This map is an acknowledged masterpiece of composition and engraving by the great Flemish cartographer, Abraham Ortelius. It illustrates the Biblical story of Abraham the Patriarch as recorded in Genesis. The decorative border contains twenty-two medallions portraying scenes from the life of Abraham, such as the sacrifice of Isaac. The central portion is in the form of a tapestry containing two maps.
The small inset map at upper left traces Abraham’s wanderings from Ur in the Euphrates Valley to the Promised Land of Canaan; several cities are named, the most prominent of which is Salem, the future Jerusalem. The larger map depicts the ancient tribal divisions of the Land of Canaan as described in Genesis; the largest city (as judged by its symbolic representation) is named “Salem, et Ierusalem.”
ABRAHAMI PATRIARCHAE PEREGRINATIO, ET VITA., 1586
Facsimile of hand-colored engraving, 35.1 x 45.3 cm