Secundae Partis Asiae


Cartographer(s): Gerard & Cornelis de Jode
Date: 1593
Place: Antwerp
Dimensions: 54.5 x 39.5 cm (21.5 x 15.6 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

In stock

SKU: NL-00324 Category:

De Jode’s extraordinary map of Arabia — among the finest maps of the region on the market.


Based on Giacomo Gastaldi’s landmark 1561 map and engraved by Joannes & Lucas Van Deutecum, this is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular 16th century maps of Arabia. It covers an area of land stretching west-east from the West Nile Delta to the Maldives, and south-north from the Horn of Africa to Damascus.

The geography of the map is a signifiant improvement over earlier Ptolemaic productions, especially the width of the Red Sea and the shape and orientation of the Persian Gulf. The ‘S’ curve of the Straight of Hormuz is also a much more accurate reflection of reality. However, the topography of the interior of the Arabian Peninsula, still a great unknown for European mapmakers, is largely invented. This includes Ptolemaic legacies such as the mythical lake of Stag Lago, as well as newly fabricated mountain systems not delineated by Ptolemy.

The title box reads as follows:

Secundae partis Asiae: typus qua oculis subijciuntur itinera nautarum qui Calecutium Indiae mercandorum aromatum caufa fre quentant, ac eorum quoqz qui terrestri itinere ade unt Suacham, Laccam, in domino Praeto Iani, nec non eorum qui Aden et ormum inuifunt, et Balsaram quoque castrum, supra Euphratem fluuium situm, omnia suis gradibus subiecta, cum longitudinis tum latitudinis / Iacobo Castaldo pedemontano authore; Gerhardus de Iode excudebat

Verso text: Latin. Watermark: two crossed arrows.


Gerard & Cornelis de Jode

Gerard de Jode (1511–91) was a Dutch printer and mapmaker born in Nijmegen but working from the metropolis of Antwerp. One of the most competent and reputable Dutch cartographers of the 16th century, he did not fare so well business-wise, as the competition was stark and his mercantile sense perhaps not so shrewd. In 1547 he was accepted into the Guild of St Luke’s in Antwerp and began working as a publisher and printer. De Jode quickly won recognition as an expert mapmaker in a city renowned for its cartographic output. His most outstanding achievement was a magnificent two-volume atlas titled Speculum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1578. The idea was to create an atlas that could compete with Abraham Ortelius’ hugely popular Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published to great acclaim only eight years earlier. Despite De Jode’s status and reputation, however, his atlas was not a commercial success. The lack of circulation in 1578 has a lasting legacy today in that it is now one of the rarest and sought-after atlases, with only about a dozen copies known to exist.

Despite this lack of commercial success (or perhaps because of it), Gerard began working on a new and revised atlas. For this task, he recruited his son, Cornelis De Jode (1568-1600), as an assistant, and together, they compiled another innovative atlas titled Speculum Orbis Terrae, which was published in 1593. Sadly, Gerard de Jode died of old age less than two years before its publication, but perhaps he was spared the embarrassment of another commercial failure. Even though the new atlas contained both Gerard’s original maps, it also included several key revisions and a range of entirely new maps compiled by Cornelis.

Like their 1578 predecessors, these 1593 maps are also scarce, especially since after Cornelius’ death, the engraving plates were sold to his competitor, J. B. Vrients (who also owned the Ortelius plates), who assured the complete work was never published again. Thus while myriad editions of Ortelius were published and survive today, only the 1578 and 1593 form the legacy of the De Jode family.

Condition Description

Reinforced centerfold, overall excellent. Wide margins.


Ankary #20.

Karrow, Robert W., Abraham Ortelius, and Leo Bagrow. Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and Their Maps: Bio-bibliographies of the Cartographers of Abraham Ortelius, 1570. Chicago: Published for the Newberry Library by Speculum Orbis Press, 1993., 30/91.2.

Tibbetts, G. R. Arabia in Early Maps. Ney York, NY: Oleander Maps, 1978, 38.