Abraham Ortelius; 1528-1598.
Ortelius name is often associated with Ptolemy and Mercator,
when evocating the founding fathers of cartography.
Abaham Ortel (Ortelius), born in Antwerp, trained in classics
and math. He became a book dealer and a map colorist. Widely
traveling to attend fairs, he befriended many literati, in
his homeland and abroad.
Upon their encouragement, he engaged in 1570 in the "Theatrum
Orbis Terrarum" project, by collecting maps, charts and plans
among diverse cartographers, and having Frans Hogenberg* re-engrave
them in the same uniform size and style, to form the first
known modern Atlas (even though this term was not used for
another twenty years,.... by his major competitor: Gerard
The Theatrum knew an immediate and lasting success, being
re-issued many times over in different languages. It always
gave credit to the sources of informations and other contributors
used to produce the maps (a practice few followed in those
Of note: the 42 editions of the "Theatrum" between 1570 and
1612, the 1577 "Spiegel der Werelt" (reduced version of the
Theatrum engraved by Philippe Galle, issued till 1585); and
the 1579 "Parergon Theatri" (historical atlas, reissued till
*Hogenberg associated with Georg Braun, was famous for their
1572 "Civitates Orbis Terrarum", a compilation of plans of
the most significant towns of the time, being recycled many
times till 1750 by Abraham Hogenberg, Frederick de Wit, Pieter
van der Aa, Covens & Mortier.
Galliae regni potentiss: nova descriptio, Joanne
This large decorative map (19 ¾"" X 13 11/16") is derived
from the 1560 four part woodblock map of the Gauls by Jean
Jolivet (see credit given in the title).
It was engraved for the 1570 edition of the Theatrum.
The present item was printed for the second French issue of
said atlas in 1598.
While both coastlines and river courses are lacking, the location
of towns, mountain ranges, forests (Perche, Sologne and above
all Ardennes) and lakes, is remarkably accurate.
The map picture the kingdom of France with roman time frontiers
(encompassing not only present days France, but also significant
portions of Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland
Notice that provinces, towns, rivers are given in vernacular
and not in Latin as it was customary till the mid XVIIth century.
The top right cartouche alludes to the extremely advanced
state of the arts and of the sciences in those parts, so much
so that it was known for Romans to come to the Gauls for education,
may be because of the Greek origin of Marseilles, as the author
French text on verso.