By: Abraham Ortelius
Date: 1579 (published) Antwerp
Dimensions: 14.5 x 18 inches (36.83 x 45.72 cm)
This authentic antique map of Africa was published by Abraham Ortellius in 1588. It was taken from Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas, which was widely produced for over 40 years in 7 different languages.
Ortelius’ map of Africa is based on Gastaldi's 8 sheet wall map and Mercator's world map of 1569. Two notable geographic changes Ortelius made to the shape of Africa are a more pointed Cape of Good Hope and an eastern coastline that extends far less than many earlier maps of Africa show. Ortelius was also the first to include sources of the information displayed in his map. Also, while many map makers tend to fill the African continent with vignettes of animals, often in an attempt to mask their geographical ignorance of the area, Ortelius leaves the African continent completely void any such distraction. If an area is blank, it’s simply because it’s unexplored lands.
This map however is not completely absent of decoration. A sea battle is depicted in a cartouche in the lower right hand corner of the map, and a number of sea monsters roam the vast Atlantic Ocean, shown off the western coast of Africa. The title cartouche is classical in design, with two armless statues of women and 4 lions’ heads incorporated in the supporters, and is completed with decorative scrollwork.
This example of Africae Tabula Nova comes out of the rare Spanish edition of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The Spanish edition is the initiative of Christoffel Plantijn himself. After a short stay in Calvinistic Leiden it was necessary for him to prove his loyalty to the Spanish King, so he decided to publish a Spanish translation of the Theatrum, dedicated to the future King Philip III. The Franciscan monk Balthasar Vincentius translated the text on the verso into Spanish.
Ref: Norwich, No. 10
Condition: This map is in B condition with blight browning and minor separations (reinforced) along the centerfold, light soiling in the margins, and faint damp-staining along the top margin, most notable in the upper left.
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