Sanderus catalogue

Antique map showing the Phlegraean Fields (Campi Flegrei), by Braun and Hogenberg

Item number:24073
Category:Antique maps > europe > Italy - Cities
Price: 350 Euro ($406 / £304.5)
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Mirabilium Sulphureorum Motium Apud Puteolos campos - Braun & Hogenberg, 1599.

Old map showing the Phlegraean Fields (Campi Flegrei), by Braun and Hogenberg.

Phlegraean Fields, also known as the Campi Flegrei, is a large 13 km (8 mi) wide caldera situated to the west of Naples, Italy. Today most of the area lies underwater, but it includes the town of Pozzuoli and the Solfatara crater, mythological home of the Roman god of fire, Vulcan.

CARTOUCHE LEFT: A true-to-life and accurate illustration of the wondrous sulphur mountains near Pozzuoli (Campi Flegrei in Pliny, Vulcani forum in Strabo and Solfatara in Italian among the Neapolitans today).

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Solfatara is a place in Campania that is truly wonderful. The first thing one sees is a broad egg-shaped field, somewhat longer than wide. This is surrounded by high hills, as if by a wall or bastions, and there is only a single entrance facing Pozzuoli. The soil is mixed through and through with brimstone, which grows there, and at the end there is a wide pit full of black and thickened water. All around the pit, pungent and hot sulphur fumes constantly arise from holes in the ground. Beside it there are many smelteries where white sulphur is made."

This unusual plate underlines the dramatic nature of the deadly sulphurous vapours that issue from the ground. The allegorical figures with a donkey's head and a Medusa's head who are striking an anvil with smiths' hammers, and the cartouche texts framed by horseshoes, are clear references to the forge of the god Vulcan. In the middle we see the artist (Georg Hoefnagel) and the scholar (Abraham Ortelius) discussing in detail what they see (C: "The water here is always black, muddy and so hot that if an egg is put in it, it will come out cooked; the water bubbles like the sea and often surges up to a height of 24 handbreadths"). The Greeks founded their oldest colony on the Italian mainland close to the Phlegraean Fields and since antiquity travellers have been fascinated by these volcanic hills with their hot springs and craters, so vividly portrayed by Georg Hoefnagel. (Taschen)

Date of the first edition: 1581
Date of this map: 1599

Copper engraving
Size: 31 x 41.5cm (12.1 x 16.2 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Uncoloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 4, 3462; Fauser, 13134; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.265.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum. . Liber tertius. Köln, Bertram Buchholtz, 1599. (Koeman, B&H3)

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