The Most Exact Contemporary Copy of Perhaps The Most Important Early Map of Hungary, All Examples of Which are Thought to be Destroyed
Rare 1578 first edition of the de Jode family's map of Hungary, showing the flow of the Danube and a great deal of place names, geographical features, and other points of interest. The map includes the coats of arms of Hungary, being born by two cherubs.
This map was based on the 1552-53 partial map of Hungary produced by Augustin Hirschvogel, which was left uncompleted due to his untimely death. The map was to serve as an updated version of the roughly-outlined earlier Lazarus map. This map is at present unknown--the last traced was destroyed at the Breslau Library during the Second World War. Photo-facsimiles of the map reveal that this original map is a woodcut printed on twelve sheets, forming a huge map. This map was drawn on and copied by Ortelius and de Jode for their respective atlases.
Comparison of the Ortelius and de Jode maps shows that Ortelius reduces the region shown, while de Jode utilizes the full area depicted in Hirschvogel's edition. Ortelius omits the regions of Bacska, Banat, Sirmivir, and Serbia. Both later editions also orient the map to the north, as opposed to Hirschvogel's southwards orientation. De Jode also includes more of the toponyms which are visible but unreadable on the photo facsimile of Hirschvogel's map. As such, this contemporary copy is of great importance to Hungarian collectors as the best-surviving reproduction of Hirschvogel's map.
One of the great rarities of 16th-century mapmaking, the De Jode family's Speculum Orbis Terrarum represents over twenty-five years of work shared between two generations of the de Jode family. The work was published in two editions in the late 16th century, first by Gerard de Jode in 1579 and expanded later by his son Cornelis in 1593.
The Speculum cannot be discussed without its great rival, Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, first published in 1570. De Jode's work, though conceived very near in time to Ortelius's, languished unpublished for some years, which scholars have ascribed to political machinations by the author of the Theatrum. By the time it was finally brought to market, it could not hope to rival the Terrarum, which had already been published in four languages and many editions. Records show few sales for either the first or the second edition, and the early death of Cornelis along with the eventual sale of the copper plates to the Vrients publishing house--who were keen to suppress any competition to the Ortelius plates they had also acquired--put the De Jode family's lifetime achievement to permanent rest. This leads to the book's incredible rarity when compared to Ortelius's.
Scholarly and historical comparison between the Speculum and the Theatrum varies. The great cartographers of the late 16th- and early 17th-century, including Montanus, van den Keere, and von Aitzing used both as sources, and Hondius compared the former work favorably against the latter. Later scholarly review notes less consistency in the cartography in de Jode's work, particularly in some of the Germanic regions, although the craftsmanship of the engraving is praised.
Gerard De Jode (1509-1591) was a pre-eminent mapmaker in the late seventeenth century, a time when the Dutch dominated the map trade. He was known for his many maps, some of which featured in Speculum Orbis Terrae (first edition Antwerp: 1578). Although never as successful as Ortelius’ Theatrum, the Speculum did get republished in a second edition in 1593, two years after De Jode’s death, by Arnold Coninx, and included this map. After his death, Gerard’s son, Cornelis (1568-1600), and his wife, Paschina, ran the shop. Unfortunately, Cornelis died young in 1600, aged only 32, and the stock and plates were sold to the publisher Joan Baptista Vrients.