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The Earliest Reasonably Obtainable Modern Map of the Arabian Peninsula and Sea Region. The First Derivative of the 1559 Gastaldi Map.

Fine example of De Jode's modern map of the Middle East, from his Speculum Orbis Terrae, published in Antwerp in 1593 and engraved by Joannes & Lucas Van Deutecum.

This rare map shows the Arabian Peninsula in fine detail. A number of interesting geographical features appear. The Persian Gulf is given a second name - the Mare El Catif, named after the port of Qatif near Bahrain. Near this name, two islands appear, which allude to Bahrain and an erroneously mapped Qatar; Bahrain is mentioned as an important pearl-diving center. Detail goes eastwards to the western coast of India, which was heavily influenced by Arabian culture at the time.

The map is particularly notable for placing the Arabian Peninsula in the context of the western Indian Sea. Ortelius, in his slightly earlier atlas, shows Arabia as part of his map of the Turkish Empire. By focusing on the Arabian Sea instead, De Jode acknowledges the important trade routes that connect the maritime-facing Peninsula eastward, which provided much of the source of wealth for this region at the time. This shift in perspective is akin to how the classical geographers used to visualize the Peninsula, as an important and globalized hub for trading. This is alluded to in the title.

The complete title reads:

Secundae partis Asiae: typus qua oculis subijciuntur itinera nautarum qui Calecutium Indiae mercandorum aromatum caufa fre quentant, ac eorum quoqz qui terrestri itinere ade unt Suacham, Laccam, in domino Praeto Iani, nec non eorum qui Aden et ormum inuifunt, et Balsaram quoque castrum, supra Euphratem fluuium situm, omnia suis gradibus subiecta, cum longitudinis tum latitudinis / Iacobo Castaldo pedemontano authore ; Gerhardus de Iode excudebat

This roughly translates to:

The Second part of Asia: On which the eyes are drawn to the voyages of the sailors who go to Calcutia to trade in the spices of India, and of those who go by land, to places such as Suach and Laccam, in the land of lord Prester John, in addition to those who visit Aden and Ormus, and also the castle of Balsara [Bassra]. above the Euphrates, the river's location, all subject to its degrees, with length and breadth. Giacomo Gastaldi is the Piedmontese Author of this Map.

As previously alluded to, the map was prepared by Gerard De Jode and based on to Giacomo Gastaldi's highly influential map of 1559. De Jode's delineation of Arabia is vastly superior to the contemporary maps of Ortelius, showing far more accuracy and detail. Extending from the Nile to Afghanistan and centered on the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf, the map depicts what was then still among the most important trading centers of the commercial world.

Mare El Katif

In the 16th century, the Ottomans added the Red Sea and Persian Gulf Coast to the empire and claimed suzerainty over the interior. The main objective of this was to thwart Portuguese attempts to attack the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Ottoman Turks conquered the area around Basra and invaded the Arabian Coast as far as Qatif, which they occupied, removing the Portuguese from the region. The Turks adopted the names Gulf of Basrah, Gulf of Qatif and Gulf of Arabia. However, on European maps, starting in the 1570s, the name Mare Elcatif began to appear. This would continue well into the 17th century.

De Jode's Speculum Orbis Terrarum

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 1570De 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.

Condition Description
Clean example with nice, wide margins. Minor repaired tear in the lower margin. Minor show through of text from verso.
Karrow, Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century, 30/91.2; Tibbetts, Arabia in Early Maps 38.