Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 84

Text, scholarly version, translated from 1570L(ABC), 1571L, 1573L(AB), 1574L, 1575L, 1579L(AB), and 1580/1589G editions:

84.1. {1570L(AC){Denmark.

84.2. Take the following description of Denmark from Saxo Grammaticus. {1574L & 1575L only{The borders of this region are limited partly by the sun, and partly by the waves of the sea in an ever changing way; they have a narrow sea in between which it now curves in a certain way, and then forces its way in through narrow straits, creating various islands}1574L & 1575L only}}. As it is, the Danish archipelago is intersected by rivers and few parts of solid land, for it has been split by the waves into various straits in oblique lines. Of these parts, looking at its size or its beginnings, JUTLAND takes priority in the kingdom of Denmark. Being in the first position, Jutland is most extended in its location, reaching all the way to the borders of Germany.
84.3. It is separated from its embrace by the river Eider, and it extends by broadening towards the North to the coast of the Nordic sea. In this gulf there is an inlet which is called Limfjord and which is so teeming with fish that it seems to yield as much food for the inhabitants as all the fields of the whole country together. Friesland the Lesser also borders on this country. From Jutland's extension towards the low plains, and declining fields, it turns around an inlet. Because of the benefits of the ocean surrounding it, this land yields a great store of corn. It is debated whether the force of the coming and receding tides yields danger or profit for the inhabitants. For when through the force of a storm the coastal lakes, which tend to accommodate the waves of the sea, have overflowed their boundaries, such a enormous flood of water tends to inundate the country that it sometimes not only spoils the produce of the land, but also drowns its inhabitants and their belongings.
84.4. Next to Jutland, there is turning towards the East the island of Fyn, which is separated from the mainland by narrow sea straights. Like Fyn looks towards Jutland in the West, it sees Sjælland in the East, which deserves praise because of its remarkable abundance of things, useful for mans life. Being the most pleasant part of all areas of this region, it is considered to be the centre of Denmark, being equidistant from its utmost borders. The interruption of the intervening sea separates its Eastern part from the West of Scåne, a sea, which yearly tends to fill the nets of the fishermen with the most abundant catch imaginable.
84.5. For it is true that the entire bay tends to be filled with such multitudes of fish, that it is sometimes hardly possible to release a stranded boat when rowing with the greatest exertions. And this fish is not caught by artifice, but simply by hand. But Halland {1580/1589G instead{Holland}1580/1589G instead} and Blekinge which extend from the land of Skåne like two branches extend from the trunk of a tree, are connected to Gotland and Norway by the extension of a long curved line, and various intervening inlets. So far for Saxo Grammaticus. See also Albertus Crantzius and Sebastian Münster {not in 1573L(A) and later{who also provides a description by Petrus Artopœus of Pomerania of which you can see the border on this map}not in 1573L(A) and later}.
84.6. {1573L(A){The Norwegian Kingdom and}1573L(A)} the island of Gotland is/are subject to the king of Sweden {1573L(A) and later instead{Denmark}1573L(A) and later instead}. {not in 1573L(A) and later{It resorts under the bishop of Linköping}not in 1573L(A) and later. {1573L(A){The Danes also rule (if we may believe Marcus Jordanus on his Map of Denmark) over the islands of Greenland, Iceland, Hetland, Faeroer and the Orkneys. But the Orkneys are in fact a dukedom under the kingdom {1580/1589G instead{duchy}1580/1589G instead} of Scotland, as we observed earlier. According to Olaus the isle of Gotland belongs to the kingdom of Sweden}1573L(A)}.
Its land {1573L(A) has instead{The isle of Gotland}1573L(A) instead} is suitable for cattle, horses, and cows. There is also much hunting and fishing. It is rich in marble, and all kinds of necessities for man. On this island is Visby, a prominent city, and once most celebrated among the merchant cities of Europe. There are still marble ruins, testifying about its glorious past. It is still renowned today because of an abbey for Benedictans, in which you find a library with some 2000 authors and old codices. These things come from Olaus Magnus and Iacobus Zieglerus}1570L(ABC), 1571L, 1573L(AB), 1574L, 1575L, 1579L(AB) & 1580/1589G end here}.

Text, vernacular version, translated from the 1571/1573 Dutch, 1572/1573 German, 1572/1574 French & 1581 French editions:

84.7. {1571/1573D{Denmark.
84.8. The kingdom of Denmark has been split by the sea into many parts. For on its West side it has that part of Germany which has the shape of a fist pointing Northwards into the sea, and which is now called Jutland. And in the East it has a piece of the Nordic Countries where you find the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, and this is called Skåne and Halland. Between these borders on the mainland in the sea now called Belt (and once Codanus sinus) there are fifteen islands, as Cranzius reports, and these islands are Sjælland, Fyn, Lolland, Falster, Langeland, Femer, Bornholm etc. These two parts on the side together with these fifteen islands in between form the kingdom of Denmark.
84.9. Each of these parts we will shortly describe. Jutland (called Cimbrica Chersonesus by Ptolemæus and Cartris by Plinius) is surrounded by the sea except where it is attached to Holstein, separated from it by the river Eider, and comprises Schleswig and the Strandt-Friesen [beach Frisians] (as they are called). This Jutland extends as far as a six day journey. It has many excellent cities such as århus, Ribe, Viborg, Seby, all of them bishoprics, further Ringkøbing, Tønder, Horsens etc. Skåne is the best part, and the richest. It has the sea on two sides, and on the other side it is separated from Gotland by woods and a mountain range. Here is much trade in herring. The bishopric of Lund lies here, and other cities such as Halsingborg on the Sont, right opposite to Sjælland, where the sea called Sont is at its narrowest, and where all ships have to pay toll.
84.10. Sjælland is the best island and the most pleasant one, where also the king keeps court, namely in Copenhagen (or to say it properly Koopmanshaven [merchants' harbour]). Here is also Roskilde, a bishopric, where the kings of Denmark are buried. Then there is Fyn, with the bishopric Odense, etc., and more small islands just mentioned, which you can see on the map.
84.11. Norway also belongs to this kingdom of Denmark, and also (as noted by Marcus Jordanus on his map of Denmark, printed in Copenhagen) the islands Gotland, Greenland, Iceland, Faroer, Hetland and the Orkneys. Yet I think that nowadays the Orkneys resort under the crown of Scotland, and have the title of duchy, although they do not speak Scottish there but Gothic. It may be that they used to belong to the king of Denmark, and therefore still carry the title.
84.12. On this map you also see the isle of Gotland, which now is under the rule of the king of Sweden, whereas it used to be under the crown of Denmark. This is a fertile island, which has many horses and oxen. There are many pastures and there is much fishing, and splendid mines for marble. There is a city called Visby, once an outstanding and famous merchant city, where one can still see large and costly but dilapidated buildings made of marble, showing what it used to look like}1571/1573D, 1572/1573G, 1572/1574F & 1581F end here}.

Bibliographical sources

For questions/comments concerning this page, please e-mail