17th Century Maps, Copperplate, Engraving, Maps, World Maps

Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula.


A good example of Claes Janszoon Visscher’s “Twelve Caesars” world map, this copper plate engraving is one of four world maps with decorative panels issued by Visscher between 1614 and 1652.  This version of the map was first published in 1639, based on Mercator’s projection, and in the classic Dutch style of Blaeu and Janson. Our example is the final state of that map, dated 1652.

The map is embellished with scenes of twelve Roman emperors mounted on horses in full battle gear – thus often called the “Twelve Caesars Map.”  In each corner are allegorical representations of the four continents. Along the sides are six costumed figures showing the mode of dress in each of regions (Europeans, Asiatici, Africani, North Americans, South Americans, and Magellanici), and including eight city views (Rome, Amsterdam, Jerusalem, Tunis, Mexico City, Havana, Pernambuco, and Bahio Todos Santos).

The cartography is very up to date for the period, showing the discovery of Hudson’s Bay and the course of the St. Lawrence River.  The Straits of le Maire and Magellan are shown with the massive Magellanica Sive Terra Australis Incognita (unknown Southern lands still prominently appearing). The title “Beach” is shown as the northernmost portion of the continent that would  become Australia. The engraver of the map is not known, but Shirley* surmises that it is likely the work of Pieter Goos.

We invite you to view this map in person at our Georgetown gallery. More information, including the maps condition and price, cane be found on our website here

*Shirley, R.”Mapping of the World,” #350.


3 thoughts on “Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula.

  1. Christina says:

    I have one of these, (Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula,) Autore.N.I.Piscator. Engraved on copper I believe. I have searched the net, sooo many images to match. But there is not one which matches the DATE. 1639. Nor is this date mentioned. Can you explain this? Dare I think I have one which no one knows of? The date is at the bottom right just above Titus and Domitianus. It looks something like this:- ijRcber excudibat 1639.
    Just the minute consistently detailed engraving through out, is astonishingly brilliant.
    Can you advise?
    I look forward to any information you can provide.
    Many thanks
    44-079 671 64 661

    • Sounds like you have an impression of the first state of Claes Janszoon Visscher’s “Twelve Caesars” world map, titled “Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula”. The version shown in our blog post was published in 1652, but the map itself but it was first published in 1639. It was fairly common for popular maps to be published in various states. In each new state, the engraver would update the printing plate with new information or decorative detail.
      As for value, it is impossible to tell what your map is worth without seeing it in person. Value depends on authenticity, condition, coloring, margins, and more. However if you do have an original, it is valuable, so I suggest taking it to a map dealer or an appraiser near you to have it authenticated and valued.
      If you have any more questions, please email us at info@oldprintgallery.com. Best of luck!

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