Notes to Mercator Ortelio sal.
Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594), the greatest of the Renaissance geographers, called
Ingenious in mind, ingenious as well in hand.
He studied mathematics and astronomy at Louvain, later becoming a maker of scientific instruments. He constructed his first terrestrial globe in 1541. After moving to Duisburg in Germany, he completed his great map of Europe in 15 large sheets (1554) and a world map which was particularly useful for navigation, since it used his projection, in which a navigator could lay out a compass course with a straight line. His workshop produced improved and enlarged maps for the rest of his life. Posthumous works were completed by his son Rumold, who is mentioned in this letter. Many letters to and from Mercator survive, dealing with both geography and religion, most recently edited in van Durme, Correspondance mercatorienne 1954.
Abraham Ortelius of Antwerp (1527-1598). Originally an engraver and dealer in antiquities, he became of friend of Mercator and began making maps. His chief work, mentioned in this letter, was Theatrum orbis terrarum (1st edition 1570), which contained 70 maps of a uniform format. The work remained in print throughout the 17th century. Mercator and Ortelius exchanged many letters. This letter concerns 1) the delayed return of a map of the Americas which Ortelius had lent to Mercator, 2) the availability of recent maps of France and Spain, and 3) an enlargement of Ortelius magnum opus, the Theatrum.
plurimum &emdash; adverbial accusative (A&G 214d)
mi &emdash; vocative of meus; D. = Domine, Mister or Sir.
cunctator est vir qui semper cunctatur
in remittendis iis &emdash; gerundive, ablative case (A&G 507(3)) from remitto. Ortelius had sent Mercator a map of the Americas, as mentioned at the end of this letter, and Mercator was slow to send it back.
concessisti = misisti. In this case it must have been a loan.
Ipse &emdash; tu ipse "you yourself"
Tot datum sit
ut datum sit &emdash; result clause (A&G 537) in primary sequence (A&G 483). Some words are omitted: Ut tempus exscribere illa (acc. plural "those documents") vix mihi datum sit.
occupationibus &emdash; ablative of means
exscribo &emdash; "to copy it out" Ortelius sent him a chart or a geographical description of some location in the Americas, judging from reliquam in the next sentence.
Utinam &emdash; "I wish that " "Would that..." Utinam introduces wishes that are contrary to fact (A&G 442); the imperfect subj. refers to the present time: "I wish that we had now " The pluperfect subj. refers to past time: Utinam habuissemus "I wish we had had "
eam &emdash; is, ea, id as a demonstrative adjective = "that"
continentem &emdash; acc. of continens &emdash; "continent" here referring to the Americas.
descriptam &emdash; perf. participle of describo.
Non dubito itineribus
Non dubito usually with quin plus subjunctive (A&G 558) "I dont doubt that...
eius refers to America: maxima Americae pars; eius is a pronoun here, not an adjective (contrast eam just above).
a Portugalensibus, abl. of agent &emdash; Mercator thought that the Portuguese had settled Mexico, rather than the Spaniards, but since many of the early explorers were Portuguese and since Portugal was for much of the period a part of Spain, a fine distinction between what are now two different nations should not be drawn.
postquam plures homines eam (i.e. partem Americae) a Mexico usque in Cataium saepe peragraverunt.
postquam plus indicative "after" (A&G543)
Mexicum is the nominative case of the Latin word for Mexico. Cataium = Cathay or China. Sina is the earlier Latin word for China, from which we get our prefix Sino-, as in Sino-American relations.
plures &emdash; plus, pluris "more" nominative plural
non semel &emdash; LITOTES (A&G 326c) "not once" = many times.
Id-que &emdash; "it" "and they did it/this" (i.e. travel through)
diversum iter &emdash; "different route" ablative of means
sed quae firmis non habent, non permittunt
quae, subiecta, spectanda &emdash; all are neuter plural "those places which" "those territories which"
firmis praesidiis et legibus &emdash; ablative of means; praesidia and leges are the instruments by which these territories are controlled.
subiecta non habent &emdash; "they do not hold in subjugation, they do not hold in control".
spectanda &emdash; future passive participle or gerundive (A&G 500 (4)). "to be viewed". The gerundive with permitto is like a purpose clause = ut hae terrae spectentur non permittunt Portugalenses.
nam et Galli et Anglis occupandis terris inhiant.
occupandis terris &emdash; dative case, gerundive (A&G 505, with the addition that the dative of the gerund is much used in purpose expressions in later Latin). Alternative ways of saying the same thing are ad occupandas terras, ut occupent terras. Sir Francis Drake is the most famous of the English who lusted after Spanish lands. He and his cousin John Hawkins plundered in the Caribbean in the 1560s and 70s.
Galliam descriptam esse - indirect statement (A&G 580) depending on audieris.
particulatim &emdash; "in detail" "province by province"
Non dubito quin audieris
non dubito quin &emdash; followed by the subjunctive (A&G 558)
audieris &emdash; perf. subjunctive in primary sequence (A&G 483)
De Hispanis intellexi
simile aliquid &emdash; "something similar" after si, nisi, ne, quis/quid is used instead of aliquis/aliquid: si quis hoc fecerit = "Is someone does this " (A&G 310). Here this usage is extended to simile.
simile &emdash; i.e. a description in detail, as for France.
temptatum esse &emdash; indirect statement depending on intellexi.
sed quousque ignoratur
quousque deductum sit opus &emdash; indirect question in primary sequence depending on ignoratur (A&G 574). opus ("the work") is the subject
quo-usque &emdash;"how far", as in "Quousque abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?"
ignoratur &emdash; impersonal passive of an intransitive verb (A&G 207d). Mercator could have said ignoro or ignoramus.
Has tabulas si posses.., adiungeres.
si nancisci posses, adiungeres &emdash; contrary to fact condition (A&G 517): "If you could find them, you could add them." Strictly speaking, this should not be contrary to fact, since Mercator suggests that Ortelius can get the maps from the Protestant princes. Perhaps he thinks this is unlikely. tabulas &emdash; "maps", the full term is tabulae geographicae.
ut (as) posse existimo &emdash; posse is a one-word indirect statement: "I think that this is possible."
cum tabulae in manibus versentur &emdash; verso &emdash;are "turn over, study", as in Horaces advice to an aspiring poet: "exemplaria Graeca nocturna versate manu, versate diurna" &emdash; "turn over the Greek models night and day in your hands."
evangelici -orum principum (gen. pl.) &emdash; "Protestant princes". This letter was written during a time of warfare between Protestant and Catholic powers. The Duke of Alba was ravaging the low countries; the Spanish Armada was nine years in the future.
apud quos gratiam fore non dubito
apud quos = apud evangelicos principes
tibi &emdash; dative of possession (A&G 373) = te facilem gratiam habiturum esse non dubito.
fore = futurum esse (A&G 170.a), future infinitive in indirect statement depending on non dubito.
Theatro tuo &emdash; Ortelius had written a geography called Theatrum orbis terrarum.
auctarium &emdash; "supplement"
Scripsit te fecisse donasse
filius &emdash; Rumold Mercator continued his fathers work
te fecisse donasse (=donavisse) &emdash; indirect statement with perfect infinitive (A&G 584) depending on scripsit.
Tabularum &emdash; of the maps in Ortelius Theatrum
appendicem &emdash; "appendix"
Pro quo gratias
pro quo = pro exemplari quod mihi donavisti, Judging from his next comment, Mercator had not yet received the copy.
Spero reperturum (esse)
Spero usually takes a future infinitive in indirect statement (A&G 584).
in eo = in eo exemplari
Artesia &emdash; Artois, now a part of N. France
Hannonia &emdash; Hainaut, now southern Belgium. In Mercators time Artesia, Hannonia, and the rest of the Low Countries were under Spanish/Hapsburg rule. Mercator hopes detailed maps of these countries are included in the package.
Nam filius meus qui Artesiam excusam vidit
Artesiam &emdash; i.e. tabulam Artesiae
excusam &emdash; "engraved and printed"
Hannoniam mox edendam esse &emdash; edendam &emdash; future passive participle (A&G 500), but without a sense of obligation "must". The map was "soon to be printed".
Boni consulo is a favorite idiom of Mercator: "take in good part," "dont be angry that "
quaeso &emdash; "please," usually the second word in the sentence.
Si quid &emdash; indefinite (A&G 310a); quid &emdash; "anything" is the subject of sit: si quid habeo aut penes me sit
alioqui sit &emdash; indirect question (A&G 573)
amplius &emdash; "more"
penes me &emdash; "in my possession"
quo uti velis &emdash; quo is ablative depending on uti (utor; A&G 410); an indefinite clause, also called a relative clause of characteristic (A&G 535); Mercator is asking Ortelius to tell him if he, Mercator, has anything of the type of thing "that he would like to use."
Amico singulari Clarissimo Abrahamo Ortelio &emdash; dative case in the address of letters.
adiungo, -ere, adiuxi, adiunctus &emdash; join, connect
alioqui (adverb) &emdash; at one time or another, otherwise, at any time
aliquot &emdash; some
amplius &emdash; more
cingo, -ere, cinxi, cinctus &emdash; tie up, tighten, involve in
concedo, &emdash;ere, concessi, concessus &emdash; grant, lend
continuo (adverb) - immediately
cunctor, &emdash;ari, cunctatus (deponent)&emdash; delay, be slow
deduco, -ere, dedxi, deductus &emdash; lead, carry on, carry forth a project
describo, &emdash;ere, descripsi, descriptus &emdash; write out, describe, copy
dono, -are, -avi, -atus &emdash; give, give as a gift
dubito, -are, -avi, -atus &emdash; hesitate (most common meaning), doubt
edo, edere, edidi, editus &emdash; to publish
exemplar, exemplaris (n) &emdash; copy
existimo, -are, -avi, -atus &emdash; think, suppose
exoptissimus (superlative) &emdash; most hoped for
fortasse &emdash; perhaps
gratia, -ae (f) &emdash; favor, favorable opinion
gratias ago (idiom) &emdash; to thank someone
indigeo, &emdash;ere, indigui &emdash; need (cp. "indigent")
ingens, ingentis (adj.) &emdash; huge
inhio, are &emdash; lust after
intelligo, -ere, intellexi, intellectus &emdash; understand
iter, itineris (n) - trip, route way
lex, legis (f) &emdash; law
libenter &emdash; willingly, gladly
liberaliter &emdash; generously
manus, manûs (f) &emdash; hand
nanciscor, nancisci, nactus (deponent) &emdash; find
occupo, -are, -avi, -atus &emdash; seize, take
opinor, -ari &emdash; I suppose
opus, operis (n) &emdash; work, a work of art, science, etc.
peragro, &emdash;are, &emdash;avi, &emdash;atus &emdash; travel through, traverse
permitto, -ere, permisi, permissus &emdash; entrust, allow
plus, pluris &emdash; more
praesidium (n) &emdash; garrison, guard
reliquus &emdash;a &emdash;um &emdash; remaining
remitto, -ere, remisi, remissus &emdash; send back
retineo, -êre, retinui, retentus &emdash; hold back, keep
semel &emdash; once
significo, -are, -avi, -atur &emdash; tell, notify
similis, simile &emdash; like, similar
subicio, -ere, subieci, subiectus &emdash; to make submit, to control
tempto, -are, -avi, -atus &emdash; try, attempt
universus &emdash;a &emdash;um &emdash; all together, whole