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Scarce and detailed early map of Africa, showing and detailing the legend of Prester John.

Published in Cologne by Johannes Bussemacher, this map was part of an attempt by early German mapmakers to establish a rival to the power of the Dutch publishers of the period, and represents the single most successful cartographic attempt at a world atlas outside of the Low Countries at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries.

The present map provides a highly detailed account of the mythical kingdom of Prester John, including a lengthy text explanation in German at the left side of the map, which explains the lineage of Prester John, tracking back to Kings of Israel, before his lineage descended to Ethiopia.

Priester Ioans Title -- David der grosse Konig, den Got lieb hat, ein seul des Glaubes, Geboren aus dem Stamen Juda, ein son David, ein son Salomonis, ei sun der Seulen zu Zion, ein son des famous Jacob, ein son von der hant Marie, und ein leiblicher so N. Keyser der weiten und hohe lande in Ethiopien, dem viel Konigreich Lande, und Gebiete underworffen: derKohnig zu Xoa zu Ceffata, zu Fatigar, zu Angote, zu Bara, zu Dauleganze, zu Adea, zu Vangne zu Goyame, zu Amara, Zu Bagmedri, zu Ambea, zu Vagne, zu Tigremahon, zu Sabaim, zu Barnagasso, und Her bis gen Nubia; samt viel a dern grossen und kleine Herschasste.
Matthias Quad Biography

Matthias Quad (1557-1613), a map publisher based in Cologne, was trained in the Netherlands by Johannes van Doetecum, who also worked with the De Jodes. Quad used many De Jode maps as a base to which he added additional information and decorations. Quad was best known for his atlases, which were part of the first boom in atlases best characterized by Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. In 1592, Quad released an atlas of Europe that had 38 maps. He expanded it in 1594 to 50 maps. In 1600, he expanded the collection of maps further still, this time to 82 maps, and called the atlas, Geographisch Handtbuch. All three were small in size, allowing them to compete as cheaper alternatives to the larger atlases of Ortelius, Mercator, and the De Jodes. Quad released one other atlas, in 1608, with 86 maps, the Fascilus Geographicus.