Typus Orbis Terrarum.

Stunning c.16th world map by Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) issued in Ortelius’s  Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first true modern atlas which is of fundamental importance in the history of cartography. Ortelius important world map is based on Mercator’s large wall map … Read Full Description

$A 12,500

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S/N: ORTE-WM-001-1574L–452832
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Full Title:

Typus Orbis Terrarum.




In good condition, with centre fold as issued.


Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 335mm

Paper Size: 

x 445mm
Typus Orbis Terrarum. - Antique Map from 1574

Genuine antique



Stunning c.16th world map by Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) issued in Ortelius’s  Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first true modern atlas which is of fundamental importance in the history of cartography.

Ortelius important world map is based on Mercator’s large wall map which was published 1569. He has removed the legends, textual panels and decorative features and added formations of clouds around the map and a quotation by Cicero, the Roman writer. From surviving correspondence it is known that Mercator generously encouraged Ortelius to make use of his published corpus of research: he also provided him with co-ordinates of places in America. South America retains the unusual bulge to the south-west coast drawn by Mercator. A large predominant ‘Terra Australis Nondum Cognita’  occupies much of the southern hemisphere while is shown as an island. There is a note adjacent to New Guinea querying whether this large island is part of the southern continent or not. On the northern promontory of the Southland just below Java are three place names derived from the scribed accounts of Marco Polo; ‘Beach’, ‘Lucach’ and ‘Maleur’.

The map has the signature of the engraver, Frans Hogenberg at the lower edge of the map.

Translation of text;
Centre bottom panel: QVID EI POTEST VIDERI MAGNVM IN REBVS HVMANIS, CVI AETERNITAS OMNIS, TOTIVSQVE MVNDI NOTA SIT MAGNITVDO. CICERO: [Who can consider human affairs to be great, when he comprehends the eternity and vastness of the entire world. Cicero.
Lower left note: “Hanc continentem Australem, nonnulli Magellanicam regionem ab eius inuentore nuncupant”. [This Southern continent is by some called the Magellan region after its discoverer].
Lower left: “Noua Guinea nuper inuenta quæ an sit insulaan pars continentis|Australis incertû est” [New Guinea, recently discovered. Whether this is an island or part of the Southern continent is uncertain.]
Lower right: “Vastißimas hic eße regiones ex M Pauli Ven:et Lud.Vartomann. scriptis pe:|regrationibus constat”. [These regions are very extended, as can be seen in the writings of Paulus Venetus and the travels of Ludovicus Vartomannus.]
Lower right: “Psitacorum regio sic a Lusitanis appellata ob incredibilem earum auium ibidem magnitudem”. [This region is by the Portuguese called “of the Psitaci” because of the incredible number of birds of the same size].




Shirley, R. The Mapping of the World Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700. London 1987 :: : 122, pl.104, pg.144-145.
Perry, T. The Discovery of Australia. Sydney 1982 :: : p.18-19, ill. pl. 7.
Moreland, C. & Bannister, D. Antique Maps. London 1995 :: : ill. pl.2 s.
Van Den Broecke, M. P. R. Ortelius Atlas Maps.1996 Netherlands :: : 1.2.
Schilder, G. Australia Unveiled, The share of the Dutch navigators in the discovery of Australia. Amsterdam 1976 :: : Map 12, ill. p.266-7.
Shirley, R. Maps in the Atlases of The British Library. London 2004 :: : T.ORT-1K.
Koeman, C. Atlantes Neerlandici. Amsterdam 1967. Volumes I-V :: : ORT 12.
Clancy, R. The Mapping of Terra Australia. Sydney 1995 :: : P.67 Ill. Map 5.9.
Binding, P. Imagined Corners Exploring the World's First Atlas. London 2003:.
Karrow, R. Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and their Maps. Bio-Bibliographies of the Cartographers of Abraham Ortelius, 1570. Chicago 1993 :: 1/6.
Bricker, C. & Tooley, R. Landmarks of Mapmaking: An Illustrated Survey of Maps and Mapmakers. 1989 Ware :: p.246.
Brosse, J. Great Voyages of Exploration. The Golden Age of Discovery in the Pacific. Sydney 1983 :: : ill. p.12.
Richards, M. & O'Connor, M. Changing Coastlines Putting Australia on the World Map 1493-1993. Canberra 1993 :: Map 8, ill. pg. 10.
Walter, L. Japan a Cartographic Vision. New York 1994 :: : Map 11b.

National Library Australia: Call Number MAP NK 10001
State Library New South Wales: Record Identifier 74Vv8PVPNxMl (1570? shows crack at left which appeared in 1575
Library of Congress Washington D.C.: 2017585795 (2nd state)
British Library London: D2018_000051_BL
National Maritime Museum Greenwich: ID: PBD7640(1)

Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598)

Ortelius was a Flemish cartographer, map seller and publisher. Ortelius was a leading cartographer who published the first modern atlas in 1570, Theatrum orbis terrarum in which each map was presented on a separate sheet. He initially trained as an engraver in 1547 and as an illuminator of maps. Influenced by Gerard Mercator he published his first map in 1564 and soon after published his famous atlas that changed the way maps were sold and published.

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