Ortelius' Scarce Peutinger Table
"[On 4 Sheets] Tabula Itineraria ex Illustri Peutingerorum Bibliotheca…Nobilissimo Viro Marco Velsero...", Ortelius, Abraham
Subject: Ancient World
Period: 1598 (dated)
Publication: Theatri Orbis Terrarum Parergon
Color: Hand Color
20.3 x 16.2 inches
51.6 x 41.1 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 Parergon edition with Latin text on verso, printed by Balthasar Moretus and published in 1624.
References: Shirley #212; Van den Broecke #227-230.
Dark, sharp impressions on clean, bright, watermarked paper. Several sheets have short, archivally repaired centerfold separations at bottom, just passing the neatline on the first sheet and entering about 1/2" into the image on the fourth sheet. The first sheet has a couple of tiny holes at far right due to a paper flaw. Sheet two has a few minor abrasions along the centerfold at bottom. Sheet four has a small worm hole along the centerfold (near the top of the 8th segment) that has been professionally repaired with a minute amount of image skillfully replaced in facsimile.