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Book/Printed Material Theater of the World. Théâtre de l'Univers

About this Item


  • Theater of the World.

Other Title

  • Théâtre de l'Univers


  • The Flemish scholar and geographer Abraham Ortelius (1527--98) published the first edition of his Theatrum orbis terrarum (Theater of the world) in 1570. Containing 53 maps, each with a detailed commentary, it is considered the first true atlas in the modern sense: a collection of uniform map sheets and accompanying text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. The 1570 edition was followed by editions in Latin, Dutch, French, German, and Spanish, with an ever-increasing number of maps. It is not known who engraved and printed the maps, but for printing the typographical parts of the atlases Ortelius commissioned a series of Antwerp printers: initially Aegidius Coppens van Diest, followed by Aegidius Radeus in 1575, and in 1579--89 Christopher Plantin (1520--89). Shown here is the French edition of 1587, which contains the same maps as the Latin edition of 1584. For printing the texts, Plantin charged Ortelius 177 florins in June-July of 1587. Plantin was an influential Renaissance humanist and printer. A native of France, he settled in Antwerp around 1549, where he worked first as a bookbinder and, in 1555, established his own publishing house, De Gulden Passer (The golden compasses). Plantin produced many important religious, humanistic, and scientific books, including the famous Biblia Polyglotta (Polyglot Bible) of 1568--73.


  • Ortelius, Abraham, 1527-1598 Creator.

Created / Published

  • Antwerp : Christopher Plantin, 1587.


  • -  1584 to 1587
  • -  Memory of the World
  • -  World maps


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 112 folios.
  • -  Original resource at: Museum Plantin-Moretus/Print Room.
  • -  Content in French.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666800

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Ortelius, Abraham, Creator. Theater of the World. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1587. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Ortelius, A. (1587) Theater of the World. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Ortelius, Abraham, Creator. Theater of the World. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1587. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.