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Allegorical Atlas Frontispiece.

Mercator Gerhard, Hondius Jodicus. Title page/Frontispiece "Nascentes moromor finisq, ab origene pendet." Amsterdam, " Exusum in aedibus Jodici Hondij veneunt etiam apud Corneliu Nicolai. item apud Joannem Janssoniu Arnhemi." 1607
Copper engraved allegorical frontispiece from the first edition of Gerhard Mercator's "Atlas Minor". Latin text to verso.
The engraving shows three female figures representing the fates of Greek Mythology: Clotho the spinner, spins the thread of life: Lachesis, the measurer, who choses the lot in life one will have and measures off how long it is to be and Atropos, she who cannot be turned, who at death with her shears cuts the thread of life. A terrifying, serpentine representation of original sin from Genesis prods the skein of life with a flaming arrow, and an angel pours sacramental wine on the flames whilst gazing to Heaven. Biblical texts to corners. Dark impression; soiled, worn and damaged to right edge; attached to modern end paper.

Jodicus Hondius published the first "Atlas Minor" in 1607 in response to the idea that there was a market for smaller, handier and cheaper Atlases to make the maps of Mercator available to a wider public; he probably engraved the maps himself.
The early editions were printed by Hondius and jointly sold by Corn. Claes and Joh. Janssonius, who probably supplied and owned the letterpress.
With Hondius death in 1612 the further editions were published still under his name by his widow and heirs until 1621 when the plates were sold to a London editor.
Koeman: Me186; 146 by 200mm (5¾ by 7¾ inches).   ref: 2274  €75

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