1584 Ortelius - Aegyptus Antiqua

1584 Ortelius - Aegyptus Antiqua

Stunning full color example of Ortelius's two-sheet map of Egypt


Aegyptus Antiqua

Map maker:

Abraham Ortelius

Place and Year:

Antwerp, 1584


53.3 x 79 cm (21 x 31 in)


Copperplate engraving


Hand color

Condition Rating:


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This gorgeous two-sheet map of Egypt represents a dramatic intersection of art and science: it is both one of the most decorative of Ortelius maps, and what Peter Meurer of the University of Utrecht has rightly described as: “an outstanding example of early scientific research on Egypt.”

A large inset table lists those place names and regions of which the location was not certain. The map is set within a bold border. The excellent aesthetic composition, superb engraving work, and generous size makes this one of the most visually stunning of all Ortelius maps.

This two-sheet version was replaced with a single sheet map of the region in 1595 and Van de Broecke estimates only 975 were published; thus this is quite scarce on the market today.

Cartographic sources: Ortelius own two-sheet map of Ancient Egypt, dedicated to the humanist and medical doctor Scipio Fabio from Bologna, which appeared in 1565, and for which Ortelius mentions as sources Diodorus, Herodotos, Strabo and Plinius (Meurer p. 21-22).

Van de Broecke Ort 219-220 1584G3Add2 in upper right corner (75 copies printed) (last line, left aligned, in Gothic script like most of the text: Strabo/Plinius/Marcellinus und andere deutlich genug.)


Joined. Margins trimmed close; some wear from handling. Heavy tape repairs to several tears visible on the verso.




G. Schilder (1987) "Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica" II, Canaletto, p. 8-9. P.H. Meurer "Ortelius as the Father of Historical Cartography," p. 133-159 in: M. van den Broecke, P. van der Krogt and P.H. Meurer (eds.) "Abraham Ortelius and the First Atlas," HES Publishers, 1998.