4 parts bound in one volume, comprising:
Galliae tabulae geographicae. Duisburg, , engraved title, dedication leaf to Wilhelm and Johann Wilhelm, Dukes of Jülich, Kleve and Berg, dated August 1585, 16 engraved maps, all but one double-page
Germaniae tabulae geographicae. Duisburg, , engraved title, 26 double-page engraved maps
Belgii inferioris tabulae geographicae. Duisburg, , engraved title, 9 double-page engraved maps
Italiae, Sclavoniae, et Graeciae tabulae geographicae. Duisburg, , engraved architectural title, dedication leaf to Ferdinand de Medici with "Candido lectori" on verso, 22 double-page engraved maps, without portrait of Mercator
Folio (420x 285mm.), together 75 engraved maps (including 2 additional maps at end of volume), contemporary brown goatskin, gilt, sides ruled in blind and gilt with fleurons at corners, empty cardinal's coat-of-arms added later in centre of covers, some marginal soiling, occasional staining, the 2 additional maps stained, rebacked retaining original spine, sides repaired and slightly stained
Gerard Mercator is one of the greatest figures of cartography: his influence on the way we perceive the world is still felt today through his innovative projection of the globe, which has been used by navigators ever since its invention in 1569. Further to this, Mercator also coined the phrase "atlas" and his complete work of 1595 is the first collection of maps to carry this appellation.
Following Mercator's death, his heirs sold his map plates to Jodocus Hondius, who produced a new version of the atlas, with his own additional maps, in 1606. This is generally known as the Mercator-Hondius atlas, as are the various editions in different languages that followed. The reach of this landmark cartographical work was further extended with the appearance of the smaller-format Atlas minor in 1607. The present volume contains the first four parts of Mercator's atlas. The first three parts were published simultaneously and are usually found together; it is less common to find the fourth part, Italiae, included. It was only in 1595 that the atlas was completed and published as a world atlas.
The two additional maps are Rumold Mercator's Europa and Orbis terrae compendiosa descriptio (1587).
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