Fantastical $7,000 Dutch map depicting Julius Caesar auctions online

Dutch engraver and cartographer Henricus Hondius II (1597-1651) - whose father, Jodocus Hondius, is also no stranger to the auction block - is starring in Old World Auctions' online historic maps sale. Bidding is set to close next Wednesday (September 1).

Dated to 1430, this baroque-style world map by Hondius II was created when he updated the Mercator Atlas in response to competition from the Blaeu publishing firm. The map features hemispheres surrounded by captivating representations of the four elements.

These include "fire", represented by Apollo driving the Sun's chariot across the sky; Aeros, the goddess of Air, surrounded by clouds and birds; Mother Earth, surrounded by animals and the earth's bounty; and Water represented by a Siren and sea monsters.

Four portraits fill the map's corners, of Julius Caesar, Claudius Ptolemy, Jodocus Hondius and Gerard Mercator.

Henricus Hondius's Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac
Hydrographica Tabulaigned


Between the map's hemispheres is a celestial globe depicting the sun at the top and a scene of Europa receiving tribute from Asia, America and Africa with a figure of the moon at bottom. Hondius has beautifully linked his scenes together with a rich garland of fruit.

But just as interesting are the cartographer's representations of various geographical areas. These include California as an island; the Dutch discoveries on the Carpentaria coast of Australia; and Queen Anne's forland (Baffin Island) on the northeast coast of Canada.

A closer look also reveals that the faint outline of Terra Australis Incognita is still in evidence. Latin for "the unknown land of the South", Terra Australis Incognita was a hypothesised continent which appeared on European maps from the 15th to the 18th century.

With Latin text on its verso, this first state, hand-coloured map is graded "B" for quality and will appear in Old World Auctions' online sale with a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-7,000. Bids open at $3,500.


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