Presbiteri Iohannis, sive, Abissinorum Imperii Descriptio

Abraham Ortelius (*1527 - 1598)
Coloured map of Priest Joan, Ethiopia, Central Africa. Printed in Antwerp by Jan Baptist Vrients in 1603.

More details

Reference 11900



Hand coloured antique map of Africa by Abraham Ortelius. Shows the Kingdom of the mystical Prester John in central Africa. Decorated with two cartouches, four elephants, sea monsters and a sailing ship. From the Ortelius Atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1603, Latin text on verso.


CartographerAbraham Ortelius
TitlePresbiteri Iohannis, sive, Abissinorum Imperii Descriptio
Publisher, YearJan Baptist Vrients, Antwerp, 1603
Plate Size37.1 x 43.4 cm (14.6 x 17.1 inches)
Sheet Size44.5 x 53.2 cm (17.5 x 20.9 inches)
ReferenceVan den Broecke, M.: Ortelius Atlas Maps, No. 175; Van der Krogt, P.: Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 8720:31.


Tiny burn hole. Very good condition in attractive colours.


Abraham Ortelius was born 1527 in Antwerp. He studied mathematics, Greek and Latin and travelled a lot across Europe. He established a business in dealing with books and drawing maps. His first remarkable map was a 8 sheet world map in the year 1564, but only three copies have survived. In 1570 he issued the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern Atlas with uniformly sized maps in a systematic collection. The term Atlas was not used until Mercator introduced it 20 years later. Most of the maps in Theatrum have been engraved by Frans Hogenberg. At the time of publication, the atlas was the most expensive book ever printed. Nevertheless it was a big success and around 7000 copies have been printed until 1612 in many editions and six different languages. Beside the Theatrum, Ortelius compiled a series of historical maps and published it in the Parergon Theatri which was bound with the Theatrum from 1579 onwards or published separately.

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Abraham Ortelius: Presbiteri Iohannis, sive, Abissinorum Imperii Descriptio.
Coloured map of Priest Joan, Ethiopia, Central Africa. Printed in Antwerp by Jan Baptist Vrients in 1603.

Africa - Ortelius, Abraham - Presbiteri Iohannis, sive, Abissinorum...

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