ORTELIUS, ABRAHAM. Theatri Orbis Terrarum Enchiridion, minoris tabulis [Epitome]. Antwerp: Philippe Galle for Christopher Plantin 1585. 4to, 182 x 140 (7 3/16 x 5½ in.), modern bubble-grained cloth, morocco gilt lettering-pieces on upper cover and spine, edges stained red, some light discoloration. First Edition of the Epitome with Latin text, Plantin's woodcut device on title, half-page allegroical engraving, 83 ENGRAVED MAPS BY PHILIP GALLE, including 6 double-page maps (World, Europe, France, Germany, Lower Germany [i.e., the Low Countries] and Italy, and 77 half-page regional maps, including one of America, and 2 maps ("Septentrionalum regionum" and "Tartariae") showing parts of America, numbered to 84 in the text (omitting number 77). Burden 48-50; Koeman III, Ort 51; Phillips 391; Shirley 132.
The idea of publishing a reduced format version of the Theatrum was apparently conceived by Philip Galle, who collaborated with the poet Pieter Heyns to produce the first edition, published by Plantin under the title Spieghel der Werelt in 1577, and including 72 small maps. In 1579 Plantin published an edition with the text in French prose, followed by two new French and Dutch editions, to which 11 new maps were added. The present translation into Latin verse, the fourth edition overall of this frequently reprinted and often imitated miniature atlas, was the only edition printed in this larger square format rather than the usual oblong format, thus incorporating the larger maps which had been previously folded in, and with the smaller maps set within the letterpress text.