The rutter for which all waggoners are named
By WAGHENAER, Lucas Janszoon , 1586

Speculum nauticum super navigatione maris occidentalis pars prima [-pars altera]

  • Author: WAGHENAER, Lucas Janszoon
  • Publication place: Leiden
  • Publisher: Franciscus Raphelengius for Luca Johannes Aurigarius
  • Publication date: 1586.
  • Physical description: 2 parts in one volume. Folio (415 by 292mm), engraved allegorical title-page to the first part, title-page with woodcut border to the second part, "Ad lectorem", without dedication (as often), 45 double-page engraved charts by Joannes and Baptista van Doetichum all with fine contemporary hand-colour in full, 3 full-page engraved text illustrations, expert repairs to upper corners of the majority of the charts, including map of Europe chart, a few with loss skilfully repaired in facsimile, contemporary vellum gilt, repairs to upper corners.
  • Inventory reference: 18378


A fine example of the first Latin edition of the earliest printed sea atlas: complete, with fine contemporary hand-colour in full. First published in Dutch in 1583-1584 as Spieghel der Zeevaerdt, the over-sized map of Europe is in the first state, showing a circular Iceland, all other maps in Koeman state b.

“Waghenaer’s work was a milestone in the development of West European navigation. His charts brought together the pictorial silhouettes that had been a standard feature of traditional rutters used by pilots, and combined these with updated coastal outlines. In addition, there were compass roses and lines of navigational direction, as well as soundings to help navigators make their way into ports and havens” (Schilder).

After a long career at sea, Waghenaer became collector of maritime dues in his hometown of Enkhuizen in 1579. Losing this post in 1582, he began work on what was to become one of the most successful maritime books of its age: a pioneering synthesis of information from manuscript charts, rutters, ships’ logs, all of which he systematized for the first time, illustrated with informative and beautifully engraved charts.

The demand for Waghenaer’s charts required translations for foreign pilots, and this Latin version was only the first, with subsequent translations into English, German, and French. The atlas was “the greatest single advance in the history of hydrographic publication. Within the covers of a single work it provided the seaman with a manual of practical navigation, a set of printed charts on a common scale, covering the coasts and waters of northern and western Europe, and sailing directions which were otherwise only to be found in rutters unaccompanied by charts” (Skelton). Published charts of the coast of Europe were based on Waghenaer’s work for at least a century, and all such later collections of sea charts were called after him “waghenaers” or “waggoners” in English and “chartiers” in French.


  1. BM STC, Dutch Books S. 209
  2. Goedings Kunst in Kaart, Utrecht 1989, p.104-106, 110-113
  3. Koeman, Wag 5A
  4. Nederl. Scheepvaart Mus. I, 44. (see Van Mander 1604 p.258)
  5. Phillips/Le Gear 3980
  6. Schilder Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica, Vol VII
  7. Tiele 1191 Anm
  8. Skelton, "Bibliographical note" in the facsimile edition, Amsterdam, 1966.

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