1640 Gallia Vetus, ad Iul Caesaris Commentaria
By: Abraham Ortelius published by Willem Blaeu
Date: 1640 (Published) Amsterdam
Size: 15 x 19.25 inches (38 x 48.9 cm)
This striking hand colored map of France by Abraham Ortelius is based on the account of the Gallic Wars as written by Julius Caesar, known as Commentaries on the Gallic War. Thus the map was designed to convey an idea of territory of modern day France as it was in antiquity. Many settlements and cities are denoted in the map and its geography is very accurate, with major river systems, mountain ranges and forested areas all clearly detailed and named. The map is embellished with numerous decorative elements including a strapwork title cartouche and a smaller cartouche featuring Caesar himself. Lists of the various tribes and peoples of the region are provided on either side of the map proper, and a lovely border encompasses the whole.
Caesar spent a great amount of time in Gaul and the themes and motifs of his Commentaries provided a wealth of information regarding the region. Though much of what he wrote was no based on personal experience but rather on reports of others and thus was considered hearsay by many of his contemporaries. Caesar’s purpose in writing the Commentaries was to share his knowledge of peoples in foreign regions and to educate the Romans regarding their foreign conquests.
This map enjoyed great popularity and was published for decades, with some versions including text on the verso.
Condition: This beautiful hand colored map is in A condition.