#323 Aurelius' World Map

Title: Aurelius World Map
Date: 1514
Author: Cornelius Aurelius

Description:  As described by R.W. Shirley, this crude map, not drawn on any recognizable projection, is best described as a free adaptation of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map (#310), but with a great deal of distortion in all directions.  But, of course, that’s its charm. This curiously attractive map shows the world surrounded by water and embracing a large number of islands, both real and fictitious, without regard for their specific shape or location.   The southern part of the American continent, named America, is as close to Africa as is Europe across the Straits of Gibraltar.

In spite of these imperfections, the map is an interesting example of early Dutch woodcutting, giving a non-scientific representation of the world according to current knowledge. The landmasses are totally saturated with place-names, rivers and mountains. “Pulls” from the woodblock were taken over many years and four different “states” of the map are known.

This is the oldest map printed in the Netherlands by Jan Sievers (1514) and was later bound into the Cronycke van Hollandt Zeelandt en Vrieslant van Cornelius Aurelius uitgegeven in Leiden door Jan Sievers in 1517.

  1. Dated 1514 and published by Jan Severszoon, currently at the University Library, Gröningen.

  2.  Slightly revised but still dated 1514, a copy is in the 1517 edition of the Cronycke in the Library of the College of St. Aloysius, The Hague.

  3.  Dated 1529, in the Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague.

  4.  Undated, with a re-cut cartouche signifying publication by Johannes Severus [a.k.a. Zepherinus], in Amsterdam; now in the British Library attributed to 1535, but an earlier date has been suggested.

Locations:  University Library, Gröningen, Special Collections

                    Library of the College of St. Aloysius, The Hague

                    Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague

                     BL Maps C.2.a.2, British Library, London

Size:  36.5 x 50.5 cm


*Shirley, R.W., The Mapping of the World, Plate 39, #37, p. 42.


Last Updated: 27 April 2018



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