From the treasury
From Mantua to Utrecht

Ms. 764 of Utrecht University Library is a remarkable work. It contains the texts of classical Roman inscriptions, written in a careful hand and with subtle decorations. The magnificent title page and binding with imprint are eye-catchers as well. Apparently, much information was already known about this Italian humanistic manuscript. However, on second thoughts matters are more complicated than was thought.

Recently digitized
The first world atlas: the ‘Theatrum orbis terrarum’ by Abraham Ortelius

The Brabant map maker and geographer Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) would have gained only a small position within the cartographic discipline, if he didn’t conceive the pioneer’s idea to compose the best actual maps in a uniform format in a book. His modern world atlas ‘Theatrum orbis terrarum’, of which the first edition appeared in 1570, was compiled and printed in Antwerp, at the time the very heart of the worldwide economy, but also of commercial cartography. Ortelius’s atlas became a great success, setting the trend for a rich trade in maps and atlases for the centuries to come.