Abraham Ortelius

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Abraham Ortelius_table_infobox_0

Abraham OrteliusAbraham Ortelius_header_cell_0_0_0
BornAbraham Ortelius_header_cell_0_1_0 14 April 1527

Antwerp, Habsburg NetherlandsAbraham Ortelius_cell_0_1_1

DiedAbraham Ortelius_header_cell_0_2_0 28 June 1598(1598-06-28) (aged 71)

Antwerp, Spanish NetherlandsAbraham Ortelius_cell_0_2_1

NationalityAbraham Ortelius_header_cell_0_3_0 BrabantianAbraham Ortelius_cell_0_3_1
OccupationAbraham Ortelius_header_cell_0_4_0 Geographer, cartographerAbraham Ortelius_cell_0_4_1
Known forAbraham Ortelius_header_cell_0_5_0 Creator of the first modern atlas; proposing the idea of Continental driftAbraham Ortelius_cell_0_5_1

Abraham Ortelius (/ɔːrˈtiːliəs/; also Ortels, Orthellius, Wortels; 14 April 1527 – 28 June 1598) was a Brabantian cartographer, geographer, and cosmographer, conventionally recognized as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_0

Ortelius is often considered one of the founders of the Netherlandish school of cartography and one of the most notable figures of the school in its golden age (approximately 1570s–1670s). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_1

The publication of his atlas in 1570 is often considered as the official beginning of the Golden Age of Netherlandish cartography. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_2

He is also believed to be the first person to imagine that the continents were joined before drifting to their present positions. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_3

Life Abraham Ortelius_section_0

Ortelius was born on 14 April O.S. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_4

4 April] 1527 in the city of Antwerp, which was then in the Habsburg Netherlands (modern-day Belgium). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_5

The Orthellius family were originally from Augsburg, a Free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_6

In 1535, the family had fallen under suspicion of Protestantism. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_7

Following the death of Ortelius's father, his uncle Jacobus van Meteren returned from religious exile in England to take care of Ortelius. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_8

Abraham remained close to his cousin Emanuel van Meteren, who would later move to London. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_9

In 1575 he was appointed geographer to the king of Spain, Philip II, on the recommendation of Arias Montanus, who vouched for his orthodoxy. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_10

He travelled extensively in Europe and is specifically known to have traveled throughout the Seventeen Provinces; in southern, western, northern, and eastern Germany (e.g., 1560, 1575–1576); France (1559–1560); England and Ireland (1576); and Italy (1578, and perhaps two or three times between 1550 and 1558). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_11

Beginning as a map-engraver, in 1547 he entered the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke as an illuminator of maps. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_12

He supplemented his income trading in books, prints, and maps, and his journeys included yearly visits to the Frankfurt book and print fair, where he met Gerardus Mercator in 1554. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_13

In 1560, however, when travelling with Mercator to Trier, Lorraine, and Poitiers, he seems to have been attracted, largely by Mercator's influence, towards the career of a scientific geographer. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_14

He died in Antwerp. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_15

Map publisher Abraham Ortelius_section_1

In 1564 he published his first map, Typus Orbis Terrarum, an eight-leaved wall map of the world, on which he identified the Regio Patalis with Locach as a northward extension of the Terra Australis, reaching as far as New Guinea. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_16

This map subsequently appeared in reduced form in the Terrarum (the only extant copy is in now at Basel University Library). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_17

He also published a two-sheet map of Egypt in 1565, a plan of the Brittenburg castle on the coast of the Netherlands in 1568, an eight-sheet map of Asia in 1567, and a six-sheet map of Spain before the appearance of his atlas. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_18

In England Ortelius's contacts included William Camden, Richard Hakluyt, Thomas Penny, Puritan controversialist William Charke, and Humphrey Llwyd, who would contribute the map of England and Wales to Ortelius's 1573 edition of the Theatrum. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_19

In 1578 he laid the basis of a critical treatment of ancient geography by his Synonymia geographica (issued by the Plantin press at Antwerp and republished in expanded form as Thesaurus geographicus in 1587 and again expanded in 1596. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_20

In this last edition, Ortelius considers the possibility of continental drift, a hypothesis proved correct only centuries later). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_21

In 1596 he received a presentation from Antwerp city, similar to that afterwards bestowed on Rubens. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_22

His death on 28 June 1598 and his burial in the church of St. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_23 Michael's Abbey, Antwerp, were marked by public mourning. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_24

The inscription on his tombstone reads: Quietis cultor sine lite, uxore, prole ("served quietly, without accusation, wife, and offspring"). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_25

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Abraham Ortelius_section_2

Main article: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Abraham Ortelius_sentence_26

On 20 May 1570, Gilles Coppens de Diest at Antwerp issued Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the "first modern atlas" (of 53 maps). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_27

Three Latin editions of this (besides a Dutch, a French and a German edition) appeared before the end of 1572; twenty-five editions came out before Ortelius's death in 1598; and several others were published subsequently, for the atlas continued to be in demand until about 1612. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_28

Most of the maps were admittedly reproductions (a list of 87 authors is given in the first Theatrum by Ortelius himself, growing to 183 names in the 1601 Latin edition), and many discrepancies of delineation or nomenclature occur. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_29

Errors, of course, abound, both in general conceptions and in detail; thus South America is initially very faulty in outline, but corrected in the 1587 French edition, and in Scotland the Grampians lie between the Forth and the Clyde; but, taken as a whole, this atlas with its accompanying text was a monument of rare erudition and industry. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_30

Its immediate precursor and prototype was a collection of thirty-eight maps of European lands, and of Asia, Africa, Tartary, and Egypt, gathered together by the wealth and enterprise, and through the agents, of Ortelius's friend and patron, Gillis Hooftman (1521–1581), lord of Cleydael and Aertselaar: most of these were printed in Rome, eight or nine only in the Southern Netherlands. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_31

In 1573, Ortelius published seventeen supplementary maps under the title Additamentum Theatri Orbis Terrarum. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_32

Four more Additamenta were to follow, the last one appearing in 1597. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_33

He also had a keen interest and formed a fine collection of coins, medals and antiques, and this resulted in the book (also in 1573, published by Philippe Galle of Antwerp) Deorum dearumque capita ... ex Museo Ortelii ("Heads of the gods and goddesses... from the Ortelius Museum"); reprinted in 1582, 1602, 1612, 1680, 1683 and finally in 1699 by Gronovius, Thesaurus Graecarum Antiquitatum ("Treasury of Greek Antiquities", vol. vii). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_34

The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum inspired a six-volume work titled Civitates orbis terrarum, edited by Georg Braun and illustrated by Frans Hogenberg with the assistance of Ortelius himself, who visited England to see his friend John Dee in Mortlake in 1577, and Braun tells of Ortelius putting pebbles in cracks in Temple Church, Bristol, being crushed by the vibration of the bells. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_35

Later maps Abraham Ortelius_section_3

In 1579 Ortelius brought out his Nomenclator Ptolemaicus and started his Parergon (a series of maps illustrating ancient history, sacred and secular). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_36

He also published Itinerarium per nonnullas Galliae Belgicae partes (at the Plantin press in 1584, and reprinted in 1630, 1661 in Hegenitius, Itin. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_37

Frisio-Hoil., in 1667 by Verbiest, and finally in 1757 in Leuven), a record of a journey in Belgium and the Rhineland made in 1575. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_38

In 1589 he published Maris Pacifici, the first dedicated map of the Pacific to be printed. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_39

Among his last works were an edition of Caesar (C. I. Caesaris omnia quae extant, Leiden, Raphelingen, 1593), and the Aurei saeculi imago, sive Germanorum veterum vita, mores, ritus et religio. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_40

(Philippe Galle, Antwerp, 1596). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_41

He also aided Welser in his edition of the Peutinger Table in 1598. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_42

Contrary to popular belief, Abraham Ortelius, who had no children, never lived at the Mercator-Orteliushuis (Kloosterstraat 11–17, Antwerpen), but lived at his sister's house (Kloosterstraat 33–35, Antwerpen). Abraham Ortelius_sentence_43

Modern use of maps Abraham Ortelius_section_4

Originals of Ortelius's maps are popular collectors' items and often sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_44

Facsimiles of his maps are also available from many retailers. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_45

A map he made of North and South America is also included in the world's largest commercially available jigsaw puzzle, which is of four world maps. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_46

This puzzle is made by Ravensburger, measures 6 feet (1.8 m) × 9 feet (2.7 m), and has over 18,000 pieces. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_47

Imagining continental drift Abraham Ortelius_section_5

Ortelius was the first to underline the geometrical similarity between the coasts of America and Europe-Africa and to propose continental drift as an explanation. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_48

Kious described Ortelius's thoughts in this way: Abraham Ortelius_sentence_49

Ortelius's observations of continental juxtaposition and his proposal of rupture and separation went unnoticed until late 20th century. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_50

However, they were repeated in 18th and 19th century and later by Alfred Wegener, who published his hypothesis of continental drift in 1912 and in following years. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_51

Because his publications were widely available in German and English and because he adduced geological support for the idea, Wegener is credited by most geologists as the first to recognize the possibility of continental drift. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_52

Frank Bursley Taylor (in 1908) was also an early advocate of continental drift. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_53

During the 1960s geophysical and geological evidence for seafloor spreading at mid-oceanic ridges became increasingly compelling to geologists (e.g. Hess, 1960) and finally established continental drift as an ongoing global mechanism. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_54

After more than three centuries, Ortelius's supposition of continental drift was proven correct. Abraham Ortelius_sentence_55


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham Ortelius.