Books > Atlases > Antique book - Atlas by Gerard Mercator
One of the most important atlases in history
Mercator Gerard. Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. Denuo auctus Edition Quarta. Amsterdam, J. Hondius, 1619. Fourth edition, folio (485 x 315 mm), French text, engraved title, double-page portrait of Mercator and Hondius, 4 engraved sectional titles and 156 mapsheets in fine original colour, contemporary vellum.
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Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) was the greatest name in sixteenth-century map-making. Along with Ptolemy, he is arguably the most important cartographer of all time. His friend Abraham Ortelius described Mercator as "the Ptolemy of the age".
This atlas is the result of Mercator's project for a complete and original description of the creation, the heavens, earth and sea, as well as a world history. Koeman notes that 'contrary to the maps in Ortelius's Theatrum orbis terrarum, Antwerp 1570, Mercator's maps are original... [He] checked the current knowledge of the configuration of the earth's topography against its fundamental sources and drew new maps in his original conception. This method of map-making took more time than it would have by mere copying. But he had not the intention to compete with Ortelius's best-selling atlas' (Koeman II, p.282). Ultimately, the labour of creating these maps took its toll on Mercator, who did not live to see the atlas completed; the work was finally finished by his son Rumbold.
Around 1604 Jodocus Hondius and Cornelis Claesz. obtained the copper-plates of Mercator's atlases (Ptolemy's Geographia and the Atlas). They probably bought them directly from Gerard Mercator, Jr., grandson of Gerard Mercator. Hondius and Claesz. planned a new edition of Mercator's Atlas with a partly new text to the maps, written by Petrus Montanus. The first edition appeared in 1606.
The first Amsterdam edition of 1606 follows the arrangement of the complete atlas published by Rumold Mercator in 1595.
The Atlas of Gerard Mercator was the first book with the title atlas.
Item number: 24330
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