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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 / 1581
Size:
9.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61754
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
18.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
41339
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1574 (with 1584 Addiamentum)
Size:
17.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
55263
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570
Size:
20.5 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
62781
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1585 circa
Size:
19.7 x 13.8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
64335
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
47839
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1608
Size:
19.5 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
45077
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1608
Size:
18.4 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
63603
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58760
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1608
Size:
19.5 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
55644
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1592
Size:
19 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
23516
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1624
Size:
18 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
50768
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587 (1603)
Size:
19 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
62336
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1573
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
63793
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1608 or 1612
Size:
19 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61288
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1595
Size:
17 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61874
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
9.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61818
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1600 circa
Size:
4.5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
52563
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
19 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
27128
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1598
Size:
18 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
63188
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
18 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
44832
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1574
Size:
19.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53678
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
9 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61945
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49833
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1603
Size:
20 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61812
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
19.5 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
50212
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1598
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61794
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1598
Size:
9 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61993
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1624
Size:
20 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
63865
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1603
Size:
18 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
63239
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58280
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1609 circa
Size:
19.5 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61406
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584 circa
Size:
9.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61704
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1592
Size:
19 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
50251
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1595
Size:
19.5 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
43596
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1573
Size:
17 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
56251

Archived

Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1608
Size:
18.8 x 12.1 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55006
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1571
Size:
16.25 x 11.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
51673
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1579
Size:
17.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49333
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1624
Size:
20 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
50869
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1581 circa
Size:
20 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
58257
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
20 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53701
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
20 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
60498mp2
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1608
Size:
19 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
32361bp
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570
Size:
Condition:
Stock#:
1570AOrtelius
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1603
Size:
18 x 14 inches (approx)
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
58729
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
20 x 13.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53655
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1601
Size:
4.5 x 3 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
18751
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
39465
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1612
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
11014
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1579
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
32729bp
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
37394
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
37613
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
38873
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
8 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
41198
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
41641
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48197
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
8 x 4.5 inches (plus text)
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6033
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1595
Size:
18.75 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
31134
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1609
Size:
15 x 10 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
33300bp
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1612
Size:
15 x 10 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
9424
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1587
Size:
16 x 9.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
21731
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 (?)
Size:
16 x 9.5 inches
Condition:
Fair
Stock#:
10403
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1574
Size:
16 x 9.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
13363
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570
Size:
16 x 9.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
23755
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1570 circa
Size:
16 x 9.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
24303
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1584
Size:
9 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61446
Place/Date:
Antwerp / 1612 circa
Size:
16 x 9.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
25506