“Image of the Roman Empire”

Abraham Ortelius. From Theatrum orbis terrarium (The Theatre of the Whole World), 1606.

Image of Image of the Roman Empire

Frontispiece of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatre of the Whole World, the first modern world atlas.

Image of Image of the Roman Empire

Romanii imperii imago. Map of the ancient Roman Empire from Abraham Ortelius’ Theatre of the Whole World, the first modern world atlas.

(lower left cartouche) A short list of the origins, growth and culmination of the Roman Empire: At first, under the seven kings called Romulus, Servius etc., the Roman Empire extended for 243 years no further than to Portus and Ostia within a radius of 18 miles. However, under the consuls, in some cases including dictators, groups of ten men, and military tribunes, Italy has been conquered in 447 years all the way beyond the river Po; Africa and Spain have been subdued, Gallia and Britannia have been conquered; the Illyrians, Histrians, Liburnians and Dalmatians have been overrun; Greece has been invaded, the Macedonians have been beaten; wars have been waged against the Dardanians, the Mœsians and the Thracians; the Danube has been reached and the Romans have made their first conquests in Asia by winning Antiochus; When Mithridates had been defeated they occupied the kingdom of Pontus and at the same time the smaller province of Armenia, which was under his rule. The Romans proceeded to Mesopotamia and struck a treaty with the Parths. They entered into combat with the Carduanians, Saracenes and Arabs. They conquered all of Judea. They brought Cilicia and Syria under their rule. Finally, they invaded Egypt. However, when the emperors ruled, that is to say from the time of divine Augustus until the time of Theodosius the Great and his sons Honorius and Arcadius, they brought under their rule in the course of 440 years the Cantabrians, the Asturians, and all the rest of Spain. The coastal areas, the Alps, Coccia and Rhetia, Noricum, Pannonia and Moesia have augmented their power. The entire Danube area has been divided into provinces. The entire Pontus, Greater Armenia, Assyria, Arabia and Egypt have come under Roman law, and thus, thanks to the exertions of their commanders, and through the valiant behaviour of the Roman population, and in immortal glory, they have attained the highest stage for this most elevated empire, of which the borders in the West are the ocean, in the North the Rhine and the Danube, in the East the Tigris, and in the South the Atlas mountain range. All this is shown on this map for the benefit of those studying history.

(lower center right cartouche) We have taken this genealogy of the seven kings from Livius, Dionysius and Plutarchus, for the benefit of those who have an interest in Roman history. The main line of descent indicates the kings, the lesser lines their wives, and the smallest line their sons and daughters. Double circles indicate males, single circles females.

Translated by Marcel van den Broecke and Deborah van den Broecke-Günzburger, Cartographica Neerlandica (www.orteliusmaps.com/book/ort187.html).

Metadata Details
Item Type Book Section
Title Image of the Roman Empire
Publication Title Theatrum orbis terrarium (The Theatre of the Whole World)
Short Title Map of the Roman Empire, 1606
Book Title Theatrum orbis terrarium (The Theatre of the Whole World)
Place of Publication London
Creator Abraham Ortelius
Publication Date 1606
Call Number VAULT oversize Ayer 135 .O7 1606, [plate 122] (PrCt)
Location Special Collections 4th floor