Meredith D. Staats '18, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Department 1



The “Presbiteri Iohannis Sive, Abissinorvm Imperii Descriptio,” or “Map of the Kingdom of Prester John,” is a work by Abraham Ortelius, a cartographer, cosmographer, and publisher who was born and died in Antwerp, Belgium. This map was published in the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, or Theater of the World, “the first uniformly sized and systematically collected set of maps by different mapmakers which is acknowledged as the first atlas,” published c. 1570 and edited into a number of languages posthumously through 1612. The atlas contained 70 maps engraved by Frans Hogenberg on 53 folio sheets. [excerpt]


Produced as part of a collaboration between Kay Etheridge's course FYS-188: Exploration of the Marvelous: Art and Science in the Renaissance, and Felicia Else's course ARTH 284: Wonders of Nature and Artifice: The Renaissance Quest for Knowledge.

Original version online at