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Map of Persia

Map of Persia

From Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum orbis terrarum, Antwerp, Coppens Diest, 1574

State Library of Victoria, RARESEF 912 OR8T, map follows fol 74r

In 1570, Abraham Ortelius published his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, generally considered the world’s first modern atlas. It contained 70 maps, originally drawn by a range of noted cartographers and re-presented by Ortelius at a uniform size.

The map of Persia, with its many identified place names and landforms, indicates the extent to which Persia was known in the West by this time. This information was drawn from classical sources and histories, and accounts by travellers to the region. For example, Ortelius’s map of Russia, which includes areas of Persia, was drawn from a map by the English traveller Anthony Jenkinson, who had visited Russia and Persia a decade earlier.