Auction 126, Lot 44

"Tabula Itineraria ex Illustri Peutingerorum Bibliotheca…Nobilissimo Viro Marco Velsero", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Ancient World

Period: 1598 (dated)

Publication: Theatrum Geographiae Veteris

Color: Hand Color

20.5 x 15.5 inches
52.1 x 39.4 cm

These four sheets are Ortelius' scarce version of the famous Peutinger Table. These decorative maps, in a sequence of four plates, each with two strip maps, depict the imperial roads and posts within the Roman Empire throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia as far as Toprobana (Sri Lanka). The format distorts the landmasses, but provides an excellent view of the cities and roads, which include distances between the posts. The three most important cities of the Roman Empire, Rome, Constantinople and Antioch, are represented by enlarged symbols including the emperor seated on a throne. Size given is for each plate.

The original parchment document for this incredible map is thought to have been made in the thirteenth century. The original now resides in the Vienna National Library, but is so damaged that the Ortelius version is now the most reliable representation. The Peutinger Table, as it is generally known, derived its name from Konrad Peutinger, who once owned the original. Ortelius had manuscript copies made in 1598 from the original scroll and supervised the engraving, but did not live to see their publication. This is the Bertius edition with geographical description in the top margins, published in 1619.

References: Shirley #212; Van den Broecke #227-230.

Condition: A+

There is some expert paper restoration in the blank margins (using the leaf-casting method) barely affecting the neatline on sheet #3. The margins are narrow, but adequate for framing.

Estimate: $5,500 - $6,500

Sold for: $6,500

Closed on 12/3/2008