Willem Blaeu Student of Tycho Brahe Creates Stunning Map

In 1631, he unveiled his inaugural atlas, featuring around 60 maps accompanied by extensive texts. Among these maps, 13 were previously released by Blaeu, while an additional 37 copper plates acquired from Jodocus Hondius in 1629 augmented the atlas. Initially designated as the “Appendix,” this project aimed to complement the established atlases of Ortelius and Mercator. Within a year, it expanded into two parts, encompassing a total of 99 maps, and underwent further expansion and refinement in the ensuing years.

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This publication ignited a fierce rivalry between Blaeu’s firm and that of Hondius/Janssonius. The latter swiftly began reproducing maps obtained from Jodocus II, incorporating them into their editions of the renowned Mercator-Hondius atlases, thus initiating a trend of mutual replication. In 1634, the atlas underwent a name change to “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” (Theatre of the World), paying homage to Ortelius’ pioneering atlas of 1570. The first single-volume edition, in German, boasted 159 maps, consolidating its status as a comprehensive atlas. Subsequent translations into Dutch, French, and Latin led to a renewed division into two parts, featuring approximately 208 maps. This expansive atlas underwent further augmentation and refinement, evolving into an ever-growing multi-part compilation.

Following Willem Jansz.’s passing, the atlas continued to evolve, eventually earning the moniker Atlas Maior, Grooten Atlas, or Geographiae Blavianae. Throughout the 17th century, it emerged as one of the most expansive and lavish publications in cartography. Editions comprised up to 14 distinct volumes and contained around 600 maps, solidifying its reputation as a pinnacle of cartographic achievement.

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