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1650 Jansson Map of the Ancient World

Orbis Terrarus Veteribus Cogniti Typus Geographicus. - Main View

1650 Jansson Map of the Ancient World


An exceptional mapping of the ancient world.


Orbis Terrarus Veteribus Cogniti Typus Geographicus.
  1650 (undated)     16.5 x 20.5 in (41.91 x 52.07 cm)


An exceptional 1650 map of the world as it was known to the ancients by Jan Janssonius. Such maps, which filled in contemporary geography with ancient place names, were popular in the post-Renaissance period. Scholars digging through rediscovered Greek and Roman texts needed a geographical reference point for the numerous place names that peppered these works. Such maps began appearing in 16t century. This particular example is a significant reworking of an earlier chart by A. Ortelius. It covers Europe, western Asia, and Northern Africa as well as significant, though blank, portions of the surrounding seas. Jansson has curiously oriented this chart with Africa at the center. As such Europe and Asia seem to take on an almost peripheral role. Countless ancient world place names, most of which are drawn from Ptolemy's Geographica, are included. Jansson also notes all five climatic zones, the frigid zones in the north and south, the habitable temperate zones to the north and south of the tropics, and the inhospitable torrid zone to either side of the Equator. Cartographically this map does not stray too far from the standard model of the period. In Africa the Mountains of the Mood as well as the Likes of the Nile are identified. The Caspian Sea is incorrectly oriented on a east-west axis. Sri Lanka is identified with Tapobrana. In Southeast Asia, the five great rivers of the region are shown to originate from the apocryphal lake known, though not labeled here, as Chaimay. Various fishing, sailing, and merchant ships, as well as the odd sea monster, fill the unknown seas. This example represents the second state of this map with a fully developed dedication at bottom center. The first state of the chart left this area blank. A baroque title area complete with cherubs occupies the upper part of the plate. This chart was published in part 2 of Jansonnius' 1650 Atlas Maritimus or volume 5 in his Atlantis Majoris.


Jan Jansson or Johannes Janssonius (1588 - 1664) was born in Arnhem, Holland. He was the son of a printer and bookseller and in 1612 married into the cartographically prominent Hondius family. Following his marriage he moved to Amsterdam where he worked as a book publisher. It was not until 1616 that Jansson produced his first maps, most of which were heavily influenced by Blaeu. In the mid 1630s Jansson partnered with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius, to produce his important work, the eleven volume Atlas Major. About this time, Jansson's name also begins to appear on Hondius reissues of notable Mercator/Hondius atlases. Jansson's last major work was his issue of the 1646 full edition of Jansson's English Country Maps. Following Jansson's death in 1664 the company was taken over by Jansson's brother-in-law Johannes Waesberger. Waesberger adopted the name of Jansonius and published a new Atlas Contractus in two volumes with Jansson's other son-in-law Elizée Weyerstraet with the imprint 'Joannis Janssonii haeredes' in 1666. These maps also refer to the firm of Janssonius-Waesbergius. The name of Moses Pitt, an English map publisher, was added to the Janssonius-Waesbergius imprint for maps printed in England for use in Pitt's English Atlas. More by this mapmaker...


Jansson, J., Atlantis majoris quinta pars, orbem maritimum seu omnium marium orbis terrarium…, part 2, c. 1650.    


Very good. A couple of extremely minor worm holes, top center. Very minor margin wear. Original centerfold. Very faint marginal dampstaining - bottom left and right margins.


Koeman, C., Atlantes Neerlandici, I / 0800H:1.1. Shirley 385. Phillips (Atlases) 5945. Van der Krogt, P. C. J., Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 0800H:1. Keuning, J., 'The Novus Atlas of Johannes Janssonius', Imago Mundi, Vol. 8 (1951), pp. 71-98.