Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 186

Text, translated from the 1590 Latin 4th Add., 1591 German 4th Add., 1592 Latin, 1595 Latin, 1598/1610/1613 Dutch, 1601 Latin, 1602 German, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612 Latin & the 1624 Latin Parergon/1641 Spanish [but text in Latin] editions:

186.1. {1590L4Add{A geographical map of the ancient world {1606E has instead{A draught and shadow of the ancient GEOGRAPHY}1606E}{1598/1610/1613D has instead{The Old World}1598/1610/1613D}.

186.2. Gentle and courteous reader, in this map you have a draft, (a plot or pattern I might call it) of the whole world, but according to the description {1606E only{and rather rude geography}1606E only} of {not in 1598/1610/1613D{the more ancient authors}not in 1598/1610/1613D}, and of those from the middle ages. For this, our globe of the earth, was not known any further then, (a wonderfully strange thing) until the days of our fathers, in the year 1492, Christopher Columbus from Genua under the auspices of the king of Castilia as the first mortal person discovered that part of the West which until that day had been lying hidden and unknown. After that, its Southern part, so far not heard of, as also the Eastern part of Asia, {1606E only{much spoken of but never before this time visited}1606E only}, was described by the Portuguese.
186.3. That part which lies towards the North we have seen in our age to have been explored first by the English merchants {1606E only{and navigators. A specific view and proof of this you can see in detail in that worthy work of the English Navigations, composed with great industry, diligence and care by my singular good friend master Richard Hackluyt. Through him, England shall [continue to] live, and the name of brave Englishmen shall never die}1606E only}. The other countries, {1598/1610/1613D & 1606E only{which as yet lie obscured within the frozen zones and}1598/1610/1613D & 1606E only} under both Poles are left for succeeding ages to find out [about]. Sometimes, ancient writers {1606E only{that lived many hundreds of years ago}1606E only} have named some country, or some place or other, of our continent.
186.4. But they have not written anything about the situation of them, since these [matters] were indeed altogether unknown to them. On this continent and area, studious reader, (in the hope that you will not be carried away with a vain and false persuasion about the knowledge of things done in the whole world) or if you please so to call it, within the realm of that part of the world described by the old cosmographers, all ancient historiography, both sacred and prophane is included. In all, the famous deeds of mortal men, which from the beginning of the world to the very days of our fathers have been registered by learned men, have been executed and performed.
186.5. {1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D & 1602G{For every event [that took place] before Columbus just mentioned, recorded in {1606E only{Latin, Greek or}1606E only} whatever language, did not exceed the limits of the Roman Empire, nor the conquests of Alexander the Great (only excepting the travels of Marcus Paulus Venetus {1608/1612I has instead{Marco Polo}1608/1612I instead}, {1606E only{by land into China}1606E only} and the navigation by the Zenoes {1606E only{over the ocean into the Northern parts}1606E only} about which we have spoken in the text on the map of Mar del Zur which undoubtedly all learned historians and others will easily grant me}1595L, but not in 1598/1610/1613D & 1602G}. As a result of which we may understand how incomplete and imperfect the history of the world turns out to be, when it becomes apparent that the part of the earth then known is hardly one fifth {1595L, 1601L, 1603L, 1606E, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612L/S & 1624LP/1641S instead{fourth}1595L, 1601L, 1603L, 1606E, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612L/S & 1624LP/1641S instead} of the whole globe of the world as we now know it.
186.6. And {not in 1598/1610/1613 & 1602G{(which is especially to be considered, {1595L{rather than to be recommended)}1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D & 1602G}, we may truly say that now it has finally come true, what Cicero in his third oration to Verres at his time wrote most erroneously, when he said of his time: There is now no place within the vast ocean, no place so far remote and distant from us, no place so obscure and hidden, to which, in our days, the covetous and corrupted minds of our fellow human beings does not press them to go}1591G4Add & 1602G end here}.
{1624LParergon/1641S only{But it is more truthful, if we may, to present a better reason why the world is being explored: Thee is no place in the oceans, however far away, however hidden, which is not, in our times, been exposed to the light and doctrine of the Catholic Faith under the happy auspices of the Catholic rulers.}1624LParergon/1641S only}.
186.7. {1590L4Add{Certain records and testimonies of ancient writers concerning geographical maps.

[The following text is displayed in two columns in the 1590 Latin 4th Add., 1592 Latin, 1595 Latin, 1601 Latin, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612 Latin editions, and the 1624 Latin Parergon/1641 Spanish edition]:

186.8. Anaximander, pupil of Thales {1606E only{Milesius}1606E only} designed, as Strabo testifies, the first geographical map, {next § in 1606E{who also reminds us of Eratosthenes' maps of the whole inhabited world, next to older maps}next § in 1606E}. {1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D{Anaximander, lived in the time of Servilius}1595L} {1606E only{Tullus the sixth}1606E only} {1595L{king of Rome}1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D}, {1606E only{who was born in the first year of the 35th olympiad, which was the first year of the reign of Ancus Martius, the 4th king of the Romans, 639 years before the birth of Christ}1606E only}.
186.9. {1590L4Add, 1592L & 1598/1610/1613D only{Cleomenes of Sparta had a copper map, on which the whole inhabited world was portrayed, and all seas and rivers, as Herodotus writes in his fifth book}1590L4Add., 1592L & 1598/1610/1613D only}.
186.10. {1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D{Socrates, when he saw Alcibiades insist so much on his wealth and great possessions, brought him to a map of the whole world and asked him there to find the province of Attica {1606E has instead{Athens}1606E instead}. When he had found it, he asked him again to point out his [own] lands. And when he answered that they were not in any place indicated there, he said: Are you then proud of the possession of that which is not part of the World? [This is from] Ælianus in the 28th chapter of his 3rd book De varia historia.
186.11. Hanno of Carthago draws a map of his navigation into the Atlantic sea, on which he discovered the coasts of Lybia, which he dedicated to {1606E has instead{had hung up in}1606E} the temple of Saturnus.
186.12. Aristagoras Milesius had a map in brass which was cut [displaying] the whole area of the earthly globe, the whole sea, with all the rivers emptying themselves into it. [From] Herodotus in his 5th book}1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D}.
186.13. {1590L4Add, 1592L and later{Augustus and Agrippina designed a map of the whole world for the public view of everyone, as Plinius mentions in the second chapter of his third book}1590L4Add, 1592L and later}.
{1590L4Add. & 1592L only{We can prove that we can know the world from the image of maps, says Arethusa to Lycotta, as we find in Propertius book 4}1590L4Add & 1592L only}.
186.14. {1601L, not in 1608/1612I{Among the Egyptians there were continually kept certain charts containing all the tracts, bounds and coasts both of sea and land, as Apollonius testifies in his fourth book on the Argonauts}not in 1608/1612I}.
186.15. Saint Hieronymus states that a map of Palestine made by Eusebius Cæsariensis was lost long before his time.
186.16. That Charles the Great, emperor of Rome had a {not in 1608/1612I{silver {not in 1606E{or gold}not in 1606E & 1608/1612I} table on which the whole world was pictured, is constantly confirmed by those authors who lived in his time and have written of his life.
186.17. Theophrastus Eresius bequeathed and gave in his last will and testament certain maps in which was depicted the situation of the world, on [the] condition that they should be put and be kept in the lower part of the gallery {1606E only{which he built and adjoined to his school}1606E only}, as Diogenes Laertius writes in his biography.
186.18. {1603L{I have drawn up a chart of the World on 12 sheets of parchment, says Dominicanus, the author of the annals of the city of Colmar in Germany, who wrote about the year of Christ 1265, speaking of himself in that work}1603L}.
186.19. There are certain geographical maps mentioned and cited by Stephanus Byzantius, in the word [in Greek lettering] Ainos}1601L}.
186.20. {1590L4Add{Emperor Domitianus put Metius Pomposianus to death because he carried around the country certain maps of the world depicted on sheets of vellum, as Suetonius records.
186.21. Varro in his first book, second chapter on Farming has these words: There I met by chance my wives' father C. Fundanius, and Caius Agrius, a knight of Rome, a disciple and follower of Socrates, with Publius Agrasius the customer, who I found looking at a map of Italy drawn and depicted on the wall.
186.22. Hear also Vitruvius what he says in his eighth book {1606E only{on architecture}1606E only}. These things are, and this may be true, the heads of rivers which prove sufficiently what we see described in the charts and maps of the world}1590L4Add and later}.
186.23. {1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D{Florus, who seems to have lived in the time of Traianus the emperor has the following words: I will do what the cosmographers normally do, when they depict the situation of the world on a small chart or table}1595L, not in 1598/1610/1613D}.
186.24. {1590L4Add{{Julianus the emperor, in an epistle to Alypius writes as follows: I was then just recovering from my illness when you sent me the geography, and yet the map you sent me was never less welcome. For in it there are not only better and truer images, but also certain excellent iambic verses with which you have much graced it}1590L4Add, 1592L & 1598/1610/1613D end here}.
186.25. {1595L{That the ancients had the custom to describe the world and the globe of the earth in maps becomes manifest from Plutarchus in his life of Theseus, as also from the fourth book of Propertius (1606E only{the Poet}1606E only}, where he brings in Arethusa who speaks as follows to Lycorta: Cogimur è tabula pictos ediscere mundos,}1595L, 1601L, 1603L, 1609/1612L/S & 1624LP/1641S end here.} [that is:] {1606E & 1608/1612I only{We are forced to understand, by maps, the state of sea and land}1606E & 1608/1612I only which end here}.

Bibliographical sources

For questions/comments concerning this page, please e-mail