Title/Content of Map: Hiberniae Brittannicae Insulae Nova DescriptioDate 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 21 inches
300 copies printed originally. Very few loose copies remaining. A copy of this map sold at Old World Auctions for $2,000 in 2010. More background: Map or Ireland. Title: Eryn. | HIBERNIAE, | BRITANNICAE | INSVLÆ, NOVA | DESCRIPTIO. Irlandt. "Cum Priuilegio". [A new depiction of Eryn [or] Ireland, a British island. Ireland. With Privilege]. (Text block top centre:) "Ex Gyraldo Camb. | In Arran insulis, hominum corpora non putrescunt, | eoque non humantur, sed diuo exposita permanent in:|corrupta.Sic homines auos, atauos, tritauos longamque | stirpis suæ seriem magna admiratione cognoscunt In ea | non sunt mures; et si aliunde illati fuerint, in mare | confestim se præcipitant; sin impediantur, emoriuntur". [We find in Gyraldus Cambrensis that on the isles of Arran, human bodies do not decay or liquify, but also when exposed for a long time remain uncorrupted. Thus, the people here see their grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents, in fact their entire lineage in great admiration. There are no mice here. And if they come from elsewhere, they immediately cast themselves into the sea. If you stop them, they die]. (Textblock bottom right:) "Hanc insulæ partem | Anglis incolendam de:|dit Elisabetha Angliæ | regina; Coloniaque du:|cta est Dño Smetho | equite aurato 1572." [Part of this island was given to the English to live here by queen Elisabeth of England. The settlement was ruled by Mr. Smetho, a horseman clad with gold, in 1572]. (Text block middle bottom:) Hibernicum mare, "Margaritas | sed subfuscas & liuentes generat. Polyd". [The Irish sea generates pearls, but only brown and blue ones.] (Textblock next to Lake Der:) "Purgatorium S. Patritij, huius | Diui precibus hoc loco à Deo | constitutum. Syl. Gyraldus". [The Purgatory of Saint Patricius, whose prayers in this place prompted its establishment by God, according to Sylvius Gyraldus.] (Text block middle right:) "De hoc Erno lacu scribit | Gyrald. Camb. quod olim fons | fuerit, sed ob incolarum nefandam | cum bestijs venerem, Deo irato, in | tantam aquarum diluuiem erupu:|iße, vt totum eum tractum cum hõi:|nibus inundatione submerserit. Atq. in | rei gestæ Veritatem, hodieq. sereno tempo:|re, etiamnum Templorû turres sub | undis hinc inde conspici". [About this lake Erno, Gyraldus Cambrensis writes that it was once a spring, but because the inhabitants shamefully venerated beasts, God became angry and caused such a flood to break out, that the entire area, including its people, were submerged by this inundation. And if these matters still contain the truth, it is now a quiet time, although I can still see the towers of the temples under the waves.] The name of Gyraldus Cambrensis is mentioned four times on the plate, and Polydorus once. (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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