Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca

Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca – CM Editores – BG/52041 – Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)

Amsterdam (Netherlands) β€” 1607

Gerardus Mercator and the revolution of cartography: the "world's first atlas" in the splendidly colored edition from Salamanca with 146 double-page illustrations

  1. The magnum opus of Gerhard Mercator (1512–94) masterfully combined scientific geographical insights with refined art

  2. He is considered to be the eponym of the modern β€œatlas” book and made an incalculable contribution to navigation

  3. His greatest achievement was the invention of Mercator Projection, which was first recorded in 1569 on a 21-sheet wall map of the world

Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca

Facsimile Copy Available!
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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca

The Mercator Atlas was made by the famous scholar Gerhard Mercator and published in 1595, shortly after his death. It is the first geographically correct map series to bear the name β€œatlas”. The work was one of immeasurable significance for the discovery of modern navigation. This historic Universidad de Salamanca houses a particularly fine 1607 edition of the atlas that was printed in Amsterdam.

Mercator Atlas

The Universidad de Salamanca was founded in 1134 and is one of the oldest universities in the world. It shelters a splendid 1607 edition of the atlas created by the German scholar Gerhard Mercator, which is one of the most important cartographic manuscripts that was ever produced. It consists of 146 geographically correct and enchantingly-colored double-page maps representing all the known regions of the world.

The Scholar Gerhard Mercator

Gerhard Mercator was a geographer and cartographer, who was already seen as the Ptolemy of his time during his lifetime and was famous as far as the Arab-Islamic world. He was a cosmographer, theologian, and philosopher of great significance in the 16th century and set standards as a typographer. He achieved special significance through his efforts in the field of cartography. He developed an isogonal manner of representation that became known as Mercator Projection and retains great significance for travel by sea and by air to this day.

A Significant Map Series

Mercator’s map series, the first to bear the name β€œatlas”, can be designated as a historical-cultural achievement. The modern method of depicting the geographic regions of the world substantially contributed to the overcoming of the medieval world view. Mercator gave cartography its mathematical basis. He died in 1494 as a distinguished and wealthy man, numerous statues and monuments pay tribute to his works in his hometown of Duisburg. His amazing world atlas is probably the famous master’s greatest achievement and was published after his death by his son Rumold in 1595, with other editions published in the years to come, including the specimen at hand from 1607.


Alternative Titles
Atlas sive Cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura
Atlas de Mercator
Mercator Weltatlas
Mercator Atlas
Size / Format
680 pages / 43.0 Γ— 30.0 cm
146 double-page maps
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca – CM Editores – BG/52041 – Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)
CM Editores – Salamanca, 2011
Detail Picture

Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca

Bern and its Environs

Comfortably and securely seated within a large loop in the Aare River, the city of Bern is shown here surrounded by the Swiss Plateau and flanked by three large lakes. The map clearly shows how the various tributaries make their way from these lakes into the Aare, which is in turn a tributary of the Rhine. The landscape is dotted with various smaller cities, towns, and villages marked in red, but its precision as the world’s first true atlas is evident in the grid marks in the margins.

Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca – CM Editores – BG/52041 – Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)
Single Page

Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca

Author Portrait

This woodcut by the famous engraver Frans Hogenberg depicts Gerardus Mercator, the author of this fantastic atlas and the most important cartographer of the 16th century. It is extremely detailed, especially with respect to his beard, hands, and the fall of folds in the sleeve, and is wonderfully colored. According to the inscription, it depicts Mercator at age 62 and was completed in 1574.

Mercator is shown holding a globe, the production of which was a primary source of his income for most of his life. He holds a compass in his right hand, the point of which is placed directly upon the North Pole – an allusion to medieval depictions of God as architect of the universe. The mandorla surrounding the portrait praises Mercator’s accomplishments.

Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca – CM Editores – BG/52041 – Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Atlas de Mercator

CM Editores – Salamanca, 2011
Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca – CM Editores – BG/52041 – Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)
Mercator Atlas - Codex Salamanca – CM Editores – BG/52041 – Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: CM Editores – Salamanca, 2011
Binding: Brown leather
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
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