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Barbariae et Biledvlgerid: Ortelius 1608

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  • Title: Barbariae et Biledvlgerid, Nova Descriptio
  • Author: Abraham Ortelius
  • Date: 1608
  • Medium: Copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Very Good Plus - age toning, issued center fold, light foxing
  • Inches: 19 3/4 x 13 [Plate Mark]
  • Centimeters: 50.17 x 33.02 [Plate Mark]
  • Product ID: 233066

Map of northeast Africa, including the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Formentera), the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa), and parts of Spain, Italy, and Albania.

Abraham Ortelius was a true Renaissance man. He served as Cosmographer to Phillip II, King of Spain, and in addition worked as a book dealer, cartographer, numismatist, naturalist, and historian. He had wide interests in classical scholarship and made his fortune in bookmaking and selling. He spoke six languages and had reasonable command of two others. He was without doubt one of the most prominent citizens of Antwerp in the late-sixteenth century, when the city stood as a global trading center, “the city of cities.” He had contacts throughout Europe from his extensive travels and counted the brightest intellectuals and entrepreneurs of his day among his friends. 

Ortelius was the first to engrave maps in a uniform format, specifically for his atlas, and provide uniform content, with 53 maps in all. Prior to this, atlases were made-to-order affairs, with no consistency in size or content. His success was such that four printings occurred in 1570 to meet demand, and the publication of the Theatrum launched 100 years of Dutch supremacy in cartography.