Nice example of Ortelius' first map of Europe.
The first edition includes the incorrectly named "Cap de S Tincente" in southwestern Spain, which briefly appeared beginning in 1573, until it was revised to "Cap. de S. Vicente" with the issuance of Ortelius' second map of Europe. The second map was first issued in 1584 and can be distinguished from the earlier editions by the inclusion of cursive lettering in the words "Africae Pars."
The map is based upon several important maps of Europe, including Gerard Mercator's 1554 map of Europe; the mapping of Greenland and Iceland from Mercator's 1569 world map. The treatment of Great Britain is based upon Mercator's 1564 Great Britain map. Scandinavia is drawn from Olaus Magnus' 1539 Scandinavia map. Russia is based on Jenkinson's 1562 Russia map. The Southeastern part of this map is based upon Gastaldi's first map of Asia of 1559. Parts of the North African coast are based upon Gastaldi's Africa map of 1564.
Ortelius himself mentions in his Catalogus Auctorum the maps of Apianus, Cornelius Antonii of Frankfurt, Ioannes Bucius Aenicola of Paris, Jacob Homem Lusitanus printed in Venice, Ioannes Dominicus Methoneus of Venice, Nicolaus Nicolay printed in Antwerp by Ioannes Stelsium, Vopelius, Waldseemüller, and Christoph Zell of Nurnberg.
Abraham Ortelius is perhaps the best known and most frequently collected of all sixteenth-century mapmakers. Ortelius started his career as a map colorist. In 1547 he entered the Antwerp guild of St Luke as afsetter van Karten. His early career was as a business man, and most of his journeys before 1560, were for commercial purposes. In 1560, while traveling with Gerard Mercator to Trier, Lorraine, and Poitiers, he seems to have been attracted, largely by Mercator’s influence, towards a career as a scientific geographer. From that point forward, he devoted himself to the compilation of his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), which would become the first modern atlas.
In 1564 he completed his “mappemonde", an eight-sheet map of the world. The only extant copy of this great map is in the library of the University of Basel. Ortelius also published a map of Egypt in 1565, a plan of Brittenburg Castle on the coast of the Netherlands, and a map of Asia, prior to 1570.
On May 20, 1570, Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum first appeared in an edition of 70 maps. By the time of his death in 1598, a total of 25 editions were published including editions in Latin, Italian, German, French, and Dutch. Later editions would also be issued in Spanish and English by Ortelius’ successors, Vrients and Plantin, the former adding a number of maps to the atlas, the final edition of which was issued in 1612. Most of the maps in Ortelius' Theatrum were drawn from the works of a number of other mapmakers from around the world; a list of 87 authors is given by Ortelius himself
In 1573, Ortelius published seventeen supplementary maps under the title of Additamentum Theatri Orbis Terrarum. In 1575 he was appointed geographer to the king of Spain, Philip II, on the recommendation of Arias Montanus, who vouched for his orthodoxy (his family, as early as 1535, had fallen under suspicion of Protestantism). In 1578 he laid the basis of a critical treatment of ancient geography with his Synonymia geographica (issued by the Plantin press at Antwerp and republished as Thesaurus geographicus in 1596). In 1584 he issued his Nomenclator Ptolemaicus, a Parergon (a series of maps illustrating ancient history, sacred and secular). Late in life, he also aided Welser in his edition of the Peutinger Table (1598).