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Nice example of Abraham Ortelius's map of Gallia, which he based on information from Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, a popular text among humanists of the era.

Ancient Gaul is divided into four parts: Belgica, Celtica, Aquitania, and Gallia Narbonensis (Provincia Romanorum), which had already been conquered by the time of Caesar's Gallic Wars.

Narbona, from where Caesar launched his campaign and wrote of in Commentarii, is written in a scripted font, as are Arelate (Arles), Massilia (Marseille), Uxellodunum, Lemovicum (Limoges), Gergovia (Gergovie), Lutetia (Paris), Melodunum (Melun), Alexia (Alesia), and others.

The Ardennes Forest, Lemanus lacus (Lake Geneva), Rhenus fluvius (Rhine), and Rhodanus flu. (Rhone), Sequana fluvius (Seine), Garumna fluvius (Garonne), Alps, and Pyrenees, among other geographical features, are mapped.

Listed on the sides of the map are famous Gauls and their tribes, belligerent in Caesar’s campaigns, including Arvernian Vercingetorix and Eburones Ambiorix and Cativolcus.

This is the second state of three, with “Elusates” added near the Pyrenees and “Divicus” not yet changed to “Divico”.

Condition Description
Latin text on verso. Minor foxing and toning. Minor discoloration in centerfold.
Van den Broecke 194. 1603Lxiij (300 copies printed) (text and page number, but not typesetting, identical to 1609/1612L/S; last line, first text page, right aligned: immo- ; last line second text page, above two sides of a coin, in italic script: "tres partes diuisionem ; quæ postea , sub Augusto Imp. nempe , in quator prouincias diuisa fuit".)
Verweij, Michiel. "Description and Interpretation of MS 17937 of the Royal Library of Belgium. A case of reception of Caesar's Commentarii De Bello Gallico." In Monte Artium. January 2013

Abraham Ortelius Biography

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).