Antwerp: Gielis Coppens van Diest, 1570. — 1 atlas, 53 maps.First edition of the first atlas of the world. From Koeman: "The unique position held by Ortelius' Theatrum in the history of cartography is to be attributed primarily to its qualification as 'the world's first regularly produced atlas.' Its great commercial success 'enabled it to make so great a contribution to geographical culture throughout Europe in the later 16th century.' (Skelton). Shape and contents set the standards for later atlases, when the centre of the map-trade moved from Antwerp to Amsterdam. The characteristic feature of the Theatrum is, that it consists of two elements, forming a unitary whole: text and maps. This concept for a "Theatre of the world" was followed through the 17th century. Before Ortelius, no one and done this and thus, the chorus of praise which arose as a result of this - and the excellent text - was far from slight... Another important aspect of the Theatrum is that it was the first undertaking of its kind to reduce the best available maps to a uniform format. To that end, maps of various formats and styles had to be generalized just like the modern atlas-publisher of today would do. In selecting maps for his compilation, Ortelius was guided by his critical spirit and his encyclopaedic knowledge of maps. But Ortelius did more that the atlas-makers of today: he mentioned the names of the authors of the original maps and added a great many names of other cartographers and geographers to it... Abraham Ortelius drew all his maps in manuscript before passing them to the engravers... Ortelius stated that nearly all the plates were cut by Frans Hogenberg and his assistants." The Theatrum went through many editions in Latin, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, English, and Italian. Van der Krogt lists 37 editions, with the last edition published in 1641, long after Ortelius' death in 1598. Uncolored. Text in Latin.
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