ORTELIUS, ABRAHAM. 1527-1598.
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. [Antwerp: Aegidius Coppenius Diesth, May 20, 1570.] Folio (402 x 268 mm). A8 a-e6. Engraved allegorical title page and 53 double-page maps engraved by Frans Hogenberg, Latin text on verso. Later mottled calf rebacked, six raised bands, gilt lozenges in spine compartments. Repair to blank margins of 4 maps, later ink annotations in margins of 5 maps and pencil annotations to margins of one other, light stray spotting to margins but overall maps in very fine condition.
Provenance: Thomas James [?] (fading ownership inscription to title); Ergon [?] (ownership signature to A2 and colophon).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF THE FIRST MODERN ATLAS, with May 20 printing date on colophon. "For the first time ... all the elements of the modern atlas were brought to publication in Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. This substantial undertaking assembled ... the best available maps of the world by the most renowned and up-to-date geographers. Unlike earlier compositions ... each of Ortelius' maps was engraved specifically for his atlas according to uniform format. Through its launching, pre-eminence in map publishing was transferred from Italy to the Netherlands leading to over a hundred years of Dutch supremacy in all facets of cartographical production" (Shirley). Also of immense importance was the list of sources Ortelius printed at the outset of the atlas, which became the starting point for cartographic investigations for generations of scholars to come. Phillips 374; PMM 91; Sabin 57693; Shirley 122; Streeter I 65.
- Please note: this is not the first issue; there is no May 20 printing date on the colophon.