“The first modern regional map of Scandinavia” published in an atlas
By JODE, Gerard de, 1578
Septentrionaliu Regionum Suetiae Gothiae Norvegiae Daniae. et terrarum adiacetium recens exactque descriptio.
- Author: JODE, Gerard de
- Publication place: Antwerp
- Publication date: 1578.
- Physical description: Double page engraved map with fine original hand colour.
- Dimensions: 366 by 494mm (14.5 by 19.5 inches).
- Inventory reference: 13046
The map shows Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and includes part of Scotland, Iceland, and Russia. In the North and Baltic Seas are sea monsters and vessels.
The map is a reduction of a map by Lieven Algoet, an unlikely mapmaker who began his life as a courier to the great scholar Erasmus and eventually rose to become secretary to the chief minister of Mary of Austria. He produced a six sheet map in 1562, the only surviving example of which is in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. De Jode reduced it to a single sheet. In showing all the Nordic countries it has been considered “the first modern regional map of Scandinavia” (Ginsberg). Whale hunters are shown at the upper left, the main industry in the area at the time. The engraving was the work of the brothers Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum, the leading engravers working in Antwerp at the time, who produced many of the maps for de Jode’s atlas.
Gerard de Jode (1509–1591), cartographer, engraver and publisher, lived and worked in Antwerp. In 1547 he was admitted to the Guild of St. Luke and began his work as a publisher and print seller. He often printed the works of other cartographers, including Gastaldi’s map of the world in 1555, Jacob van Deventer’s map of Brabant in 1558, Ortelius’ eight-sheet map of the world in 1564, and maps by Bartholomeus Musinus and Fernando Alvares Seco.
De Jode’s atlas ‘Speculum Orbis Terrarum’ 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.
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.
- Ginsberg 28
- Ginsberg, W. (2006). Printed maps of Scandinavia and the Arctic, 1482–1601. New York: Septentrionalium Press.
- van der Krogt 1200:32.
- Koeman, C and van der Krogt, Pieter (2000–2010). Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici. MS’t Goy-Houten: HES & De Graaf Publishers. 9 vols.