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Description

Fine old color example of Claes Janszoon Visscher 's rare Twelve Caesars world map.

CJ Visscher's world maps are among the most spectacular world maps published in the 17th Century. The present map is one of four world maps with decorative panels issued by Visscher between 1614 and 1652. In 1639, Visscher prepared this exquisite world map on Mercator's projection in the style of Blaeu and Jansson. This example is the final state of that map from 1652, determined by the date engraved in the lower right image, next to the small southern hemispheric map.

Embellished with scenes of twelve Roman emperors mounted on horses in full battle gear - thus often called the "Twelve Caesars Map" - along with representations of the four continents, six costumed figures showing the mode of dress in each of the regions (Europeans, Asiatici, Africani, North Americans, South Americans and Magellanici), and including eight city views (Rome, Amsterdam, Jerusalem, Tunis, Mexico City, Havana, Parnambuco and Bahio Todos Santos).

The cartography is very up to date for the period, showing the discovery of Hudson's Bay and the course of the St. Lawrence river. The Straits of le Maire and Magellan are shown, with the massive Magellanica Sive Terra Australis Incognita (unknown Southern lands still prominently appearing). Beach is still shown in the region that would become Australia, based upon the reports of Marco Polo. The early Dutch discoveries in what would become northern Australia are shown. The marvelous (although completely fictional) California Coastline appears, heading north toward the Straits of Anian, only a few short miles from NE Asia.

The detail in the map is quite remarkable. The engraver of the map is not known, but Shirley surmises that it was probably Pieter Goos.

Condition Description
Old Color. Fine wide margins. Minor foxing.
Reference
Shirley 350.