Ortelius Atlas - Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

BG/52039 - Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)

Alternate Titles:

Abraham Ortelius: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Ortelius-Atlas

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Alternate Titles

Abraham Ortelius: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Extent / Format

672 pages / 44.0 x 24.0 cm

Artist / School

Abraham Ortelius


170 maps, almost all on double pages

Short description

The Ortelius Atlas, or the Theatrum orbis Terrarum, was written, expanded, and continuously republished between 1570 and 1624. What one finds here is a map series by the Flemish geographer Abraham Ortelius. Alongside true-to-scale maps, the manuscript contains assembled information about the lands depicted and is illuminated with charming images.

Facsimile editions available


Ortelius Atlas

The Atlas by Abraham Ortelius is a work which united all of the cartographical findings of the 16th century. It is considered to be first modern and first commercially successful atlas of the world. The Baroque style illuminated manuscript contains 170 gorgeously colored and geographically correct maps of the then-known regions of the world. Alongside maps and cartographical information, the precious work is adorned with delightful representations of landscapes and architecture.

The Formation of the Map Series

Abraham Ortelius was a Flemish geographer and cartographer. He composed some of the most influential map series of the Middle Ages. His atlas represents the crowning of his most important work. The Ortelius Atlas was funded by Gillis Hooftman, an Antwerp merchant, banker, and ship-owner. It was published between 1570 and 1612 in 42 editions and in 7 languages: Latin, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, English, and Italian. In contrast to his colleagues, Ortelius clearly referenced the sources of his maps and texts. He thereby referred to texts that no longer exist today or are only accessed with great difficultly. After the first edition of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Ortelius reworked and expanded his atlas at regular intervals and *newly printed** it in various forms until his death in 1598. With this atlas, one is dealing with probably the clearest and most accurate map series of the Late Middle Ages.

Charming Pictorial Adornment

The Ortelius Atlas contains not only the most accurate geographical information about the lands of the world that were known to its maker. The precious codex concerns itself with the national history of the respective regions depicted. Ortelius described trades typical to those countries, typical eating habits, trade, and the politics of a land – no other work can measure up to the comprehensive informational content of this book. Additionally, the pages of the atlas show breath-taking representations of mountain landscapes, of broad meadows and fields, of sparsely-populated forest regions, and of great castles and palaces. The Ortelius Atlas was an all-around successful manuscript that no library should miss.

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