
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21195
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21196
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21604
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21641
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
26931
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
27887
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
28451
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
28531
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21036
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
19809
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20569
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20817
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20818
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21194
Place/Date:
Brescia / 1655 circa
Size:
4 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
26764
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
27914
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
17 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
7850
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1602
Size:
5 x 4 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
23012
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20410
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1612
Size:
7 x 6.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
6751
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
9 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
20552
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1574
Size:
17 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
21834
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
28406
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
17 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
5995
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
20 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6890
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20898
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
5 x 3.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20899