Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca

BG/52041 - Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)

Alternate Titles:

Atlas sive Cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura, Atlas de Mercator, Mercator Weltatlas, Mercator Atlas

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Alternate Titles

Atlas sive Cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura
Atlas de Mercator
Mercator Weltatlas
Mercator Atlas

Extent / Format

680 pages / 43.0 x 30.0 cm

Artist / School

Cartographer: Gerardus Mercator
Engraver: Jodocus Hondius


146 double-page maps

Short description

The Mercator Atlas was made by the famous scholar Gerhard Mercator and published in 1595, shortly after his death. It is the first geographically correct map series to bear the name “atlas”. The work was one of immeasurable significance for the discovery of modern navigation.

Facsimile editions available


Mercator Atlas

The Fürstlich Fürstenbergische Court Library at Donauschingen is one of the largest and most significant aristocratic libraries in Germany. It shelters a world atlas originating from the Middle Ages, which measurably influenced cartographical techniques up to today. The atlas by the German scholar Gerhard Mercator is one of the most important cartographic manuscripts that was ever produced. Geographically correct and enchantingly-colored maps spread across 58 double pages, representing all the known regions of the world at that time.

The Scholar Gerhard Mercator

Gerhard Mercator was a geographer and cartographer, who was already seen as the Ptolemy of his time during his lifetime and was famous as far as the Arab-Islamic world. He was a cosmographer, theologian, and philosopher of great significance in the 16th century and set standards as a typographer. He achieved special significance through his efforts in the field of cartography. He developed an isogonal manner of representation that became known as “Mercator Projection” and retains great significance for travel by sea and by air to this day.

A Significant Map Series

Mercator’s map series, the first to bear the name “atlas”, can be designated as a historico-cultural achievement. The modern method of depicting the geographic regions of the world substantially contributed to the overcoming of the medieval world view. Mercator gave cartography its mathematical basis. The atlas was published after the death of the scholar by his son Rumold in 1595. Mercator died in 1494 as a distinguished and wealthy man, numerous statues and monuments pay tribute to his works in his hometown of Duisburg. His amazing world atlas is probably the famous master’s greatest achievement.

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