Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Nova Aegypti Tabula

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Article ID AF013
Artist Blaeu (1571-1638)
Joan Guilliemus Blaeu was the eldest son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), and was probably born in Alkmaar in the province of Noord-Holland in the final years of the 16th century. He was brought up in Amsterdam, and studied law at the University of Leiden before going into partnership with his father in the 1630s. Although his father Willem had cartographic interests, having studied under the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and having manufactured globes and instruments, his primary business was as a printer. It was under the control of Joan that the Blaeu printing press achieved lasting fame by moving towards the printing of maps and expanding to become the largest printing press in Europe in the 17th century. By the 1660s the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (or Atlas Maior as it had became known by this time) had expanded to between 9 and 12 volumes, depending on the language. With over 3,000 text pages and approximately 600 maps, it was the most expensive book money could buy in the later 17th century. The translation of the text from Latin into Dutch, English, German, French, and Spanish for several volumes created enormous work for those involved in typography and letterpress activities. It is estimated that over 80 men must have been employed full-time in the Blaeu printing house in Bloemgracht, not including engravers who worked elsewhere, with over 15 printing presses running simultaneously, and in 1667 a second press was acquired at Gravenstraat. At the same time as producing the Atlas Maior, Blaeu was also publishing town plans of Italy, maps for globes, and other volumes. At its peak the Blaeu press managed to produce over 1 million impressions from 1,000 copper plates within four years.
Title Nova Aegypti Tabula
Year ca. 1640
Description Map of Egypt.
Egypt: The ancient Egyptian country name Kemet means "Black Land" and refers to the fertile soil of the Nile Valley in contrast to the "Red Land" of the neighboring deserts. The European terms Egypt, engl. Egypt comes from the Latin Aegyptus and thus ultimately from the ancient Greek Aigypto. The Copts claim to be the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. From their name came the Greek Aigyptos, which became Egypt in German. Islamic Arabs conquered the Nile valley around 640; From now on Egypt was dominated by changing power centers - Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo. Under the Umayyads (661–750), Arab tribes settled in the fertile plains and from then on determined the cultural appearance of Egypt. With the coming to power of Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty (1171–1249), Cairo became the center of Muslim resistance to the Christian crusades. Around 1250 the palace guard, which was made up of Mamluks, originally mostly Turkish military slaves, rose and took over. At the end of the 13th century, the Mamluks destroyed the last Crusader states on Asian soil. Even after Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1517, administration remained in their hands. The economic decline resulting from the discovery of the sea route to India (1498) made Egypt one of the poorest provinces of the Ottoman Empire. It was not until the landing of the French expeditionary force under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 that the Ottoman rule ended. When the French had to abandon their Oriental campaign after the British Admiral Nelson won at Abukir in the same year, the Albanian officer Muhammad Ali Pasha used the situation to seize power (1805–1849). He and his successors were able to achieve a certain independence under Ottoman rule, pursued an expansionary policy and initiated the history of modern Egypt.
Place of Publication Amsterdam
Dimensions (cm)44 x 52,5
ConditionVery good
Coloringoriginal colored
TechniqueCopper print

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