Sign In

- Or use -
Forgot Password Create Account
Stock# 92167

The First Atlas To Be So-Named.

The First Translation of the Mercator-Hondius Atlas into a Vernacular Language.

A handsome example of one of the greatest cartographic works of the 17th century, the so-called Mercator-Hondius Atlas.

This is a rare early edition from the second generation of Mercator's magnum opus, in which Rumold and Gerard Mercator's work was expanded upon by Cornelis Claesz and Jodocus Hondius. At this crucial point in the atlas's history, it evolved from an idealist's project into a commercial enterprise from which the great multi-volume Dutch atlases of the 17th century sprang forth.

The atlas includes some of the most significant maps of its time. Mercator's double-hemisphere world map, the great mapmaker's only obtainable world map, shows the definitive state of cartographic progress in the latest 16th and earliest 17th centuries. The polar map - the first ever to focus on the Arctic region - is the defining representation of the four northern islands. This edition of the map is updated with information from the Barentsz voyage to Novaya Zembla (likely by way of the Barentsz map). Numerous additional important maps appear throughout the atlas, with notable maps of the Americas, Asia, and Africa.

A History of the Mercator-Hondius Atlases

The Mercator, and later Mercator-Hondius, atlas is noted for popularizing the use of the term "Atlas" to refer to a formal compilation of maps. Mercator chose the word, he wrote:

"to honor the Titan, Atlas, King of Mauritania, a learned philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer." 

Mercator began work on this project fairly late in life, at the age of 51, when Duke William IV of Kleve retained him as his cosmographer. Mercator initially hoped to write the text, draw the maps, and engrave the plates for what was to be a five-book cosmography. The first of these books was to cover creation; the second the heavens; the third geography; the fourth history; and the fifth chronology. Gerard Mercator managed to complete the section on France, the Low Countries, and Germany, as well as the part on Italy, the Balkans, and Greece, before his death on December 2, 1594. After that point, the work was taken up by his son Rumold Mercator.

Around 1604, the plates for the atlas were acquired by Jodocus Hondius, the great patriarch of the Hondius mapmaking dynasty. The atlas continued to be published by the Hondius family before being taken over by the Jansson branch of descendants. The first Mercator-Hondius edition was produced in 1606 in Amsterdam.


This is the 1609 French-language edition of the Mercator-Hondius Atlas Sive Cosmographicae. The Latin title page is dated 1609 but without the French-language pastedown usually present in this edition of the Atlas.

The book's collation conforms to that of the French edition, with 147 engraved maps including one map not present in the 1607-08 Latin edition, that of Rugen.

The book was translated from the Latin 1607 edition by Lancelot de Voysin, seigneur de la Popelinière.


  1. Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio
  2. Europa, ad magnae Europae. . .
  3. Nova Europae Descriptio Auctore Iodoco Hondio
  4. Africa Ex magna orbis. . .
  5. Asia ex magna orbis terre descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris
  6. America sive India Nova.
  7. Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio.
  8. Islandia.
  9. Anglia, Scotia, et Hibernia.
  10. Irlandiae regnum.
  11. Udrone Irlandiae in Catherlagh Bromia.
  12. [Northern Ireland] [Pasted over]
  13. Ultoniae Orientalis Pars.
  14. Irlandiae Regnum.
  15. Scotia Regnum.
  16. [Scotiae Regnum Southern Half]
  17. Scotiae Regnum
  18. Anglia Regnum
  19. Northumbria, Cumberlandia, et Dunelmensis Episcopatus.
  20. Westmorlandia, Lancastria, Cestria, Caernarvan, Denbigh, Flint. . .
  21. Cambriae Typus auctore Humeredo Lhuydo.
  22. Cornubia, Devonia, Somersetus, Dorcestria, Wiltonia. . .
  23. Eboracum, Lincolnia, Derbia, Staffordia, Notinghamia. . .
  24. Warwicum, Northamtomia, Huntingodnia, Cantabridgia, Suffolcia, Oxonium. . .
  25. Anglesey [with] Wight Vectis olim [with] Garnesay [with] Iarsay
  26. Suecia et Norvegia
  27. Daniae Regnu
  28. Iutia Septentrionalis.
  29. Holsatia Ducatus.
  30. Fionia
  31. Prussia
  32. Livonia
  33. Russia cum confinijs.
  34. Lithuania.
  35. Transylvania
  36. Taurica Chersonesus.
  37. Hispaniae Nova Describtio, de Integro Multis Inlocis, Secundum Hydrographicas, Desc, Emendata.
  38. Portugalliae que olim Lusitania. . .
  39. Legionis, Biscaiae et Guipiscoae Typus
  40. Castiliae Veteris et Novae Descriptio
  41. Andaluziae Nova Descript.
  42. Regni Valentiae Typus
  43. Arragonia et Catalonia
  44. Gallia
  45. Britannia & Normandia cum consinib regionibus
  46. Totius Lemovici et Consinium provinciarum quantum. . .
  47. Aquitania australis Regnu Arelatense cum confinijs
  48. Provinciae Regionis Galliae, vera exactissimae descriptio.
  49. France Picardie Champaigne 
  50. L'Isle de France Pariesis Agri Descriptio.
  51. Bolonia & Guines Comitatus [Single sheet]
  52. Aniou
  53. Berry ducatus
  54. Poictou sive Pictatuiae descriptio
  55. Lotharingia Ducatus
  56. [Southern Lorraine]
  57. Burgundia Ducatus.
  58. [Burgundy]
  59. Helvetia cum finitimis regionibus confederatis.
  60. [Canton of Zurich]
  61. Das Wiflispur Gergov
  62. Chorographica Tabula Lacus Lemanni. . .
  63. [Argow]
  64. Belgii inferioris. . .
  65. Flandria Comit.
  66. Habes hic Novam & accuratissimam descriptionem tractus illius Flandriae. . .
  67. [Brabant, Iulliers et Cleve]
  68. Hollandt comitatus Utrecht episcop.
  69. Zelandia Comitatus
  70. Geldria et Transysvlana
  71. Artesia Comit.
  72. Hannonia Namurcum Comitatus
  73. Trier & Lutzenburg
  74. Germania
  75. Frisia occidentalis
  76. Emden & Oldenborch Comit.
  77. Westfali Cum Dioecesi Bremensi.
  78. [Westphalia]
  79. Berghe Ducatus Marck Comitatus et Coloniensis Diocesis
  80. Leodiensis Diocesis Typus.
  81. Murs Comitatus [with] Regionum Urbium et fluminum que. . . 
  82. Waldeck
  83. Palatinatus Rheni.
  84. Wirtenberg Ducatus
  85. Alsatia inferior
  86. Alsatia superior cu Suntgoia & Brisgoia.
  87. Saxonia Inferior et Meklenborg Duc.
  88. Braunswyck & Meydburg cum ceteris adiacentibus
  89. Hassia landtgraviatus
  90. Thuringia
  91. Frankenlandt Francia orientalis
  92. Bavaria Ducatus
  93. Palatinatus Bavariae
  94. Saxoniae superioris Lusatiae Misniaeque Descriptio
  95. Marca Brandenburgensis & Pomerania
  96. Nova Famigerabilis Insulae Ac Ducatus Rugiae
  97. Bohemia
  98. Moravia
  99. Austria archiducatus
  100. Saltzburg archicpiscopatus cum ducatu Carinthiae
  101. Polonia et Silesia
  102. Hungaria
  103. Italia
  104. Lombardiae Alpestris pars occidentalis cum Valesia
  105. Tarvisina Marchia et Tirolis Comitatus
  106. Pedemontana regio cum Genvensium territorio & Montisferati
  107. Romandiola cum Parmensi Ducatu.
  108. Brescia Episcopatus Moediolanu Ducatus
  109. Veronae Vicentiae et Patavii Ditiones
  110. Forum Iulium, Karstia, Carniola, Histria et Windorum Marchia.
  111. Tuscia
  112. Marchia Anconitana cum Spoletano Ducatu
  113. Latium nunc Campagna di Roma.
  114. Abruzzo et Terra di Lavoro.
  115. Puglia Piana, Terra di Barri, Terra di Otranto, Calabria et Basilicata.
  116. Corsica [with] Sardinia
  117. Siciliae Regnum.
  118. Stiria
  119. Sclavonia Croatia, Bosnia cum Dalmatiae Parte.
  120. Walachia Servia, Bulgaria, Romania.
  121. Graecia
  122. Macedonia Epirus et Archaia.
  123. Morea olim Peloponnesus
  124. Candia cum Insulis aliquot circa Graeciam
  125. Nova Africae Tabula
  126. Barbaria 
  127. Fessae et Marocchi Regna
  128. Abissinorum Sive Pretiosi Joannis Imperiu.
  129. Guineae Nova Descriptio
  130. Asiae Nova Descriptio Auctore Jodoco Hondio
  131. Turcici Imperii Imago.
  132. Terra Sancta quae in Sacris Terra Promissionis ol Palestina
  133. Natoliae Sive Asia Minor
  134. Cyprus Ins.
  135. Persici vel Sophorum Regni Typus
  136. Tartaria
  137. China
  138. India Orientalis
  139. Insulae Indiae Orientalis Praecipuae.
  140. Iaponia
  141. Ins. Ceilan
  142. America
  143. Hispaniae Novae Nova Descriptio
  144. Virginiae item et Floridae Americae Provinciarum, nova Descriptio.
  145. Cuba Insula
  146. America Meridionalis
  147. Exquisita & Magno aliquot mensium periculo lustrata etiam retecta Freti Magellanica Facies.


Admiralty Office Library, their stamp on the title and penultimate page of the appendix.

Condition Description
Folio. 19th-century three-quarters vellum with marbled boards. Early ink manuscript to spine "Mercatoris | Atlas | 1609." [8]; 1-358 (with 67-68 and 135-136 duplicated, bringing the total to 362); [35]. 146 double- and 1 single-page engraved map (complete), with five engraved title pages. Admiralty Library stamp to title and penultimate leaf. (Minor rubbing and bumping; middle leaf of A and C signatures fully loose. Corner of [*2] and Xxxxx torn away. Some internal toning and small closed tears).
Van Der Krogt 1:111
Jodocus Hondius Biography

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.

Gerard Mercator Biography

Gerard Mercator is one of the most famous cartographers of all time. Mercator was born in Flanders and educated at the Catholic University in Leuven. After his graduation in 1532, Mercator worked with Gemma Frisius, a prominent mathematician, and Gaspar a Myrica, a goldsmith and engraver. Together, these men produced globes and scientific instruments, allowing Mercator to hone his skills.

With his wife, Barbara, Mercator had six children: Arnold, Emerentia, Dorothes, Bartholomeus, Rumold, and Catharina.  In 1552, Mercator moved to Duisburg from Leuven, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1564, he was appointed the official cosmographer to the court of Duke Wilhelm of Cleve.

Mercator’s most important contribution was the creation and popularization of a projection which now bears his name. On Mercator projection maps, all parallels and meridians are drawn at right angles to each other, with the distance between the parallels extending towards the poles. This allowed for accurate latitude and longitude calculation and also allowed navigational routes to be drawn using straight lines, a huge advantage for sailors as this allowed them to plot courses without constant recourse to adjusting compass readings.

Mercator’s other enduring contribution to cartography is the term “atlas”, which was first used to describe his collection of maps gathered in one volume. The Mercator atlas was published in 1595, a year after Mercator’s death, thanks to the work of his sons, particularly Rumold, and his grandsons.