History Archive > Atlas sive Cosmographicae (1595)

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Atlas sive Cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mvndi et fabricati figvra.


Date: 1595



Atlas sive Cosmographicae - Title Page
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Mercator, Gerard. Atlas sive Cosmographicae. Dvisbvrgi Clivorvm [1595]. 1595.


Mercator, Gerard (1595) Atlas sive Cosmographicae. Dvisbvrgi Clivorvm [1595].


Mercator, Gerard, Atlas sive Cosmographicae. Dvisbvrgi Clivorvm [1595]. 1595.


A rare first complete edition of the first truly modern scientific atlas. Gerard Mercator was the most influential geographer since Ptolemy. In 1569 he invented a new method of projection and his principles have only had to be abandoned after several centuries of use. The title of this edition shows the first use of the name Atlas for a collection of maps.

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Parts II-VI had been published separately between 1585 and 1595. The first part, originally published in 1585, is composed of three fascicles, each with a special t. p.: Galliae tabule geographicae ; Belgii Inferioris geographicae tabule ; Germaniae tabule geographicae. The second part, originally published in 1589, has special title page of .: Italiae, Sclavoniae, et Graeciae tabule geographice.The third part, under whose title the work is published, precedes the first and second parts. Left unfinished by the author, it was completed, and the whole work edited and published by his son, Rumold Mercator, in 1595.

Bound in contemporary brown calf binding stamped in blind, with one border and some vignettes in gilt. The letters T. D. N. G. M. S. appear in gilt on front cover, and the date in gilt, on the back of the book.

Medium: 3 pts. in 1 v. port., 107 col. maps (part fold.) 45 cm.

Library of Congress Call Number/Physical Location: G1007 .A7 1595

Large 2o (407 x 277 mm). 6 parts in one volume. Part I: \Kp\k2 (engraved architectural and emblematic title, letterpress dedication to Wilhelm and Johann Wilhelm, Dukes of Julich, 2v in first state before the author's portrait but with the verse caption by Bernard Furmer) +4 \Kc\k2 (biography and epitaphs of the author, letters and verse in praise of the atlas, errata); a-d4 (text); part II: e2 (2+1) (engraved architectural and emblematic title Atlantis Pars altera. Geographia nova Totius Mundi, letterpress dedication to Queen Elizabeth and address to the reader), A-E2 (engraved maps of the world and the four continents), I-XIX2 (maps of the North Pole, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Norway and Sweden), \Kc\k1 (dedication to Heinrich Rantzau) XXa2 (description of Denmark), XXb-XXIX2 (maps of Denmark, Prussia, Russia, the Baltic countries, Transylvania and Ukraine), [XX4] (letterpress index and colophon); part III: +6 (engraved title of Renaissance ornament Galliae tabulae geographicae, letterpress preliminaries), a-d2 e1 f-q2 (maps of France and Switzerland), **2 (index); part IV: +4 (engraved title Belgii inferioris Geographicae tabulae, letterpress preliminaries, 4 blank), r-z & et2 (maps of the Low Countries and Luxemburg), +2 (index, misbound after the title-leaf in part VI); part V: ++4 (engraved title Germaniae tabulae geographicae, letterpress preliminaries, 4 blank), A-F2 Fij2 G-Q2 Qij2 R-Z AA2 (maps of Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Poland and Hungary), +++4 (index); part VI: \Kp\k2 (engraved title Italiae, Sclavoniae, et Graeciae tabulae geographicae, letterpress dedication to Ferdinando de' Medici), 1-222 (maps of Italy, the Balkans and Greece), a-c2 (index). A TOTAL OF 107 COPPERPLATE MAPS, all but one (counties of Boulogne and Guines) double-page on full sheets, many with letterpress text on the reverse, the world-map with text on the obverse. Woodcut initials and typographical ornaments. Contemporary vellum over pasteboard, with overlapping edges, double blind fillet on sides, later ties.

Provenance: Johann Ducker (17th-century inscription); Heinrich Stinnes of Cologne (purchased from Julius Halle in Munich); bought at Christie's New York, 11 June 1982, lot 264. (Christies)


J. Keuning, "The History of an Atlas", in Imago Mundi IV (1947) pp. 37-43; PMM 100; World Encompassed 134.

Library of Congress. Lessing J. Rosenwald collection, 730

Phillips 5918, 5919

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Publication Information

Publisher: Dvisbvrgi Clivorvm [1595]



Pages: 568


Library of Congress


ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-04-05

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