Basiliensis Territorii Descriptio Nova, Auctore Sebastiano Munstero / Circulus sive...

Abraham Ortelius (*1527 - 1598)
Coloured map of the Lake Constance, Switzerland, Southern Germany. Printed in Antwerp by Plantin Press in 1595.

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Reference 12945

480,00 €

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Antique map of the northern region of Switzerland and southern Germany by Abraham Ortelius. The two maps are printed from a copper plate and come from the first modern atlas, the famous Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Ortelius, first published in 1570. Embellished with elaborate details and decorative elements.

Map of the Basel region:

The map on the left focuses on the region around Basel and is based on the earlier work of Sebastian Münster, in particular his map of the region from 1538. As a native of Basel, Sebastian Münster contributed valuable cartographic insights that make this map an authoritative depiction of the region. The towns are depicted picturesquely and the map is embellished with decorative elements such as cartouches and title banners. It is orientated to the east and shows the course of the Rhine from Waldshut via Basel to Breisach. With the south-eastern part of the Black Forest, Freiburg, Rheinfelden, Mulhouse, Bad Säckingen and Hartheim.

Map of the Lake Constance and Danube region:

This map is centred on the Danube and covers the area bounded by Lake Constance, the Rhine, Augsburg and the Odenwald and extending as far as Strasbourg and north-eastern Switzerland to Zurich. Lake Constance is prominently depicted. It is based on David Seltzin's map of Swabia from 1572, with Constance, Buchhorn (Friedrichshafen), Bregenz, St. Gallen, Freiburg, Ravensburg, Aulendorf, Bad Waldsee, Biberach, Ulm, Geislingen, Pforzheim, Stuttgart, Heilbronn and Mosbach. The map is a valuable representation of southern Germany at the time. Like the Basel map, this one is also skilfully embellished with decorative details, which adds to its visual appeal.

Both maps offer historical insights into the geographical knowledge and cartography of these regions at the time of their creation and provide a glimpse into the past through the lens of Ortelius' craftsmanship. From the early Latin edition of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum from 1595. Latin text on verso.


CartographerAbraham Ortelius
TitleBasiliensis Territorii Descriptio Nova, Auctore Sebastiano Munstero / Circulus sive Liga Sueviae, vulgo Schwabische Kraiss
Publisher, YearPlantin Press, Antwerp, 1595
Plate Size32.0 x 50.0 cm (12.6 x 19.7 inches)
Sheet Size46.0 x 56.0 cm (18.1 x 22.0 inches)
ReferenceVan den Broecke, M.: Ortelius Atlas Maps, No. 114/1595L68


Very good condition.


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: Basiliensis Territorii Descriptio Nova, Auctore Sebastiano Munstero / Circulus sive Liga Sueviae, vulgo Schwabische Kraiss.
Coloured map of the Lake Constance, Switzerland, Southern Germany. Printed in Antwerp by Plantin Press in 1595.

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