Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 149

Text, scholarly version, translated from the 1573 Latin 1st Add, 1573 Latin (AB), 1574 Latin, 1575 Latin, 1579 Latin (AB), 1580/1589 German, 1584 Latin, 1588 Spanish, 1592 Latin, 1595 Latin, 1601 Latin, 1602 German, 1602 Spanish, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612 Latin and 1609/1612/1641 Spanish editions:

149.1. {1580/1589G, 1602G & 1608/1612I only{The Isle of}1580/1589G, 1602G & 1608/1612I only}{1573L1Add{CYPRVS.

149.2. Cyprus justly claims its place among the greatest islands of the Mediterranean sea. [As regards] the form of the island, it is {1580/1589G & 1602G only{twice}1580/1589G & 1602G only} longer than it is broad. The metropolitan and royal city is Nicosia. Famagusta is also a most excellent city, the market town of the whole island, and very rich, considering its commodious harbour and the high customs paid there. It is inferior to no island, for it yields plenty of wine and [olive] oil, [and] has also enough corn to feed itself.
149.3. Moreover, it has some mines with brass, and in these mines there was also found vitriolum and rubigo æris, {1606E only{the rust of brass,}1606E only} samples of virtue in the practice of medicine. It grows plenty of sweet cane out of which they boil sugar {1580/1589G & 1602G have instead{honey}1580/1589G & 1602G instead}. It has an excellent kind of strong wine, as good as that of Creta, {1606E only{which they call malvesey}1606E only}. There is a kind of stuff made there of goat's hair now called Chamelet.
149.4. This island exports various commodities to other countries, by which they yearly make great profit. It does not have much need of any foreign commodities or merchandise, but it has a bad climate. The people generally give themselves to pleasures. The women are very wanton, {1606E only{and [are] of light [morals in their] behaviour}1606E only}. Its fruitfulness is so great that in old times they called it [the island] Macaria, that is, the blessed island, and the lasciviousness of the nation is such, that it was supposed to have been dedicated to Venus, {1580/1589G, 1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only{the Goddess of love}1580/1589G, 1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only}.
149.5. It is 427 miles wide, and 200 long, as Bordonius has recorded. The Venetians hold it by right of inheritance, and under governance of a prætor. {1579L(B), but not in 1580/1589G, & 1602G{Diodorus Siculus {not in 1588S & 1602S{in his 16th book}not in 1588S & 1602S} says that on this island there were nine excellent cities which [each] had their own petty kings by whom they were governed, all subject to the king of Persia. Inferior towns were also governed by their own kings}1579L(B), not in 1580/1589G & 1602G}.
149.6. But that the fertility of the island becomes more apparent, I think it right to record the recommendation which Ammianus Marcellinus has left behind. Cyprus, he says, is so fertile and abounds with such a variety of all things, that without the help of any imported commodities, they are by themselves capable of building a ship from the keel to the top sail and send it to sea, fully fitted out and furnished with all things needed. Sextus Rufus too has the following words about it:
149.7. Cyprus, famous for its wealth and riches, tempted the poor and Romans to invade it, so that we possessed this island unjustly, and rather for [personal] gain than for any right we had to it. But this, oh Rufus, is not, as they say, a mercenary recommendation of Roman valour.
149.8. Amongst the ancient writers Strabo, Mela and other geographers have praised this island. Of the later [writers, we have] Benedictus Bordonius' {1579L(B) only{and Porcacchius'}1579L(B) only} treatise on islands, Vadianus, Pius the second, pope of Rome, Dominicus Niger, Sabellicus, Volaterranus and especially Iacobus Zieglerus. {1579L(B), 1595L and later but not in 1602G{Stephanus Lusignanus has written a specific book on this island {1595L{but in French}1595L and later but not in 1602G}. {1579L(B) only{Also, the Hierosolymitana by Iodocus à Meggen is not to be frowned upon}1579L(B) only, which ends its Cyprus text here}.

149.9. {1608/1612I only{The isle of}1608/1612I only}{1573L1Add{STALIMENE, at one time called LEMNOS.

149.10. Lemnos, an island in the Ægean sea, lies opposite Thrace {1606E only{(Romania)}1606E only}} between {1606E only{the peninsula or neckland of Thrace}1606E only} [and] Mount Athon {1608/1612I only{now called the holy mountain}1608/1612I only} of Macedonia. It was famous for Vulcanus' workshop a long time ago, and now it is known because of its medicinal earth {1606E only{{by the physicians}1606E only} called Lemnia) which is dug out here. Nowadays this island is called Stalimene by the Turks and Italians. It is 100 miles in circumference, as Bordonius says. It is a flat country, compared to the islands around it.
149.11. On the East side, as Bellonius reports, it is lean, and not good for corn. Between its Southern and Western parts, where it is more moist, it is much more fertile. In ancient times it had two cities, Myrina and Ephestias. The latter [city], wholly uninhabited presently, is now called Cochino. Nowadays it is a town of small importance, situated in a peninsula joined to the island by a narrow isthmos, at this day called Lemno.
149.12. On this island, as Plinius testifies, there was a labyrinth, esteemed the third in rank after those of Ægypt {not in 1606E{of which there were still remnants at that time}not in 1606E}. But Bellonius, ardently seeking its foundations, could not find any mention of it, nor was there anyone in the country that could show him more than just a few pieces of it. The same author states that there are still 75 villages remaining on it.
149.13. The earth which in ancient times was called Sphragida and Terra Lemnia, [and more] commonly Terra sigillata is now (as was the custom in old times) dug out of the ground, but not without a certain superstitious ceremony, every year at the sixth day of August, and at no other time. For on penalty of death, it is decreed that no man either privately or openly shall go there to dig [some of it] out. The place where it is dug out is called Vulcan's mount.
149.14. About the kind of herbs, serpents and fishes which are here very common, and about the ceremonies and tools for digging the earth out of the ground which is called Terra Lemnia, and about various other peculiar things of this island, read the first book of Observations by P. Bellonius. Also [read] Andreas Matthiolus, from the letters of Albacarius, addressed to Augerius Busbechius, [who] has a curious description and text on the ceremonies used in digging out the Terra sigillata in those learned commentaries of his on Dioscorides.
149.15. Read also about this in Hodœporicum Byzantinum by Hugonis Favolij}1573L1Add, 1573L(AB), 1574L, 1575L, 1579L(AB), 1580/1589G, 1584L, 1588S, 1592L & 1602G end here}. {1595L{He who wants to know [more] about the old ceremonies of digging out [the medicinal earth], let him turn to Galenus in his ninth book and second chapter [of] De Medicam Simplic.}1595L, 1601L, 1602S, 1603L, 1606E, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612L & 1609/1612/1641S end here}.

Now follows the vernacular text version, translated from 1573 Dutch 1 Add, 1573 German 1Add, 1572 French 1 Add/1574 French, 1581 French, 1587 French, 1598 French and 1598/1610/1613 Dutch editions:

149.16. {1573D1Add{Cyprus.

149.15. The island of Cyprus is considered as one of the largest islands of the Mediterranean sea. It is twice as long as it is wide. Nicosia is its capital and the royal court is also there. Then there is Famagusta, a merchant town for the whole island with a fine harbour, rich because of charges levied. It is also one of the best islands, for it yields in abundance wine and olive oil, and it also has sufficient corn.
149.16. There are also been copper mines, where vitriol and copper rust where found, used as medecine. Sugar canes are found here, from which sugar is boiled. It also produces wine, almost as good as malvesy wine. From goat wool they make linen, now called camelot. Many goods are sent from this island to elsewhere which brings them considerable profit. It does not need much from abroad, but the air it has is unhealthy.
149.17. The whole island is inclined to luxury, and its women are very skittish {1573G1Add instead{horny}1573G1Add}. It is so fertile that it was once called Macaria, that is blessed. It is so devoted to adultery that therefore it seems to be devoted to Venus. It is in circumference 427 miles, and in length 200, as Bordonius states. The Venetians possess it in hereditary right, and rule it by a provost {1573G1Add only instead{The Venetians possed it for about 100 years, but this year, 1571, the Turcs have brought it under their tyranny through violence}1573G1Add only instead}. But to proclaim its fertility, let me add the praise written by Ammianus Marcellinus about this country, for he writes as follows about this island: Cyprus is so abundant in all sorts of things that it does not need any help from abroad, but it can with its own products build a cargo ship from the basis up to the sails, and provide it with all tools and ammunition when sending it to sea.
149.18. Sextus Rufus says about this country: Cyprus, renowned for its riches has inspired the poverty of the Romans to occupy it, so that we have obtained the rule of this island more out of greed than justice. {not in 1573G1Add{But Rufus, when you praise the Romans in such a manner. you will not earn a farthing for a drink}not in 1573G1Add}. {1573G1Add only{From the ancient writers, those that have praised it in their writings are Strabo, Mela, and other historiographers. From the recent ones: Benedictus Bordonius in his book about islands, Vadianus, Pius the second, Dominicus Niger, Sabellicus, Volaterranus and particularly Jacob Ziegler}1573G1Add only}.

149.19. Stalimene, once called Lemnos.

149.20. Lemnos is an island in the Ægean sea between Thracia Chersonesos and the mountain of Athon of Macedonia, opposite Thracia. It was in ancient times famous for the smithy of Vulcanus, and also well known for the earth that is dug there, called Lemnia for that reason. Nowadays it is called Stalimene by the Turks and the Italians. Its circumference is 100 miles, as Bordonius informs us.
149.21. It seems to be fairly even and flat, when compared to the surrounding islands. In the East it is barren and unfit for produce, but in the South and the West it is more fertile because of the humidity, as Bellonius writes. Cities that used to be here were Myrina and Ephestias. The latter has been entirely devastated and is now called Cochino. The other is a minor village now on a peninsula attached to this island by a small neck, and is now called Lemno.
149.22. Plinius says that on this island there was supposed to have been a labyrinth, the third one modelled after an Egyptian example, and that in his time there were still supposed to be remnants of it. But Bellonius reports that searching there for any sign of it, he did not see anything. Nor did he find any inhabitant who could show him anything but some ruins. The same author says that in his time there were still 75 villages.
149.23. The earth that was formerly called sphragida and lemnia, and now sigillata, is now dug with no less superstition than in former times, and it is dug every year on the same sixth day of August, and at no other time. For it is forbidden by penalty of death to dig it secretly or publicly at any other time.
149.24. The place where it is dug up is called Vulcan's mountain. About its herbs, snakes, and fish, and also as regards the ceremonies and tools to dig up the earth we talked about, and other curiosities of this island, read Bellonius in his first book of Observations.}1573D1Add, 1572F1Add/1574F, 1581F, 1587F, 1598F & 1598/1610/1613D end here}.{1573G1Add{Mathiolus in his writings about Dioscorides from the letter by Albacarius to Augerius Busbecanus about the digging of the earth has some interesting things. See also about this Hodoeporicum Bizantinum by Hugo Favolius}1573G1Add end here}.

Bibliographical sources

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