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2016-03-10 12:31:37
MERCATOR, Gerard and HONDIUS, Jodocus
Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio
Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, 1623. unbound. Map. Engraving. Image measures 14.5" x 15.5". This fine antique map is the first printed map dedicated to the Arctic Circle and the North Polar regions. Derived from an inset of the Arctic regions in Mercator's great 1569 world map, where he first introduced his revolutionary projection, here the scope is extended to the latitude of 60 degrees to enable the depictions of the Frobisher and Davis' attempts to search for the North West and North East Passages.<br><br>California curiously appears north of the Strait of Anian and is labeled as Spanish Territory. Across from Anian on the Asian coast, Mercator labels the land of Gog. This most likely references the regions of Gog and Magog appearing in the Hebrew Bible or to the legend of horse-riding barbarians from near the Don River and the Sea of Azov, locked up by Alexander the Great behind gates surrounded by the 'Caspian' or the Caucasus Mountains.<br><br>Perhaps the most intriguing feature here is the mapping of the North Pole. Since no explorers at this time had made it anywhere near the North Pole, Mercator based his depiction on the legend that a large rock (the Rupes Nigra) stood at the pole in the center of a whirlpool known as Polynya, or Open Polar Sea. Mercator is believed to be referencing the Inventio Fortunata, the lost book dating from the 14th century which describes the North Pole as a magnetic island surrounded by a giant whirlpool and four continents. The continents are separated by rivers through which warm water from the surrounding oceans flowed. Although Mercat … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Argosy Book Store
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