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1640 Blaeu Map of Asia Minor

Natolia, quae olim Asia Minor. - Main View

1640 Blaeu Map of Asia Minor



Natolia, quae olim Asia Minor.
  1640 (undated)     16 x 21 in (40.64 x 53.34 cm)


This is an attractive c. 1640 map of Turkey or Asia Minor by Johannes Blaeu. It covers Turkey from the Aegean Sea east as far as the Euphrates River. Cyprus and some of the Aegean Islands are also included. The map is beautifully detailed, noting several important towns, cities, rivers, and topography. Mountains are beautifully rendered in profile. The important cities of Constantinople (Istanbul), Smyrna (Izmir) and Antioch are identified.

The Ottoman Empire, at its peak, controlled the entire region during this period with Constantinople as its capital. In the middle part of the 17th century, after its period of growth, the Ottoman Empire would enter a period of gradual decline and stagnation.

A beautifully illustrated sea battle in the Mediterranean depicts one of the many naval battles fought by the Ottomans. Another illustration of a sea monster is also featured in the bottom right quadrant. A beautifully engraved title banner adorns the top of the map, with a scale depicted in the bottom right quadrant. Later editions would include an illustration of a turbaned figure holding the scale. This map was issued in 1840 in Johannes Blaeu's Atlas Novus.


Joan (Johannes) Blaeu (September 23, 1596 - December 21, 1673) was a Dutch cartographer active in the 17th century. Joan was the son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu, founder of the Blaeu firm. Like his father Willem, Johannes was born in Alkmaar, North Holland. He studied Law, attaining a doctorate, before moving to Amsterdam to join the family mapmaking business. In 1633, Willem arranged for Johannes to take over Hessel Gerritsz's position as the official chartmaker of the Dutch East India Company, although little is known of his work for that organization, which was by contract and oath secretive. What is known is his work supplying the fabulously wealthy VOC with charts was exceedingly profitable. Where other cartographers often fell into financial ruin, the Blaeu firm thrived. It was most likely those profits that allowed the firm to publish the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive, Atlas Novus, their most significant and best-known publication. When Willem Blaeu died in 1638, Johannes, along with his brother Cornelius Blaeu (1616 - 1648) took over the management of the Blaeu firm. In 1662, Joan and Cornelius produced a vastly expanded and updated work, the Atlas Maior, whose handful of editions ranged from 9 to an astonishing 12 volumes. Under the brothers' capable management, the firm continued to prosper until the 1672 Great Amsterdam Fire destroyed their offices and most of their printing plates. Johannes Blaeu, witnessing the destruction of his life's work, died in despondence the following year. He is buried in the Dutch Reformist cemetery of Westerkerk. Johannes Blaeu was survived by his son, also Johannes but commonly called Joan II, who inherited the family's VOC contract, for whom he compiled maps until 1712. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Some centerfold damage with verso reinforcements. Original platemark visible. Minor toning and spotting.