Orbis Terrae Novissima Descriptio

Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) / Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612)

Published by Jodocus Hondius, 1633
Condition: Very Good No Binding
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Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) / Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612) Orbis Terrae Novissima Descriptio Amsterdam: 1633 (third state) Hand-colored copperplate engraving 29 ½" x 35 ¾" framed For nearly sixty years, during the most important and exciting period in the story of modern mapmaking, Gerard Mercator was the supreme cartographer, his name, second only to Ptolemy, synonymous with forms of map projection still in use today. His influence transformed land surveying and his research and calculations lead him to break away from Ptolemyís conception of the size and outline of the continents, developing a projection that drastically reduced the longitudinal length of Europe and Asia and altered the shape of the Old World as visualized in the early 16th century. Although not the inventor of this type of projection, Mercator was the first to apply it to navigational charts in such a form that compass bearing could be plotted on charts in straight lines, thereby providing seamen with a solution to an age-old problem of navigation at sea. Mercatorís innovations, including the aptly named Mercator projection, continue to be employed in maps produced today, 400 years later. The geographer died in 1594 after publishing just a few parts of the atlas that he had spent decades preparing. In 1604, after the death of Gerardís son Rumold, the plates for his maps were sold to the great Amsterdam cartographer, Jodocus Hondius, who brought out the first of the so-called ďMercator-HondiusĒ editions in 1606. Hondius continued to augment and perfect the atlas over the following years, constantly adding new maps and incorporating new discoveries and corrections. Unlike the work of Abraham Ortelius, a contemporary (and equally celebrated) cartographer, Mercatorís maps were original. Ortelius engaged in the reduction and generalization of already existing maps, while Mercator, with his sense that scientific work should be original and new, checked the current knowledge of the earthís topography against its fundamental sources and drew maps in an original manner. Mercator was the most skilled mapmaker of his time, spearheading the Golden Age of Dutch cartography. This rare double hemisphere map of the world, originally published in 1602, was one of two maps by Gerard Mercator engraved by Jean le Clerc for the publisher Jodocus Hondius. Hondius made editions and edits to Mercators map, such as including the Islands of Queen Elizabeth off the tip of South America and erasing most of the coastline between South America and new Guinea. Hondius went to great effort to include a beautiful and informative frame to the map: Hondiusí favorite quote from the Psalms runs along the bottom, in the top corners are circles showing the wind names in Dutch and Italian, the lower corners have diagrams showing the phases of the moon and climate, and the center top and bottom are balanced by a pretty compass rose and astronomical sphere. Mercatorís maps were unsurpassed in terms of accuracy, and no less attention was given to their beauty. This beautifully-colored double hemisphere map of the world represents a great opportunity to acquire the most spectacular map from this landmark publication by the foremost cartographer in history. Reference: Shirley, The Mapping of the World. Bookseller Inventory # D00108c

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Orbis Terrae Novissima Descriptio

Publisher: Jodocus Hondius

Publication Date: 1633

Binding: No Binding

Book Condition:Very Good

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