Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 166


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, 1595 Latin, 1601 Latin, 1602 German, 1602 Spanish, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612 Latin and 1609/1612/1641 Spanish editions:

166.1. {1608/1612I only{EAST}1608/1612I only}{1570L(ABC){INDIA.

166.2. That there is hardly a better and more famous country in the world, nor larger, comprised under one and the same name than INDIA is something that almost all writers unanimously agree on. It received its name from the river Indus. The entire area of India is confined in the judgment of Strabo and Plinius as follows: in the West it has the river Indus, in the North the great mountain range Taurus [Himalaya], in the East the Eastern archipelago, {1606E only{in which you find those most famous islands of the Moluccas,}1606E only} and in the South it has the Indian sea. In the middle it is divided into two large provinces by the river Ganges. Whatever is Westwards of the river Ganges is called India on this side of the Ganges. Whatever lies Eastwards is India beyond the Ganges. In the Holy Script this is called EVILAT {1606E only{or Havila}1606E only}. Some writers call it SERIA, {1606E only{the country of the Seres,}1606E only} {1608/1612I only{and also Dom}1608/1612I only} as Dominicus Niger asserts. Mr. Paulus Venetus {1608/1612I instead{Marco Polo}1608/1612I instead} seems to divide it into three provinces, the Greater, the Lesser and the Middlemost which he says they also call Abasia.
166.3. This whole country in general is most fortunate, not only for its multitude of peoples {1595L, not in 1602G, 1602S & 1609/1612/1641S{(of which, as Herodotus writes, it is the most populous and richest country of any in the world)}1595L, not in 1602G, 1602S & 1609/1612/1641S} but also for its almost infinite number of towns and villages, as well as for its abundance of all kinds of commodities (excepting only brass and lead, if we may believe Plinius). It has very many rivers, and those are very wide. They irrigate many places, bringing forth from the moist soil under the powerful sun all kinds of things plentifully. It provides all the rest of the world with spices, {1606E only{pearls}1606E only} and precious stones, providing a greater supply of these commodities than any other country of the whole world.
166.4. Near to this country there are many excellent islands, which lie scattered over the main ocean, so that it may justly be termed World of Islands. But especially JAPAN, which Mr. Paulus Venetus {1608/1612I instead{Marco Polo)1608/1612I instead} calls Zipangri, {1606E only{situated in this sea, is worth noting}1606E}. Since it is not many years ago that it was known to few only, I think it is not amiss to say something about it here. It is a very large and wide island, and has almost the same latitude as Italy. Its inhabitants are much inclined towards religion, learning and wisdom, and are most earnest searchers of the truth.
166.5. Nothing is more common among them than that they pray, which they do in their shrines in the same manner as we do. They have only one king, to whom they are subject, and they will bow to his requests. Yet, he also has someone above him, whom they call Voo, to whom the order of ecclesiastical matters and government of the church is exclusively committed. {not in 1588S{we can compare him aptly to the Pope, as their king to our emperor}not in 1588S}. To him these people commit the salvation of their souls. They worship only one god, who is portrayed with three heads, for which they cannot provide a reason. They baptise their children, and by fasting show penance, vexing their bodies. They give themselves the sign of the cross against the assaults of demons as we do, so that in religion and in their manner of living they seem to imitate the Christians. In spite of this, the order of the Jesuits do their utmost by labouring as hard as they can to imbue them wholly with Christianity.
166.6. Here are also the MOLUCCĂ, certain islands famous for their abundance of spices {1606E only{which they yearly harvest and export to all parts of the world}1606E only}. On these islands breeds the Manucodiatta, a small bird which we call the bird of paradise, {1606E only{a strange fowl that is not seen anywhere else}1606E only}. {1608/1612I only{It has been described by the knight Antonio Pigafetta in his travels around the world}1608/1612I only}. {1606E only{Nearer to the coast of India is}1606E only}. (Then there is) SUMATRA, {1606E only{or rather Samotra, for that is the way in which the king himself of the country writes it in his letters to his majesty}1606E only}. This island once was known to the ancients as TAPROBANA. There are also various other islands in this region {1606E only{of great fame and highly esteemed,}1606E only} such as Java Maior, Java Minor, Borneo, Timor &c. as you can see on the map, {1606E only{but we cannot in this place discuss everything in particular and exhaustively. As far as here, the religion of Mahomet is professed and from Barbary opposite Spain, all the way to these places the Arabic language is spoken and understood. The Moors from Marocco, Ambassadors to our late queen some five years ago, we saw and heard speak that language [Arabic] naturally, and their commissions, and patent letters were written in it as well.
166.7. From Achem in Samotra and from Bantam in Iava Minor our merchants recently brought letters to his highness which were so beautifully and ingeniously written in those characters and language [Arabic] that no one who has not seen it would be willing to believe it, particularly from so barbarous and rude a nation}1606E only}.
166.8. Ancient writers describing {1580/1589G, 1602G & 1603L instead{praising}1580/1589G, 1602G & 1603L instead} these Indies are Diodorus Siculus, Herodotus, Plinius, Strabo, Quintus Curtius and Arrianus in his life of Alexander the Great {1595L, not in 1602G{as well as Apuleius in his {not in 1608/1612I{first book of}not in 1608/1612I} Floridi. Much has been written, {not in 1602S & 1609/1612/1641S{but mostly fantasized}not in 1602S & 1609/1612/1641S}, by Dion Pruseus in his 35th oration}1595L, not in 1602G}. There is a letter from Alexander the Great to Aristoteles about the location of the Indies. As for contemporary writers, see {1608/1612I only{what the knight Antonio Pigafetta has written about it when he returned from the very long trip around the world which he made with the famous Magellaen, written in the French language, inserted in the first book of Ramusio's On Navigation}1608/1612I only}, Ludovicus Vartomannus, Maximilianus Transylvanus, Ioannes Barrius in his Asian Decades, {1574L{& CosmŠ Indopleutes, cited by Petrus Gyllius}1574L}. See [also] the Jesuits' Epistles, where you shall find many things concerning the discovery of the island of Japan. {1592L, not in 1602G{But if you want a full description of it, I suggest you take recourse to the twelfth book of Maffeius on Indian history}1592L, not in 1602G}. Ioannes Macer, a lawyer, has written three books on the history of India}1570L(ABC) & 1571L/1572GKoler end here} {1592L, not in 1602G{in which he has much on the isle of Java}1592L, not in 1602G}. {1573L(AB){Moreover, Castagnedo, a Spaniard, has written a discourse on the Indies in Spanish}1573L(AB), 1574, 1575L, 1579L(AB), 1580/1589G & 1602G end here}. {1584L{About the islands which lie scattered here over the ocean, read the twentieth book of the second volume of Gonsalvus Ferdinandus Ovetani, likewise written in Spanish}1584L, 1588S, 1592L, 1595L, 1601L, 1602S, 1603L, 1606E, 1609/1612L & 1609/1612/1641S end here; not in 1602G}{1608/1612I only{and about the navigations of the Dutch near Java, written in their language, and translated into Latin and Italian}1608/1612I only, which ends here}.

Text, vernacular version, translated from the 1571/1573 Dutch, 1572/1573 German, 1572/1574 French, 1581 French, 1587 French, 1598 French and 1598/1610/1613 Dutch editions:

166.9. {1571/1573D{India.

166.10. There is no larger area in the world comprised under one name than these Indies, nor a more noble land on the entire earth. For no country is more fertile, nor does one have a better climate, nor is there a country where the people live longer. No country has richer fruits, serving the necessities as well as the pleasures of human nature. These Indies fill the world with their precious stones, spices and fragrances. All handicrafts and arts have here reached their highest degree, so that here the art of printing has been in existence for one thousand years, as diligent writers describing the world testify, for instance the cosmographer Iohannes Barros in his Asia, as well as the Jesuits, who travel in this area intensively in our times, and exert themselves to convert its inhabitants to Christianity.
166.11. Nowhere else can you find such large and populous cities, or harbours, where there is more important trade of Merchandise, for which reason these Indies in old times as well as nowadays have been highly esteemed by writers. Thus one might say, (unless the location of paradise can be ascertained), that this entire area may be considered paradise on earth. Here in the sea there are many rich Islands, such as Samotra, both Iavas, the Moluccas &c, so that this sea by itself might be called a world of islands of its own.
166.12. But I have to say something in particular about the isle of Japan here, because few people know about it, as it has only been discovered in 1550 during our lifetime. Its inhabitants are very sharp-witted and devoted to wisdom; In their religion and ways of life they resemble Christianity in many respects. Nothing is more common for them than to say their prayers in their churches as we do. Their children are baptised, they punish their bodies very severely by fasting, and they bless themselves by making a cross to avert the temptations of the devil. They pray to one god only, whom they portray with three heads, but they cannot give a reason why.
166.13. They have a chief to whom they are all subjected, but he has another one above himself called Voo by them, who rules over matters concerning religion and spirituality, who might be compared to the pope, whereas the other one is like an emperor. About the Moluccas I also have to mention something, namely the spices which mostly reach us from there, and about a miraculous bird which we call bird of paradise called Manucodiatta by them, (meaning Gods little bird). These islands are five in number. Gilolo lies in the middle, the others around it.
166.14. The Spanish call their new world America also by the name the Indies, but wrongly. For these Indies derive their name from the principal river Indus traversing it, and should one be inclined to give America a name after its principal river, then it should be called Oreliana or Amasonia, rather than India. But the reason why this country was misnamed by them is (in my view) the following: They have seen that all writers who have described the world have called the part of Asia extending from the river Indus Eastwards to the end and ultimate borders until the sea India, and they, coming from the West, searching for new lands, and finding them in the East, could not but think that this must be the very edge of Asia, which by the writers was called the Indies (as we remarked), unaware as they were that between this newly found land and Asia there was another large sea, as they later realised and which they have called Mare del Zur}1571/1573D, 1572/1573G, 1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F, 1598F & 1598/1610/1613D end here}.

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