Siciliae Veteris Typus

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Jan Janson

Siciliae Veteris Typus

Amsterdam, c.1650

Copperplate engraving with original hand coloring

A map of ancient Sicily, closely modelled on Ortelius' map for the Parergon (Supplement) of his famous Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, and engraved by Abraham Goos for the Ancient World volume of Jansson's monumental Atlas Major. The map depicts the island of Sicily with particular reference to its ancient Greek, Roman, and Carthaginian history. The island is embellished in full wash hand colour, and cities and towns are picked out in red. The map is further ornamented by a trio of baroque cartouches. The first, a large central cartouche enclosing the title, is supported by a pair of winged figures and surmounted by the Roman eagle. To the top left, a boxed inset map bordered by a cupid riding a sea monster displays a close up of the port of Syracuse, as it appeared at its height in the classical era. The third and final cartouche, in the bottom left, features a list of Sicilian cities, towns, strongholds, mountains, rivers, regional divisions, lakes, peoples, and places of uncertain origin. This is bordered by an illustration of Neptune, on a chariot pulled by giant monstrous fish.

Johannes Janssonius (1588 - 1664) was a famed cartographer and print publisher. More commonly known as Jan Jansson, he was born in Arnhem where his father, Jan Janszoon the Elder, was a bookseller and publisher. In 1612 he married the daughter of the cartographer and publisher Jodocus Hondius, and then set up in business in Amsterdam as a book publisher. In 1616 he published his first maps of France and Italy and from then onwards, produced a very large number of maps which went some way to rival those of the Blaeu family, who held a virtual monopoly over the industry. From about 1630 to 1638 he was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius, issuing further editions of the Mercator/Hondius atlases to which his name was added. On the death of Hondius he took over the business, expanding the atlas still further, until eventually he published an eleven volume Atlas Major on a scale similar to Johannes Blaeu's magnum opus. After Jansson's death, his heirs published a number of maps in the Atlas Contractus of 1666, and, later still, many of the plates of his British maps were acquired by Pieter Schenk and Gerard Valck, who published them again in 1683 as separate maps.

Abraham Goos (c.1590-1643) was a Flemish map-maker, engraver, and publisher. Although born in Antwerp, much of his career was spent in Amsterdam, where he worked as a map engraver for his uncle Pieter van den Keere, his cousin Jodocus Hondius, and his second-cousin Jan Jansson. He is best remembered for his work on Jansson's continuations of the Mercator-Hondius Atlas Minor and for his many terrestrial and celestial globes. His son, Pieter, followed in the family business and is celebrated for his Atlas ofte Water-Weereld, the greatest maritime atlas since Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer's Thresoor der Zeevaert.