Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Arctic / North Pole by Mercator-Hondius




Polus Arcticus cum vicinis regionibus


Amsterdam, 1607


13.5 x 18.5 cms


Copper engraving

Stock number





$ 650


Map of the North Pole regions from the 1608 second edition of Jodocus Hondius' Atlas Minor, a reduction of the 1606 Mercator-Hondius folio map (which is a later state of the 1595 Mercator copperplate).

"Shortly after the publication of the big folio-atlases the need was apparantly felt for a smaller-sized atlas, one that would be handier, and, above all, cheaper, so that a larger public might have access to the use of maps.

The publication of the 'Atlas Minor' appeared to be a great success for Hondius; the first Latin edition was in great demand.

The copperplates of the first atlases minor were most almost certainly engraved by Jodocus Hondius himself.

After 1621, the copperplates of the 'Atlas Minor' were sold to a London editor. Firstly, they appeared in 'Purchas his Pilgrinies', printed in 1625 by William Stansby for Henry Featherstone. Next they were used for the translation of the Mercator-atlas, printed in small folio under the title 'Historia mundi, or Mercators atlas', by Thomas Cotes for Michael Sparke and Samuel Cartwight in 1635."


"As with the 'Theatrum' of Abraham Ortelius, Jodocus Hondius planned a reduced size version of Gerard Mercator's folio atlas. Just one year after his first edition he published his Latin text 'Atlas Minor' in collaboration with Jan Jansz. and Cormelis Claesz. The arrangement between these three is not understood clearly but Hondius is believed to have been the owner of the copperplates. Cartographically this is taken directly from the folio maps by Hondius in 1606 [..]. with the inevitable loss of detail due to the reduction. The initial 'S' in the lower right [of the America map] probably represents the unidentified engraver."

(Burden 153).

"This map of the North Pole is a reduced verion of the revised second state of Gerard Mercator's 'SEPTENTRIONALIUM Terrarum' first issued in 1606. There are, however, a couple of noticeable differences. The map itself only extends now to just south of the Arctic Circle and the inset maps at the top of the Faeroes and Frisland have now been reversed."

(Burden 154).