Catalog Archive
Auction 169, Lot 730

Ortelius' Rare Two-Sheet Map of Egypt

"Aegyptus Antiqua", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Egypt

Period: 1584 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.3 x 31.3 inches
49 x 79.5 cm
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This stunning two-sheet map of ancient Egypt is one of the most decorative and dramatic of maps prepared by Ortelius himself. It derives from the cartographic sources of Diodor, Herodotos, Strabo and Plinius. The top sheet includes an inset of Alexandria and its surroundings, and the bottom sheet features a dedication cartouche to the humanist and medical doctor Scipio Fabio from Bologna. A large inset table lists those place names and regions of which the location was not certain. The map is decorated with spectacular strapwork cartouches, ships sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, pyramids, and a bold border. Latin text on verso, published in the first year in which this map appeared. This two-sheet map was replaced with a single sheet map of the region in 1595 and is quite rare on the market today. Professionally joined.

References: Van den Broecke #219-220.

Condition: A

A dark, early impression on paper with the crossed arrows watermark commonly found on Ortelius' maps. There is some printer's ink residue and professional reinforcements on verso to some minor separations. There are a few tiny tears along the edges of the sheet as well as some creasing along the edges.

Estimate: $2,200 - $2,750

Sold for: $1,900

Closed on 9/12/2018