Northeast Atlantic Ocean – Septentrionalium Regionum descrip.

by Abraham Ortelius


Date of first edition:  1570

Date of this map: 1592

Dimensions (not including margins): 36,2 x 49,5 cm

Condition: Very good. Strong paper and wide margins. Lovely old colouring. Professional repair in bottom margin, not affecting the map. Oxidation at back, not affecting the front (see picture).

Condition rating: A+

Verso: text in Latin

Map reference: Van der Krogt 3, 1200:31; Van de Broecke 160

From: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum



Item number:
World, Polars & Oceans
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Ortelius’ North Atlantic, surprisingly interesting

Mercator’s map of the North Pole in 1569 was a direct source for this one. This image delineated at the Arctic. Mercator had divided the North Pole into four parts separated by four rivers that flowed into the earth to the north pole point. Water would ten resurface t the Antarctic!

Ortelius at least suggests to take over this concept. Even his reference on the North Pole to “Pigmei hic habitant” originates from Mercator. For Scandinavia Ortelius finds support in the Carta Marina map by Olaus Magnus (for example for the indication of the Lacus Albus). One notices the vastness of the Kingdom of Denmark at the time which also included Norway and southern Sweden.

In the North Atlantic Ocean are many imaginary islands like Frysland, Icaria, Drogeo and St Brendan. According to Honorius of Autun in his Geographia in 1130 St Brendan was one of the twelve apostles are Irish, which put foot on land in the sixth century. This would have been during his mythical quest for the Garden of Eden between 512-530. Brasil is also noted as an island (and appears on many old maps as such).

Baynton-Williams: Most of the islands are derived from a 1556 book also published in Venice, which purported to be the true account of the voyages of the Zeno Brothers, Nicolas and Antonio, in the 1390s, published by one of their descendants.

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