Exploring Modern Maps of the Horn of Africa (18th-20th c.)

click on the map to explore

Short Title: Habessinia seu Abassia

Year: 1683 [as asserted on the cartouche of the map]. This re-edition was not printed before 1709.

Full Title: Jobi Ludolfi | Habessinia seu Abassia | Presbyteri Johannis Regio | perperam dicta | ad exemplum Tab. Chorographicæ | P. Balth. Tellezii | quanta fieri potuit diligentia formata | correctis multis nominibus | male scriptis. | pl
plurimisq. locis passim insertis | ex Gregorii Habess | fidâ relatione | illorum situ non ubiq. aeque certo. Anno Christi MDCLXXXIII

Translation of the full title: Job Ludolf’s Habessinia or Abassia - wrongly called the ’Kingdom of Prester John’ - here based on the information given in the maps of Father Balth[azar] Tellez, with corrections as careful as possible of many wrongly written names, with the addition of many localities here and there from the trustworthy account of Gregorius the Abyssinian, even though their position is not si sure everywhere. Year 1683.

Physical description: Copperplate engraving, internal boundaries watercoloured.

Size: 54.5 x 44 cm [size of the printed area]

Engraver: Christian Ludolf [son of Job Ludolf]

Scale: no scale given. Approx. scale is 1:2,500,000.

Coordinates: Latitudes are from 8° N to 16° N. Longitude are from 62°E to 74°E [prime meridian of Ferro].

Note on the edition: this is probably a second print by Gerhard Valk and Pieter Schenk, famous cartographers based in Amsterdam. The first edition was annexed to the Historia Æthiopica, authored by Job Ludolf, published in Frankfurt am Main in 1681. There is little difference between the first and second edition: the latitude and longitude lines are added and some of the territorial boundaries are thickened to differentiate between kingdoms and provinces.

Note on colors: The outlines of territorial boundaries are emphasized with watercolor. In other edition, watercoloring is more, covering the surface.

Diffusion rights: from private collection, with rights for publication on Ethiomap.


The digital indexation of this map has been processed and edited by Eloi Ficquet and Stéphane Ancel.

Note on categories

- There are 12 levels of description to categorize the items:

These categories have been designed according to legend of the map and the internal graphic structure of the map, with additional categories for items not specified in the legend.

▪ Kingdom: names followed by R. [Regnum in the legend].
▪ Province: names followed by P. [Provincia Regio Tractus in the legend].
▪ People: names followed by G. [Gentis nomem in the legend].
▪ Unspecified region / people: names designed as regions or peoples but with no specification.
▪ Capital city: for places associated with the symbol explained as Metropolis s. sedes Proregis in the legend.
▪ Jesuit residence: for places associated with the symbol explained as Sedes Pp. Societatis Residentiam vocant in the legend.
▪ Monastery: : for places associated with the symbol explained as Monasterium in the legend.
▪ Place: other kinds of places, indicated by two symbols not explained on the legend.
▪ Relief: names followed by M. for [Mons vel Montes in the legend].
▪ Water body: river, lake, sea.
▪ Figure: animals, ships and other pictures.
▪ Other: some remarks written on the map.

Note on the grid

To facilitate the indexation of the map’s items, a grid has been designed following lines of latitude and longitude.