Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 5


Texts: 2 versions. The first, scholarly text has been translated from the 1584 Latin, 1588 Spanish, 1592 Latin, 1595 Latin, 1601 Latin, 1602 German, 1602 Spanish, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612/1641 Spanish and 1609/1612 Latin edition; the second, vernacular text comes from the 1587 French, 1598/1610/1613 Dutch and the 1598 French editions:

5.1. {1584L{EUROPE

5.2. Why Europe should be called as it is, and who was the first author of this name, has never been revealed by anybody; unless, says Herodotus in his fourth book, we should think that the whole region accepted its name from Europa Tyria {1602G only{daughter of the king of Phoenicia}1602G only}{1606E only{daughter to the king of Epyrus}1606E only}. Plinius calls it most beautiful and the nurse of the people who were victorious over all other nations of the world; thus it is compared to Asia and Africa, not for its size, but for its power. It is certain that this part of the world is most plentifully inhabited, is for its multitude of nations inferior to neither of the other continents.
5.3. The Northern and the Western shores of this continent are washed by the ocean; the South coast is separated from Africa by the Mediterranean Sea. Then Eastwards, its shores are washed by the gan sea (now called Archipelago) by the Black Sea (named at this time Mar Maggiore), by the lake Motis Paludis (now termed Mar della Zabacche) [Sea of Asow], by the river Tanais (commonly called Don) and by the Isthmus {1606E only{or straits of the main land,}1606E only} which is from the source of this river directly to the Northern Ocean; thus it is separated from Asia, according to the opinion of Glareanus. Therefore, it has the shape of a peninsula {1606E only{(which means a place on earth almost separated and cut off from the mainland, and almost entirely surrounded by water)}1606E only} as one can see on the map itself. Its capital Rome once dominated the earth.
5.4. Its regions, as they are now called, consist of Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Slavonia, Greece, Hungary, Poland with Lithuania, Moscovia, or rather Russia, and that peninsula which contains Norway, Sweden and Gotland. Among its isles, the first place is due to England {1606E instead{Britanny containing}1606E instead}{1606E only {and Scotland}1606E only}; then follow Ireland, Greenland, Friesland {1606E only{and Iceland,}1606E only} all situated in the main ocean. In the Mediterranean sea we find Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Candia [Crete], Maiorca, Minorca, Corfu, Negroponte {1608/1612I only{Metelino}1608/1612I only} and others of less importance, the specific names and locations of which one can see on the map.
5.5. This Europe of ours, besides the Roman Empire which is held in reverence all over the world, has more than twenty-eight kingdoms, [not in 1602G & 1606E{all of them steeped in Christianity}not in 1602G & 1606E}, including those fourteen which Damianus Goes already counts in Spain alone). This will allow one to estimate the worthiness of this region. It is a place extraordinary fruitful, of a temperate nature, and the weather is very mild. In all sorts of grain, wines, and in its abundance of wood, it is inferior to none, but comparable to the best of others.
5.6. It is so delightful, has such stately cities, towns and villages {1602G only{and markets}1602G only} that for the courage of its people and nations, although it may be less in size than other continents, yet it might well be considered, as has indeed been done by all ancient writers, as superior to all other parts of the world, and has always been well-populated. Most renowned has it also become because of the Macedonian Empire, and the great dominance of the Romans. The praise of this Europe one may read in Strabo, who in his third book, and seven books following, has described it in the most elegant manner. Also consult other ancient geographers.
5.7. Among the more recent writers endeavouring to describe it are Volaterranus, Sebastian Mnster, Dominicus Niger, and Georgius Rithaimerus, in their geographies. But Pius the second, Christopher Cella and Anselmus, his brother, have described it in particular.
5.8. Various notes about all of Europe such as recorded distances between places, have appeared in book form written by Cherubin Stella, Ioannes Herbaceus, and Georgius Meyerus. Something similar has been done by William Gratarolus in the end of his book, which is entitled De regimine iter agentium,}1584L, 1588S, 1592L, 1595L, 1601L, 1602G, 1602S, 1603L, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612/1641S and 1609/1612L end here} {1602G & 1606E only{or A guide for travellers}1602G & 1606E only, which end here}.

Now the vernacular text of the 1587 French, 1598/1610/1613 Dutch and 1598 French edition is presented:

5.9. {1587F{Europe.

5.10. This is the part of the world which we now call [that of] Christianity, although the Christian religion there in some places has unfortunately been eradicated by the tyranny of the Turks. Among the parts of the world it is the least extended one, yet it has been considered the best.
Next to the Holy Roman Empire, (which empire is still the first of all in dignity and formerly used to be the first in power and reputation), it now has 28 Christian kingdoms. The main and most important regions of this Europe (starting in the West, passing the South and East and ending in the North) are Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Slavonia, Greece, Hungary, Poland with Lithuania, Moscovia or Russia, and the Northern part, once called Scandia, in which you find Norway, Sweden and a part of Denmark.
5.11. The islands belonging to Europe are in the first place the island once called Albion, which is now England and Scotland; [then] Ireland, Friesland, Iceland and Greenland, all located in the large Northern sea. The islands in the Mediterranean are Sicily, Candia [Crete], Corsica, Sardinia, Maiorca, and Minorca, Negroponte, Malta, Corfu, Stalimene, Metelin, Sio and some smaller islands in the Archipelago and other waters.
5.12. On the whole it is a temperate and therefore fertile continent, everywhere more densely populated than the other parts of the world, and beset with wonderful cities. Its capital is (and always has been) Rome, known in all times and places.
5.13. Its inhabitants are always, more than all other peoples, of sharp wit and sturdy body, which has caused them to have subjected almost the whole world, at least as far as it was known to them, as became clear for the first time in the Macedonian empire through Alexander the Great, but after that mainly through the Roman empire.
5.14. And nowadays [it is prominent] through the king of Spain, {not in 1587F & 1598F{Philippus}not in 1587F & 1598F}, our formidable lord, and the king of Portugal, who together rule the four continents of the world. Thus it seems that the inhabitants of this part of the world are born with the natural gift {not in 1598/1610/1613D{and aptitude}not in 1598/1610/1613D} to govern the other parts}1587F, 1598F & 1598/1610/1613D end here}.

Bibliographical sources


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