“AFRICAE TABVLA NOVA” Antwerp: Abraham Ortelius, c. 1579 from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Verso text Latin. Very fine engraved map with later hand-coloring. (Ref: Van den Broecke # 8; Norwich #10). (Image : 14 ¾ x 19 7/8’’) .
This highly decorative "New Map of Africa" depicts the continent as it was thought to exist in the 1570’s. The Nile River is based on the Ptolemaic concept. Large lakes appear in various parts of the mainland & there are numerous rivers and cities shown. The map is further adorned with sea monsters and a battle at sea.
Several descriptive notes are provided throughout the map. To the right of the continent is “Sinus Barbaricus...” (The Barbarian Gulf, which by Ptolemy is also called the Rough Sea). To the right of Madagascar is “Hec insula...” (This island is by its inhabitants called Madagascar, by the Spanish Saint Laurence, and was in the time of Ptolemy called Memithias, and was probably by Plinius called Cerne).
In the center of the map, written across the lower Nile is: “Hic longe...” (Here rules far and wide the great leader Prester John, most powerful king of all Africa). Under the word “NVBIA” is “Nubia Regnum...” (The Kingdom of Nubia, once drenched in Christianity, today hardly professed to any religion). Beneath the Nubia note is “Hic Niger...” (Here the river Niger flows underground for sixty miles).
An attractive example of one of the best known 16th century maps of Africa. Center fold as issued in the Ortelius Atlas. Unobtrusive horizontal printers crease in the lower portion of the map.