Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Antwerp, 1570)

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Antwerp, 1570)

Abraham Ortelius compiled the first systematic atlas in which maps from different sources were edited and reduced to a common format. His world map, a simplified one-sheet reduction of Mercator's famous 1569 world map but now on an oval projection, was copied widely in the sixteenth century. Three plates were used for the world map, of which this is the first. Four printings of the atlas in which it appeared (here preserved in its original full leather binding) were made in 1570.

The quotation by Cicero at the foot of the map asks the reader what power they will see in a map that shows all of eternity and the whole world as being great in human affairs.

Courtesy of the Wisconsin State Historical Society