First Plate of Ortelius' First Map of the Holy Land
"Palestinae sive Totius Terrae Promissionis Nova Descriptio Auctore Tilemanno Stello Sigenens", Ortelius, Abraham
Subject: Holy Land
Period: 1570 (published)
Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Color: Hand Color
18.4 x 13.7 inches
46.7 x 34.8 cm
This is Ortelius' first map of the Holy Land. It covers the region from the Nile Delta to Lebanon, and focuses on the desert of the Exodus. Ortelius' map was based on Tilemanno Stella's map of 1557 that became the prototype for the modern cartography of the Holy Land. Stella adapted the coastline and Dead Sea from the configuration of Jacob Ziegler's map of 1532. But here, Ortelius rounds Stella's angular Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. The map is richly decorated with two elaborate, neoclassical cartouches. The unique square compass rose showing magnetic declination was also copied from Ziegler, but here is curiously shown up-side-down. The sea is teaming with five ships and three sea monsters. This example is from the first of three plates used for the Theatrum, with Latin text on verso marked page number 51. According to Van den Broecke, this is the second state of this plate with waves added to the sea and three ships firing their cannons.
References: Nebenzahl (HL) pp. 84-86; Laor #539; Tooley (TMC-3) p. 28; Van den Broecke #170.
Original color on watermarked paper bearing a shield. There is light toning and marginal soiling.