'EUROPA' by Petrus Bertius c.1616

'EUROPA' by Petrus Bertius c.1616
SKU: bertfm/euro/001

A very attractive, finely engraved and detailed early 17th century miniature map of Europe which was published in Petrus Bertius's Tabularum Geographicarum Geographicarum Contractarum (Amsterdam: 1616).

An interesting feature is the depiction of the mythical islands of Hy Brazil (west of Ireland) and Frisland (between Greenland and Iceland). Hy Brasil was in Celtic folklore, a 'blessed stormless isle' which appeared from the mists of the Atlantic each sunset and where the gods would rest and the men, women and children were pure. It was possibly based on sightings of Rockall but has no connection to the country of Brazil. The Island of Frisland first appeared on a map in 1558 by the Venetian, Nicoló Zeno. He claimed it was based on the accounts of his ancestors who had travelled to the North Atlantic in the 1390s even discovering America. Though the Zeno map is now considered a hoax, it was taken seriously by many eminent cartographers including Mercator and even later, Blaeu. It wasn't until the mid 18th century that Frisland was finally proved to be false.

Petrus Bertius (1565-1629) grew up up in Beveren in Flanders and as a young man travelled widely in Europe. In company with so many of his compatriots he moved to Amsterdam as a refugee from religious persecution and after completing his studies there he was appointed a professor of mathematics and librarian at Leyden University. As well as being a prolific writer on mathematical, historical and theological subjects, he is known as a cartographer for the editions of Ptolemy's 'Geographia' and for the miniature atlas, 'Tabularum Geographicarum Contractarum'. In 1618 he moved to Paris and became Official Cosmographer to Louis XIII. He was related by marriage to the eminent cartographers, Jodocus Hondius and Pieter Van Den Keere (Source: 'Antique Maps' by Moreland & Bannister, 1983).

  • This is an original copperplate engraving.
  • Printed area is approximately 13.6cms by 9.6cms (not including outer text).
  • The map is in very good condition with decent borders. Click on image for a better view.
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  • Guaranteed to be over 400 years old.