Title/Content of Map: Africae Tabula NovaDate Printed: 1588Cartographer: Abraham OrteliusMaterial/Medium: No color, strong impression. Spanish text on verso. From the first modern atlas- the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Abraham Ortelius.Size: 16 x 22 inches
325 copies printed originally. Very few loose copies remaining. A copy of this map sold for $1,440 at Skinner Auctions in 2013, and one sold at Old World Auctions for $2,400 in 2009. More background: Continent map of Africa. Title: AFRICAM | GRÆCI | LIBYAM APP. | AFRI:|CÆ TA:|BVLA | NOVA.| EDITA ANT:|VERPIÆ | 1570 (upper left:) "Cum Priuilegio" [The Greeks call Africa Lybia. A new map of Africa, published in Antwerp in 1570, with privilege]. (Middle right:) "SINVS BARBA:|RICVS, qui et Aspe:|rum mare Ptol:" [The Barbarian Gulf, which by Ptolemæus is also called the Rough sea.] (Just right of centre:) "Hic longe lateque imperitat | magnus princeps Presbiter | Iões totius Africæ potentiß: | Rex" [Here rules far and wide the great leader Prester John, most powerful king of all Africa"]. (Centre:) "Hic Niger flu: per 60 mill: | se sub terram condit". [Here the river Niger flows underground for sixty miles.] (Lower right:) "Hæc insula ab incolis Madagascar | ab Hispanis S. Laurentij,olim Me:|mithias Ptol.Cerne forte Plin.|dicitur" [This island is by its inhabitants called Madagascar, by the Spanish Saint Laurentius, and was in old times by Ptolemæus called Memithias, and was probably by Plinius called Cerne.] (Upper centre:) "NVBIA | Regnum olim Chri:|stiana religione im:|butum; hac tem:|pestate vix | ullam reli:|gionê | agnoscunt". [Nubia, once drenched in Christianity, nowadays hardly professes to any religion.] (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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