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 travelling 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 Mercator!).
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 days.).
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 1624).
*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.
Hispaniae novae sivae magnae recens et vera descriptio. 1579
This large map (19 7/8” X 13 5/8”) was included in the “Theatrum”. It is dated 1579, but this specific specimen was printed for the latin edition of 1595 (re Cartographia neerlandica background for Ortelius map no. 13).
Its delineation seems to derive from a 1575 work by Jean Duran, which was recycled may times over almost a century (by, amongst others: Mercator, Hondius, Blaeu, Jansson, Montanus, Ogilby,…). Inland details were probably supplied by Jeronimo de Chaves (the onetime cosmographer to the “Casa de Contratacion” in Seville, where the spanish world master map was kept and regularly updated).
It depicts the amazingly quick and successful penetration
of the spaniards thoughout the Aztec empire since Cortez landed
at Veracruz in 1519. Notice the then relative importance of
the towns and missions, according to the size of the church
symbols (in particular: Compostella today’s Compostela
near Puerto Vallarte, Angelorum today’s Puebla, Purificatio
today’s Villa Purificacion near Ciudad Guzman).
Notice the smoking volcano SE of Mexico city (the Popocatepetl
awed the first explorers). Notice the top left mountain range
peopled by cannibals.
Latin text on verso, last line left aligned “gione libellulo.”