"Abissinorum sive Pretiosi Ioannis Imperium", Mercator/Cloppenburgh
Subject: Central Africa
Period: 1630 (published)
Publication: Atlas Minor
Color: Black & White
9.8 x 7.3 inches
24.9 x 18.5 cm
The legendary kingdom of the Christian Prester John is the central focus of this small and densely engraved map of central Africa. It is a reduced edition of the folio Mercator map and is cartographically similar to Ortelius' map and is based on the travels of the Portuguese explorer, Francisco Alveres, who searched for the mythical kingdom in the year 1520. The kingdom itself is shown atop the Amara Monti in the region where Alveres encountered the Coptic Christian ruler David II. The Nile is shown with its source in the Ptolemaic twin lakes of Zaire and the unnamed Zaflan, at the foot of the Mountains of the Moon (Zet Montes). The map includes fancy script lettering, a large strapwork title cartouche and a bold moiré patterned sea. French text on verso and page number 607 on recto.
The map has a strong, early impression with a close trimmed margin at left. Displays well despite a repaired tear across upper right corner with staining from the repair.