Detailed map of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Baltic, from an early edition of the Bertius-Hondius Tabularum geographicarum contractarum libri septem. . .
Jodocus Hondius the Elder (1563-1612), or Joost de Hondt, was one of the most prominent geographers and engravers of his time. His work did much to establish Amsterdam as the center of cartographic publishing in the seventeenth century. Born in Wakken but raised in Ghent, the young Jodocus worked as an engraver, instrument maker, and globe maker.
Hondius moved to London in 1584, fleeing religious persecution in Flanders. There, he worked for Richard Hakluyt and Edward Wright, among others. Hondius also engraved the globe gores for Emery Molyneux’s pair of globes in 1592; Wright plotted the coastlines. His engraving and nautical painting skills introduced him to an elite group of geographic knowledge seekers and producers, including the navigators Drake, Thomas Cavendish, and Walter Raleigh, as well as engravers like Theodor De Bry and Augustine Ryther. This network gave Hondius access to manuscript charts and descriptions which he then translated into engraved maps.
In 1593 Hondius returned to Amsterdam, where he lived for the rest of his life. Hondius worked in partnership with Cornelis Claesz, a publisher, and maintained his ties to contacts in Europe and England. For example, from 1605 to 1610, Hondius engraved the plates for John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.
One of Hondius’ most successful commercial ventures was the reprinting of Mercator’s atlas. When he acquired the Mercator plates, he added 36 maps, many engraved by him, and released the atlas under Mercator’s name, helping to solidify Mercator’s reputation posthumously. Hondius died in 1612, at only 48 years of age, after which time his son of the same name and another son, Henricus, took over the business, including the reissuing of the Mercator atlas. After 1633, Hondius the Elder’s son-in-law, Johannes Janssonius, was also listed as a co-publisher for the atlas.
Petrus Bertius was a Flemish historian, theologian, geographer, and cartographer. Known in Dutch as Peter de Bert, Bertius was born in Beveren. His father was a Protestant preacher and his family fled to London around 1568. The young Bertius only returned to the Low Countries in 1577, to attend the University of Leiden. A bright pupil, Bertius worked as a tutor and was named subregent of the Leiden Statencollege in 1593. He ascended to the position of regent in 1606, upon the death of the former regent, who was also Bertius’ father-in-law. However, due to his radical religious views, he eventually lost his teaching position and was forbidden from offering private lessons.
His brothers-in-law were Jodocus Hondius and Pieter van den Keere, who were both prominent cartographers. Bertius began his own cartographic publishing in 1600 when he released a Latin edition of Barent Langenes’ miniature atlas Caert Thresoor (1598). He published another miniature atlas that first appeared in 1616.
By 1618, Bertius was named cosmographer to Louis XIII. He converted to Catholicism and took up a position as professor of rhetoric at the Collège de Boncourt (University of Paris). In 1622, Louis XIII created a chart of mathematics specifically for Bertius and named him his royal historian. He died in Paris in 1629.