Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 154

Text, scholarly version, translated from the 1570 Latin (ABC), 1571 Latin, 1573 Latin (AB), 1574 Latin, 1575 Latin, 1579 Latin (AB), 1580/1589 German, 1584 Latin, 1588 Spanish & 1592 Latin editions:

154.1. {1570L(AC) The kingdom of Poland.

154.2. Polonia, {1570L(B){so named after its flat plains (which they still vulgarly call Pole),}1570L(B)} a vast country, in the West borders on Silesia, on the other sides on Hungaria, Lithuania and Prussia. It is divided into greater and lesser [Poland]. Greater Poland is what lies towards the North {1606E instead{West}1606E instead}, and contains the excellent cities of Guesna [Giezno] and Posnania [Poznan]{not in 1580/1589G, 1584L & 1588S{and less important ones}not in 1580/1589G, 1584L & 1588S}. Lesser Poland lies towards the South and contains the famous city of Cracow, situated on the head of the river Vistula [Weichsel], which runs through the middle of the country.
154.3. The other cities are not very large or beautiful. Their houses are mostly built of stone, and some are plastered with clay. The country is very marshy, and full of woods. The common drink the people use is beer. Wine they drink only seldom, and they do not know how to grow grapevines. {1570L(B){They are regarded as excellent horsemen for service in wars}1570L(B)}. The soil is fertile for corn, they have many herds of cattle, [and] many deer.
154.4. There is plenty of honey. Salt is here dug from the earth in great abundance. In the mountains which in their language they call Tatri they have mines of brass and brimstone. {1573L(A){Cromer writes that the Hungarians call the Poles Lengel after Leech, the captain or father of the nation}1573L(A)}.
154.5. The kingdom of Polonia comprises Lithuania, Samogitia, Masovia, {1570L(B){Volhinia, Podolia and Russia, which is called South-Russia, and by some Ruthenia}1570L(B), {1573L(A){and also all of Prussia, except for that part which has its own duke by whom it is governed. Lewenclaius writes that in the year 1570 the king of Poland took the prince of Moldavia under his protection}1573L(A).
154.6. The greatest part of Lithuania is marshy and full of bogs, for the most part woody and therefore not easily entered or reached. It is better to trade with the Lithuanians in winter, for since the moors and lakes are [then] covered either with thick ice or deep snow, merchants may pass from place to place more easily. In Lithuania there are few towns, and the villages are only sparsely inhabited. The chief wealth of the country people is cattle, and rich furs of various sorts of wild animals, which you find abundantly all over the country. They have plenty of wax and honey. They have little use for money.
154.7. {1573L(A){This region breeds bisons, a kind of animal which they call Suber, the Germans Ur-ochs, such as we could see in Antwerp in the year 1570. From here also comes that kind of animal which the Romans call Alces, and the Dutch Elandt [elk]}1573L(A)}. The people speak the Slavonic tongue {1580/1589G only{or Windisch}1580/1589G only}, as the Poles do as well. Their chief city is Vilna, a bishop's see, which is as big as Cracow. But the houses in it do not stand closely together nor touch one another, but, like in the countryside, there are gardens and orchards between the houses.
154.8. {1573L(A){All the oak timber which we call Wagenschott which almost all the carpenters or joiners use who make buildings in the harbour cities of the Low Countries & Belgium, public as well as private, as also most of their furniture and household stuff is felled here, and then transported through the East sea, called Mare Balticum or Germanicum)}1573L(A)}.
154.9. In Samogitia {1570L(B){(which in their language means low-land)}1570L(B)} the people are tall and of excellent stature, but rude and barbarous in their manner and behaviour, using modest and homely food. {1573L(A){The Russians call this province Samotz-kasemla}1573L(A)}. There are no fair buildings here at all, but their houses are like poor cottages only, made of wood, and covered with straw. From the bottom upwards, their buildings gradually become smaller and smaller, like the keel of a ship {1580/1589G only{or a hood against the storm}1580/1589G only}. In the top it has one opening, letting light in from above, under which there is the fire where they cook their food. In that house they hide themselves, their wives, children, servants, maids, sheep, cattle, corn and furniture altogether.
154.10. {1579L(A){Sichardus in his history of Germany writes that the people of Samogitia have descended from the Saxons, and therefore ought to be subject to the kingdom of Polonia, yet, although the Saxons deny it to be a part of their jurisdiction, they confirm it to belong to the precinct of Saxony}1579L(A)}.
154.11. Masovia [Mazowse] is a region held in homage by the king of Poland. The chief or metropolitan city of this province is Varsovia [Warsawa] where they make an excellent kind of mead, a drink made of honey &c.
154.12. {1570L(B){Volhinia is a region abounding with all kinds of things, a very fertile soil, full of towns and castles.
154.13. Podolia has such a fertile soil that grass in three days will cover a yard stick that has been cast into it. It is so heavy, and grows so fast that a plough, being left in it on grassy places of the fields will in just a few days be covered. Here is also and abundance of honey. Its main city is Camyenetz [Kamenetz].
154.14. Russia yields plenty of horses, oxen, and sheep with very fine wool. Their drink is mead, which they make of honey. Wine is brought here from Pannonia, Moldavia and Walachia. The chief city of this province is Leunpurg [Leumburg], which the Romans call Leopolis}1570L(B)}.
154.15. {1573L(A){Moldavia is a part of Walachia. Its metropolitan city is Sossavia, commonly called Sotchen [Suceava]. The inhabitants of this country are a fierce and cruel people, but very good soldiers, and therefore they are continually in animosity with the Transsilvanians}1573L(A)}. {1579L(A){As it was the custom of the Thracians in old times to mark the noblemen's children with a hot iron, in the same way it is reported that the lords of Moldavia to this very day mark their children as soon as they are born, with some kind of mark, so that no question need arise whether they are the rightful heirs or not, and that strangers may be excluded from inheritance among them, as Reinerus Reineckius in his text on noble families has written}1579L(A)}.
154.16. You can read about many other things in these countries in Mathias of Michou in his discourse on the Sarmatians, in Albertus Crantzius' description of Wandalia, Bonfinius in his history of Hungary. But of all Martinus Cromerus {1570L(B){in his chronicle of Poland}1570L(B)} has most excellently described these countries, as has Sigismund of Herberstein in his commentaries on Moscovia}1570L(AC) end here}. {1570(B){See also Sebastian Münster}1570(B), 1571L end here}.
154.17. {1573L(A){Ioannes Duglossus, a most prolific historian of the Poles, is cited by Ioachimus Cureus, but not yet published, as he states}1573L(AB), 1574L, 1575L, 1579L(AB), 1580/1589G, 1584L, 1588S & 1592L end here}.

The vernacular text version, translated from the 1571/1573 Dutch, 1572/1573 German, 1572/1574 French, 1581 French and 1587 French editions:

154.18. {1571/1573D, not in 1572/1574F, 1581F & 1587F{The kingdom of}not in 1572/1574F, 1581F & 1587F} Poland.

154.19. Pole means in the Windisch [Slavonic] language flat, and this is why this country is called Polen, and hence in Latin Polonia, for it is all flat and level. This kingdom of Poland is situated between the area of Prussia in the North, Lithuania in the East, Hungary in the South and Silesia in the West. It is divided into greater and lesser Poland. In greater Poland you find the famous cities Guesna [Giezno] and Posnauia [Poznan]. Lesser Poland has Cracow on the river Wyxel [Weichsel](which traverses this kingdom), a big city where the king keeps court. The other cities are of less importance. Their houses are made or wood, mud and straw.
154.20. The land is wooded and full of rivers. It produces no wine, but its fields are fertile for corn. They drink beer. They have much cattle and game. It is full of honey and wax. They also dig much salt from the earth. In the mountains between this country and Hungary, called Tatri [Tatra] by its inhabitants, there are also copper and sulphur mines.
154.21. To this kingdom also belong Littau or Lithuania, Samogitia, Masovia, Volhinia, Podolia and Russia or Rutenia (since they are also called Red Russians) and all of Prussia, (except for the duchy there which has its own duke). Thus this king rules far and wide, namely from the East Sea to the sea Euxinus, which the Italians call Mar Maggiore [Black Sea].
154.22. Lithuania is very marshy and wooded, so that it is difficult to reach in summer because of all the water, but in winter, when all the pools and moats have been frozen, and are covered with snow all over, one can easily travel by sleigh, and thus there is much trade. It does not have many cities and villages, and it is not well populated. The wealth of the inhabitants consists of cattle and furs of wild animals, of which there are plenty. Also wax and honey. They do not know money. They speak the Windisch language.
154.23. The capital here is Vilna, a bishopric, not very well built because the houses are scattered all around, with gardens and orchards in between. In this land there are wild oxen, like there was one here in Antwerp in the year 1570, with a high back, long manes around its neck and shoulders, a beard under its chin, and bulging eyes. In High German it is called Urochs, in Lithuanian Suber, in Latin Bisontes. From Lithuania comes a quadruped which we call Eland in High German Elend, and in Lithuanian Loß.
154.24. Samogitia (which means low lands in their language) has no walled or established castles, for they live in huts. The inhabitants are tall, which is hard to understand (as Sigismundus Herbersteyn says) for the parents have very tall sons or very small ones, but nothing in between. They are a poor people. Their huts are made of wood and straw, and are bell-shaped, with a hole at the top where the smoke escapes of the fire they make. Around this fire sit the husband, wife, children, lads and maidens {not in 1572/1573G{and also their cattle}not in 1572/1573G } and all their furniture is all around.
154.25. Masovia is a fief of the kingdom of Poland, and its capital is Varsovia [Warsawa]. Here they make the best mede, {1572/1574F, 1581F & 1587F only{served as a drink}1572/1574F, 1581F & 1587F only}. Volhinia is a wonderfully fertile land with many cities and castles. Luczko is its capital. Podolia has such a fertile soil that a plough left in the field will be covered with grass within three days, and is hard to find back. There is also much honey here. The main city is Camyenetz [Kamenetz].
154.26. Russia has many horses, oxen and sheep, and precious furs. They usually drink mede. Wine is imported from Hungary, Moldavia and Walachia. About Prussia we have written on its own map}1571/1573D, 1572/1573G, 1572/1574F, 1581F & 1587F end here}.

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