Ancient Greece – Graecia Sophiani

by Abraham Ortelius


Date of first edition:  1579

Date of this map: 1581

Dimensions (not including margins): 35 x 50 cm

Condition: Very good. Strong paper and wide margins . Originally coloured.

Condition rating: A

Verso: text in French

Map reference:  Van der Krogt 3, 7800H:31; Van den Broecke, 215.

From: Théatre de l’Univers


Item number:
Southeast Europe
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Ortelius visits Athens and Sparta

This map from 1579 is embellished with a decorative cartouche in the shape of a Greek temple (left) with a scale bar (bottom right).

It is based on a map of Nikolaus Sophianos from around 1540 which was published by John Oporinus in Basel in 1545 as a woodcut in eight parts; and later in 1552 on four sheets. Hence the title of the map: Graecia “Sophiani”.

Ortelius took his own knowledge much less into account: his former map of contemporary Greece in 1570 (Van den Broecke 146) which was based on Gastaldi’s map of 1560 shows. His former map was more correct from a geographical point of view. The reason is that when Ortelius made maps of the Antiquity, he did not rely on contemporary sources, but he went back to the ancient authors.

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