Scandinavia – Scandianae Insulae Index

by Olaus Magnus

Rare and exceptional


Date of first edition: 1555

Date of this map: 1555

Dimensions (not including margins): 18 x 26 cm

Dimensions (including margins): 19,7 x 28,5 cm

Condition: mint. Sharp wood engraving. No centre fold. Good margins.

Condition rating: A+

Verso: text in Latin

References: Ginsburg (Scandinavia), #14; Karrow 53/1.3

From: Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus by Olaus Magnus


Item number:
Scandinavia, Iceland & Baltics
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Magnus’ Scandinavia

Despite the beauty of this map, the image of Northern Europe remains the weak spot in cartography until the 17th century. The first geographic knowledge about the North was collected by Claudius Clavus (also called Nicholas Niger). This Swede was working in Rome in the first half of the 16th century.

In his work Historia Gentibus Septentrionalibus (printed in Rome in 1555) Olaus Magnus includes this map of Scandinavia. It is much smaller and less spectacular than his Carta Marina Scandinavia of 1539.

Additionally, there are few older maps of Scandinavia (e.g. by Martin Waldseemüller in 1513, Lorenz Fries 1522; Jacob Ziegler 1532; Giacomo Gastaldi in 1548), but Magnus map is considered to be the oldest more or less acceptable form of the large peninsula. Its design is even better than Ortelius’ map Septentrionalium Regionum descript. from 1570.

Note the great sea monsters west of Norway and the Lacus Albus in northern Finland. With a glimpse of Iceland, the Faeröer islands, Scotland, the adjacent countries of the Baltic Sea.

Title: Scandianae Insulae Index. [letter-press title above the map]

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