Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 88

Text, scholarly version, translated from the 1570L(ABC), 1571L, 1573L(AB), 1574L, 1575L, 1579L(AB) & 1580/1589G editions:


88.2. About the MARSI, descended from Marsus, Strabo the ancient geographer speaks, and he says that many centuries ago they departed from the coasts near the Rhine to this low and marshy country. From these are descended the THEUTOMARSI, or, as they commonly pronounce the word, the Ditmarschers who about 400 years ago were governed by the most ancient family of Stade, many of whom they treacherously slew, finally liberating themselves by killing all their nobility. Henricus surnamed the Lion, duke of Saxony subdued them. But being outlawed by emperor Frederick, Waldemar, king of Denmark occupied the country and when he used their help against Adolph, count of Holstein and the Lubeckers, they revolted against their enemies, by whom the king was defeated at the village of Bornhövet.
88.3. Thus again being restored to liberty, to avoid the impression of being Anarchi [not subjected to any jurisdiction], they adopted the patronage of the archbishop of Bremen and acknowledged him as their ruler, but yet they would never pay tribute or subsidies to him, nor would they be obedient to his commands. Often the dukes of Holstein have attempted wars against them, and always they were repelled. Emperor Frederick the third gave the country to Christian the first, king of Denmark under the title of a dukedom.
88.4. His son Ioannes, waging war against them in the year 1500, lost the battle, all his forces having been overthrown, and he hardly escaped with very few men, leaving behind him the largest part of the nobility of Holstein. After that, they grew more audacious by this victory, and often greatly troubled and afflicted the rulers of Holstein. [Then] Adolph, son of king Frederick of Denmark and heir to the kingdom of Norway, and the dukes of Schleswig and Holstein who no longer wanted to endure their insolence, in the year of Christ 1559 mustered their men, gathered a great army to which Frederick the second, king of Denmark and Ioannes, his brother, joined their forces.
88.5. These armies [being] thus united, set forward and immediately conquered Meldorf and the entire Southern part of the province. Then after a few days of waiting, they led their forces along to Tilenbrugge. Against them, the Ditmarschers marched from Hemmingstedt with all their power, and they met the enemy near the town of Heide, intending to order the soldiers to take a rest, tired as they were with their tedious march. But being repelled, and attacking again, they were finally beaten, killed or forced to flee, [and] the town was taken and set on fire.
88.6. That day about 3,000 Ditmarschers were slain. Duke Adolph, labouring as a valiant captain to keep his men in array and bringing those back who began to run away, got wounded. This battle was fought on the thirteenth day of June. The Ditmarschers having been beaten, they submitted themselves to the king and dukes, and obtaining pardon they were received in grace. And in this way Ditmarsch, which for many years had defended and maintained its liberty by force of arms, became subjected to the rulers of Holstein. This is what the author of this map, which we here have inserted into our Theatre has written about this country.
88.7. See also Albert Crantzius' Chronicle of Saxony}1570L(A)}. {1573L(A){An anonymous author from Basel, through the printer Samuel Regius has recently published a small treatise in which he has described this war and other things which help you to understand this area better}1573L(A)}.

88.8. Prussia

88.9. Prussia, in Latin Borussia, was once called Hulmigeria, and after this, part of the area near the river Weichsel is still called Culmigeria nowadays. It is thought that this entire province was once inhabited by peoples who came from the river Tanais [Don] which separates Europe from Asia, but detesting this barren land, they left in search of a more fertile soil, and came to Hulmigeria. There they settled, attracted by the richness of the soil, and they gave their name to the entire area.
88.10. It is a region rich in corn, watered by various streams, and nowadays full of settlements, with many ambitious cities, but also with many curved bays embracing the sea, providing it with beauty. It has enormous flocks of cattle, and the hunting and fishing is excellent there.
88.11. Prussia has in the East Lithuania, in the South Poland, in the North Livonia and in the West Pommern. Inhabitants of the coastal area in cities and fortifications speak German, but in the rural countryside you still find some people speaking the ancient language. It has ports, [such as] Mons Regis [Königsberg], founded by the king of Bohemia, which is now the royal residence; then Elbing, and, richest of all, Gedanum, better known as Dantiscum [Danzig, Gdansk], an important city and a prominent stockpile for merchants. So far Münster. {1573L(A){This Prussia recognises the king of Poland, and has part of it as a duchy, which it calls the duchy of Prussia. Next to Regiomontis [Königsberg], it has no {1580G instead{some}1580G instead} other cities in this region}1573L(A)}.
88.12. Read more about these matters in Cromerus' Polish Matters book 3 and the two books On Ancient Matters Concerning Prussia by Erasmus Stella. {1579L(B), not in 1580G{Georgius Ioachimus of Rhetia has written a laudatory poem about Prussia for Ioannes Schonerus}1579L(B), not in 1580G}.
88.13. On the coast of this area you find Succinum, according to the ancients formerly called Glessum, according to its inhabitants it is called PIRNSTEIN, but other Germans call it AUGSTEIN} [amber] 1570L(ABC), 1571L, 1573L(AB), 1574L, 1575L, 1579L(AB) & 1580G end here}.

Text, vernacular version, translated from the 1571/1573 Dutch, 1572/1573 German, 1572/1574 French & 1581 French texts:

88.14. {1571/1573D{Ditmarsch.

88.15. This is a small country situated between the rivers Elbe and Eider, as you can see [on the map], where there are no cities or fortifications, but only villages, among which Meldorf is the most important one. It has rich farmers, some of whose houses are roofed with copper. {not in 1572/1574F & 1581F{For the rest there are moors. Here is a good weekly market and also the high council, which decides all court cases of the country}not in 1572/1574F & 1581F}. {1572/1574F & 1581F only{Then there is Heide, where you have a nice market weekly, and a high council, where all sentences and legal procedures of the land are conducted}1572/1574F & 1581F only}. The inhabitants of this country are tall and strong people. There are no public whores here, for to have a whore in the family, or a young maiden who has lost her virtue, is considered a heinous disgrace.
88.16. This country for a long time had no ruler, (as is still the case in Switzerland). It is a boggy country, which is the reason for its freedom, for you can hardly do any damage here with cavalry. [This was true] until the year 1559 when it was a very dry summer. Then came Adolph (son of the King of Denmark), heir to the kingdom of Norway, Duke of Schleswig and Holstein. He was joined by Frederick the second, king of Denmark, and Johan, his brother. These have hired soldiers and have invaded the country with force, conquered Meldorf and the entire Southern area. After a few days they led their soldiers across the wall of Tilenbrugge.
88.17. There the Ditmarsch people from Hemmingsted have marched towards them across the moors, expecting to chase them off (since they were tired because of their long march). But after long and numerous skirmishes they were finally put to flight and the village was burnt. That day 3000 Ditmarschers were slain. Duke Adolph was also wounded in this battle. This was on the 13th of June in the year just mentioned. And thus they came under the obedience of the dukes of Holstein. In this country (when they still had their freedom) nobody could forfeit his life by committing a crime, not even by killing someone. For they absolve matters through money, that is, for a killing they pay 200 Marks; a Mark is worth 16 {1572/1574F & 1581F only{Brabant}1572/1574F & 1581F only} stuivers {1572/1573G, not in 1572/1574F & 1581F{or half a Thaler}1572/1573G, not in 1572/1574F & 1581F} (20 stuivers is one guilder).

88.18. Prussia.

88.19. Prussia belongs entirely to the king of Poland except for the dukedom or Prussia which lies inside it, which still has its own duke. This land has Lithuania at its East, Poland in the South, the land of Pommern in the West and Livonia and the East Sea [Baltic sea] in the North. It has many good harbours there, and at this shore they catch fish {1572/1573G, 1572/1574F & 1581F have instead{they find amber}1572/1573G, 1572/1574F & 1581F instead}. This is a country very fertile with all kinds of corn, full of meadows, and fisheries. It has many splendid cities among which Danzig is an eminent merchant city, situated at the sea side at the mouth of the river Weichsel.
88.20. [Here are also] Elbing and Königsberg, where the kings keep court. The land is densely populated. In the cities and along the sea shore they speak German, but more inland and in the villages there are still some who speak older languages. It seems that when someone has been in this small area, he has been everywhere all around. For here you find (as you may see on the map) Rome, Venice, Brandenburg, Wittenberg, Lunenburg, Cracov, Strassburg, Holland and cities with similar names that also occur in other countries of the world}1571/1573D, 1572/1573G, 1572/1574F & 1581F end here}.

Bibliographical sources

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