De Jode’s rare world map
By DE JODE, Cornelis, 1593
Totius Orbis Cogniti Universalis Descriptio Cui etiam eandem orbis terrae delineationem, duorum circulorum capacitate huius descriptionis mundi longitudinem documento admirantibus adiecimus anno MDLXXXIX.
- Author: DE JODE, Cornelis
- Publication place: [Antwerp
- Publisher: Gerard de Jode
- Publication date: 1593].
- Physical description: Double-page engraved map.
- Dimensions: 425 by 566mm (16.75 by 22.25 inches).
- Inventory reference: 12907
The map shows two views of the world. The main chart is a world map on a rectangular projection. Points of interest include the portrayal of the gigantic southern continent ‘Terra Australis’, believed to represent the rest of the landmass implied by the passage of Tierra del Fuego, reaching up to near New Guinea. The South American continent is disproportionately wide. The Strait of Anian separates America and Asia. The two small hemispheric maps to either side of the title show the western and eastern hemispheres on Roger Bacon’s circular projection.
The imprint at the lower edge states that the map was created by Cornelis de Jode in November 1589 at the Academy of Douai, and published or printed by his father Gerard de Jode.
The map appeared in the second edition of the de Jodes’ atlas ‘Speculum orbis terrae’. The ‘Speculum’ was first published in 1578 by Gerard de Jode (1509–1591) with text by Daniel Cellarius. It was designed to compete with Abraham Ortelius’ atlas, ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’, which had been published eight years earlier. Ortelius used his influence to disrupt de Jode’s application for a royal privilege. By the time this was finally granted, seven years after the publication of the ‘Theatrum’, Ortelius’ work had become so popular that de Jode’s atlas did not sell well, despite the accuracy and clarity of his maps.
His son Cornelis (1558–1600) continued his father’s publishing business after studying at Douai. He produced an enlarged edition of the ‘Speculum’ in 1593, which Gerard had been planning before his death. Either Cornelis or Gerard was the first person to make a globe following the geography of Mercator in the southern hemisphere; no copies of it survive to provide evidence.
Although sales of de Jode’s work were less than ideal, the atlas was evidently held in high regard, with several contemporaries citing its importance alongside the atlases of Mercator and Ortelius. Few examples of either edition of the ‘Speculum’ have survived, making the maps within a rarity.
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