Petrus Plancius

Orbis Terrarum Typus De Integro Multis in Locis Emendatus, Amsterdam 1594


Petrus Plancius

Orbis Terrarum Typus De Integro Multis in Locis Emendatus, Amsterdam 1594




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"This new world map by Petrus Plancius was first issued separately in 1595 or shortly thereafter and then later incorporated into editions of Linschoten's Itinerarium from 1599 onwards. It has been angraved by Jan van Doetecum, a craftsman of great skill whose signature appears in the lower left-hand corner and who was associated with a number of Plancius' maps.

The two main terrestial hemispheres are based on those in Plancius' earlier world map of 1590, updated by geographical detail and with the addition of two celestial spheres from his large wall map two years later. The Far East , in particular, is more accurately represented. Korea appears as a peninsula for the first time and Plancius shows an improved outline for Japan, based on drawings by the Portuguese cartographer Luíz Teixeira. New Guinea, an island in the earlier maps, is however now joined to the extensive southern continent named 'Magellanica'.

Inscriptions in the arctic show that Plancius was aware of reports of English voyages there and, perhaps to encourage forthcoming expeditions, Novaya Zemlaya is newly shown as an island. Koeman, writing in his introduction to Jodocus Hondius' Wall-Map of Europe 1595 (Amsterdam, 1967) says of Plancius' map that 'Some copies show traces of the correction of an earlier edition in which the Arctic continent has been revised in order to depict the islands of Novaya Zemlaya'. I have not seen an unrevised state, and it is usually accepted that Barentsz.' voyages of 1594 were forst portrayed on the twin hemispheres which Hondius portrayed on his large map of Europe the following year, 1595.

The elaborate pictorial borders were inspired by drawings in the works of Theodore de Bry published a few years earlier and established a pattern of cartographical decoration that lasted over a century. The regions of the world are exemplified by means of symbolic female figures, by landscape vignettes, and by lively pictures of animals indigenous to each area. Doetecum has included elephants and camels, a giraffe, a unicorn, an ostrich and the footless bird of paradise; parrots, snakes and monkeys and - as unlikely beasts of transport for the regional figures - a rhinoceros, a crocodile and a giant armadillo. Europe and Asia are thus shown along the top of the map and Africa, Magellanica, Peru [South America] and Mexico [ North America ] along the bottom.

Plancius' map had a widespread influence on other map-makers and it was issued unchanged throughout the various editions of Linschoten's Itinerarium from 1599 onwards. It is therefore occasionally available to collectors."


"The first World Map with elaborate, pictorial borders.

This beautiful map from Linschoten's Voyages combines the skills of two of the most respected map makers and engravers of the day. Petrus Plancius and Jan van Doetichum, whose signature is visible at the lower left, worked together on many map productions and this is one of their best known.

This map is the first to use elaborate pictorial borders representing the peoples, animals and environment of foreign parts and established a tradition which was maintained by most Dutch map makers throughout the next century and by numerous others of various nations over the next two hundred years.

In each corner are female representations of the four continents: Europe, an elegant crowned figure holding a cornucopia and a sceptre, a helmet, a lute and symbols of wisdom at her feet; Asia, an elaborately robed figure seated on a rhinoceros and holding an incense burner, a casket of baubles at her feet; Africa, an almost naked figure riding a crocodile armed with bow and arrows; America, entitled Mexicana, an Amazon figure seated on an armadillo.

Between the figures and the celestial spheres at top and bottom are further illustrations of the animals, people and habitations of these exotic places. Much of the illustration here, as in numerous Dutch map design was inspired by the illustrations in the reports published by de Bry a few years earlier.

This map by Plancius was copied almost line-for-line by others but a few of the subsequent seventeenth-century World maps came close to matching this for a combination of content and decoration."



"Similar maps of this two-hemisphere type, with elaborate pictorial borders inspired by Théodore de Bry's collection of travelers' tales, were popular for a century or more after Plancius introduced his 1594 map. It in turn was based on Mercator's two-hemisphere world map of 1587. The northern and southern celestial hemispheres came from Plancius's owm large world map of 1592. The changes Plancius made both to Mercator's map and to his own precursors of the 1594 map seen to have been introduced partly to make the idea of a sea route to Asia through the arctic appear more attractive, for Plancius was waging a personal campaign to promote Dutch penetration into Far Eastern markets.

The first Dutch landfall in Australia was not made until 1606, so that Magellanica was still filled with details drawn from the by then centuries-old stories of travelers like the Polos and Lodovico di Varthema; note Marco Polo's Lucach, Beach, and Maletur. Nevertheless, farther to the north Java, Borneo, and the Philippines are all recognizable, and in the arctic, an inscription indicates that Plancius paid close attention to reports of English voyages into the polar regions."

(Tooley & Bricker).



Ho presentato nelle righe precedenti la carta di Plancius del 1594 con tre riferimenti bibliografici presenti sul sito di Leen Elmink, Antique Maps, antiquario che ha avuto la fortuna di possedere e mettere in vendita una delle rare copie originali dell’opera.

La tavola dei due emisferi terrestri (cm 40,5 per 57,5) nell’edizione che presento riporta nella sua parte centrale, in alto e in basso, anche la rappresentazione dei due emisferi celesti (8,5cm di diametro) calcolati per il 1594. La tavola prodotta e messa in vendita separatamente nel 1594 fu poi inserita nell’Itinerario di J. H. Linschoten del 1596. Nell’angolo in basso a sinistra troviamo il riferimento all’incisore: Ioannes à Deutecum iunior fecit.


I due emisferi celesti sono stati prodotti in proiezione stereografica convessa e hanno come riferimento i due poli eclittici, la circonferenza esterna è rappresentata dall’Eclittica, graduata con tacche di un grado di longitudine e suddivisa in 12 spicchi di 30°, il reticolo eclittico è completato da altrettante 12 linee di longitudine, quelle dei solstizi sono graduate con tacche di un grado di latitudine.  Il reticolo polare equatoriale comprende i due poli, i circoli polari, i circoli dei tropici, i coluri e l’equatore. Nell’emisfero sud è ben demarcato il tracciato della Via Lattea. Le costellazioni zodiacali sono riportate soltanto nell’emisfero boreale, sul bordo dell’eclittica. Avendo uno scopo didascalico i due emisferi presentano poche stelle, non distinte in classi di grandezze, e soltanto una parte delle costellazioni tolemaiche. Oltre a queste, denominate in latino, risaltano le seguenti costellazioni non tolemaiche: Emisfero boreale - Cesaries. Emisfero australe - Columba, la costellazione di fantasia denominata Polophilax, quindi Crux, Triangulum Australe e le due Nubi di Magellano in posizione di fantasia ad occupare la zona di cielo invisibile dalle latitudini europee. 























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Nocturnal Celestial Globe di

Petrus Plancius




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per cortesia di

Giuseppe (Pino) Civitarese