Title/Content of Map: Romani Imperii Imago Date Printed: 1579Cartographer: Abraham OrteliusMaterial/Medium: No color, strong impression. Latin text on verso. From the first modern atlas- the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Abraham Ortelius.Size: 17 x 21 inches
250 copies printed originally. Very few loose copies remaining of this particular issue. Worse condition copies of this map sold at auction for $750 in 2009 and $850 in 2016. More background: A map of the Roman Empire. Title: ROMANI | IMPERII | IMAGO. [Image of the Roman Empire]. (Middle bottom:) "Cum Gratia et | Priuilegio". [With grace and privilege]. (Lower left and middle two cartouches with 14 lines [viz]:) Originis, Incrementi, et Culminis Imperij Romani, breuis enumeratio. "Primo sub Regibus septem, Romulo, Seruio, etc. per annos ducentos & tres supra quadraginta, non amplius quam usque Portum, atque Hosti:|am, intra decimum octauum miliariû Romanum proceßit Imperium Sub Consulib. verò, inter quos interdum Dictatores, et Decemuiri, ac Tribuni | militares fuerunt, per annos quadrigentos & septem supra quadraginta, usque trãs Padum Italia est capta: Africa Hispaniæque subactæ: Gallia, et | Britannia tributariæ sunt factæ: Illyrici, Histri, Liburni, Dalmatæ, sunt domiti. ad Achaiam transitum est: Macedones expugnati: cum Dardanis, | Moesis et Thracibus est bellatum. ad Danubium est peruentum: ac in Asia (pulso Antiocho) primum pedem posuerunt Romani. Mithrida:|te victo, regnum Ponti est captum, cum Armenia minori quam idem tenuerat: in Mesopotamiam progressum est; & cum Parthis foedus initum; contra | Carduenos, & Saracenos ac Arabas pugnatum: Judæa omnis victa: Cilicia et Sria, in potestatem redacta: ac tandem in Aegyptum peruentum: Sub Impe:|ratoribus autem, a Diuo Augusto nempe, ad Theodosij superioris, et Honorij ac Arcadij eius filiorum tempora, per annos quadrigentos & | quadraginta, Cantabri, Astures, totaque Hispania sub iugum mißa est. Alpes maritimæ, Cocciæque et Rhetiæ, Noricum Pannoniæ et Moesiæ, Imperio | acceßerunt. Omnis ora Danubij in Prouincias est redacta. Pontus omnis, et Armenia Maior, Aßyria, Arabia et Ægyptus, in Im:|perij Romani iura conceßerunt. Atque hoc modo his Principibus viris, & populi Romani virtute, ac immortali eorû gloria, hoc Augustißimû Im:|perium ad summû fastigium perductum fuit; Cuius limites fuere ad Occidentê Oceanus, à Septentrione Rhenus et Danubius, ab Oriente Tigris, | à Meridie Atlas mons. quæ omnia in hact tabula ob oculos (historiæ candidatis) ponuntur". [A short list of the origins, growth and culmination of the Roman Empire: At first, under the seven kings called Romulus, Servius etc., the Roman Empire extended for 243 years no further than to Portus and Ostia within a radius of 18 miles. However, under the consuls, in some cases including dictators, groups of ten men, and military tribunes, Italy has been conquered in 447 years all the way beyond the river Po; Africa and Spain have been subdued, Gallia and Britannia have been conquered; the Illyrians, Histrians, Liburnians and Dalmatians have been overrun; Greece has been invaded, the Macedonians have been beaten; wars have been waged against the Dardanians, the Mœsians and the Thracians; the Danube has been reached and the Romans have made their first conquests in Asia by winning Antiochus; When Mithridates had been defeated they occupied the kingdom of Pontus and at the same time the smaller province of Armenia, which was under his rule. The Romans proceeded to Mesopotamia and struck a treaty with the Parths. They entered into combat with the Carduanians, Saracenes and Arabs. They conquered all of Judea. They brought Cilicia and Syria under their rule. Finally, they invaded Egypt. However, when the emperors ruled, that is to say from the time of divine Augustus until the time of Theodosius the Great and his sons Honorius and Arcadius, they brought under their rule in the course of 440 years the Cantabrians, the Asturians, and all the rest of Spain. The coastal areas, the Alps, Coccia and Rhetia, Noricum, Pannonia and Moesia have augmented their power. The entire Danube area has been divided into provinces. The entire Pontus, Greater Armenia, Assyria, Arabia and Egypt have come under Roman law, and thus, thanks to the exertions of their commanders, and through the valiant behaviour of the Roman population, and in immortal glory, they have attained the highest stage for this most elevated empire, of which the borders in the West are the ocean, in the North the Rhine and the Danube, in the East the Tigris, and in the South the Atlas mountain range. All this is shown on this map for the benefit of those studying history]. (From leading Ortelius scholar Marcel van den Broecke.)
Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598) was a Flemish cartographer & geographer, celebrated as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World). Ortelius' work, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, was the first uniformly sized, systematic collection of maps; this work can therefore be called the first atlas (although the term was not used until 20 years later by Mercator).
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