This item has been sold, but you can enter your email address to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1595 Ortelius Epitome Map of Transsylvania (old color)

Transsilvania. - Main View

1595 Ortelius Epitome Map of Transsylvania (old color)


An attractively-engraved 16th century map of Transylvania.



  1595 (undated)     3.5 x 4.25 in (8.89 x 10.795 cm)     1 : 2565024


This is a miniature edition of Abraham Ortelius' 1595 map of Transylvania, in what is now central Romania: the map shows the region northwest of Bucharest (the city, which had not yet become the capital, is not named: it is overshadowed by Târgoviște (here in an archaic Germanized spelling Tervisch), then the capital of Walachia.) The full-size map appearing in Ortelius' 1570 Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first atlas map of the region. It was sourced from a Vienna map published in 1566 by Johannes Sambucus, and engraved by the Venetian engraver Michael Tramezzini (that map is unacquirable). Ortelius' Theatrum, the first modern atlas, proved popular, and his full-size atlas was sufficiently successful that demand was recognized for a smaller, less-expensive option to the original work, and several miniature, so-called Epitome atlases of Ortelius' work appeared in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Publication History and Census
This map was engraved for inclusion in Philip Galle's 1589 edition of Ortelius' Epitome, which was expanded and repaginated in 1595. The page number and catch letters of this example correspond to the 1595 edition. No examples of this edition appear in OCLC. The same plates were very likely reused in 1601 for a further edition of the Epitome published by Jan van Keerberghen and Michel Coignet. One example from this edition is catalogued by Harvard University. The map can be found on the market from time to time.


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...

János Zsámboky, or Johannes Sambucus,(June 1, 1531 - June 13, 1584) was a Hungarian humanist polymath. He is best known for his emblem book, Emblemata cum aliquot nummis antiqui operis, published in five editions starting in 1564. He had studied in Vienna, but traveled broadly: he studied and worked in Leipzig, Wittenberg, Ingolstadt, Strasbourg, Paris, Venice, Padua, Genoa, Naples, Milan, Ghent, and Antwerp. He would be appointed court physician of Emperor Maximilian II, and prospered in that association, allowing him to amass wealth, influence, and an impressive library. His works included several maps - Hungary, Transylvania and Illyricum - which provided the basis for Abraham Ortelius' maps of those regions. Ortelius' decision to use Sambucus' maps speaks both to his influence, as well as a shared interest: Like Ortelius, Sambucus collected coins. Learn More...


Ortelius, A. Epitome theatri Orteliani, (Antwerp: Galle, P.) 1595.    


Average. Surface mend with slight loss. Reinforced areas of oxidation. Margins reinstated. Original hand color.


OCLC 915154009. (1601 Coignet issue, same plate)