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1584 Ortelius Map of Crete and an array of Greek Islands

Creta Jovis Magni Medio Iacet Insula Ponto. - Main View

1584 Ortelius Map of Crete and an array of Greek Islands


Crete and the Greek Islands, as known to the Ancients.



Creta Jovis Magni Medio Iacet Insula Ponto.
  1584 (undated)     13.25 x 19 in (33.655 x 48.26 cm)     1 : 600000


This is Abraham Ortelius' 1595 map of Crete and other Mediterranean islands as they were understood in antiquity and Greek mythology. The engraving is comprised of four separate maps of Corsica, Sardinia, Crete, and the Ionian Islands.
Ortelius: Scholar of Antiquity
It is among the maps Ortelius prepared for the volume of his atlas dedicated to ancient and Biblical geography, the Parergon. Although Ortelius is better known as a compiler of other geographers' maps, he was a scholar of Antiquity in his own right and many of the maps of Parergon were his own unique compositions, albeit drawing on classical textual sources such as Pliny, Strabo, Seneca, and Livy. The four maps are beautifully and distinctively engraved, some with stippled water and others (notably the Crete map) with vigorous waves. Mountains are indicated pictorially, with again those of Crete shown most evocatively. Important locations, such as the Labyrinth of the Minotaur, are marked. Lists, of cities and locations whose names were known but whose locations were not, are included on each map.
Publication History and Census
This map was engraved for inclusion in the 1584 edition of Orbis Theatrum Terrarum. This specific example corresponds typographically to the 1595 Latin edition of the work. We see perhaps ten examples of this separate map in institutional collections, although poor transcription in the recording of this map (Jovis? Iovis? Louis?) makes an accurate count difficult.


Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598) was one of the most important figures in the history of cartography and is most famously credited with the compilation of the seminal 1570 atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, generally considered to be the world's first modern atlas. Ortelius was born in Antwerp and began his cartographic career in 1547 as a typesetter for the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke. In this role Ortelius traveled extensively through Europe where he came into contact with Mercator, under whose influence, he marketed himself as a "scientific geographer". In this course of his long career he published numerous important maps as well as issued several updated editions of his cardinal work, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Late in his career Ortelius was appointed Royal Cartographer to King Phillip II of Spain. On his death in July fourth, 1598, Ortelius' body was buried in St Michael's Præmonstratensian Abbey , Antwerp, where his tombstone reads, Quietis cultor sine lite, uxore, prole. Learn More...


Ortelius, A., Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, (Antwerp: Ortelius) 1595.    


Excellent. Generous margins, with a bold strike.


OCLC 551932248. van den Broecke, M., Ortelius Atlas Maps, #217. Van der Krogt, P. C. J., Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, (3 Vols), #7900H:31. Zakharakis, C. G., A Catalogue of Printed Maps of Greece 1477-1800, #2504.