Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Mythical Islands
"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.", Ortelius, Abraham
Subject: Arctic & Scandinavia
Period: 1584 (published)
Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Color: Hand Color
19.3 x 14.2 inches
49 x 36.1 cm
Ortelius based this influential map on the work of earlier authorities including Mercator, Zeno and Magnus. Of particular interest are the mythical islands of Brasil, Frisland, Drogeo, Icaria, and St. Brendan. Part of Mercator's imaginary polar continent is depicted with a Latin note that it is inhabited by pygmies. Iceland (Islant, Thule) is basically unchanged from Mercator's map of Europe from 1554 with the shape originated by Zeno. Greenland is separated from Europe by a wide sea and a portion of North America appears in the upper left corner with the name Estotilant. The map is adorned with a variety of very inventive creatures including a half-man, half-sea creature playing a lute. Latin text on verso.
References: Van den Broecke #160; Ginsberg #24; Burden #40.
Original color on watermarked paper with some color offsetting, light soiling, a crease through Greenland, and some minute worm holes adjacent to the centerfold. A 1" centerfold separation at bottom has been repaired with old paper. The margins have been trimmed but are still ample for framing. There are remnants of kraft paper glued to the edges of the sheet on verso.