Title: Presbiteri Johannis, Sive, Abissinorum Imperii Descriptio
Map Maker: Abraham Ortelius
Place / Date: Antwerp / 1573
Nice example of Ortelius' famous map of the Kingdom of Prester John, from the 1573 Latin edition of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas of the world.
Prester John was a mythical African King, waging a war against the Muslim Infidels from his Kingdom in Central Africa. For centuries, from the receipt of a fake letter from Prester John to the Byzantine Patriarch, Europeans searched for Prester John, initially in Asia and later in Africa. The Crusaders hoped that Prester John would join with Europeans in the protection of the Holy Lands from the Islamic Saracens and in the protection of all Europe from the Mongols. In the late 1400s and early 1500s, the Portugese searched for Prester John in East Africa, through they did eventually find a Christian kingdom in Abyssinia.
A dedication to King David of the Bible is in the upper left of map. Above the dedication is the coat of arms of Prester John. Elephants and other figures adorn the map.