Ortelius’ Map of the Greek Colonies in Italy


Itala nam tellus Gaecia Maior erat

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Copper engraving, 34 x 48 cm, modern hand colour, Latin text on verso. First published in the 1595 edition of the ‘Parergon’ (see below), this map of southern Italy depicts the ancient Greek colonies.

Ortelius’s ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’ is generally considered the first modern atlas of the world, originally published in 1570. Ortelius gathered the best available cartographic knowledge and presented it in a consistent style in a single volume, with text. The Theatrum was very decorative and hugely popular amongst the wealthy and educated, running into over forty editions in Latin and the major European languages. For Ortelius himself, however, his atlas of ancient geography, the Parergon, was a “personal work” (Koeman). He regarded himself as an antiquary and, rather than copying other people’s maps, he drew the originals himself; they were subsequently engraved for him by the master engraver Jan Wierix. The results “have to be evaluated as the most outstanding engravings depicting the wide-spread interest in classical geography in the 16th century” (Koeman). Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, Ort 46. Van den Broecke 210


Ortelius’ Map of the Greek Colonies in Italy





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Printed Area Measurements

34 x 48 cm