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Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Theatre de l'univers : contenant les cartes de tout le monde, avec une brieve declaration d'icelles
This is a French version of Abraham Ortelius’s 'Theatrum orbis terrarum'. Ortelius was one of the leading humanists of the Low Countries and was acquainted with many European intellectuals. 'Theatrum orbis terrarum' was incredibly successful, despite being the most expensive book produced in the second half of the sixteenth century. Interest in it was extended by the continued issue of updated versions. Produced during the European Age of Discovery, new editions reflected new geographic knowledge, and each version contained new maps and new information. It is considered to be the first modern atlas. The opening double-page spread of the world, engraved by Francis Hogenberg, is among the most widely reproduced early-modern maps. It reflects contemporary theories about what remained undiscovered: Ortelius believed there to be a large southern continent which he named ‘Terra Australis Nondum Cognita’, or ‘Southern Land Not Yet Known’.