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Allegorical atlas title page by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg. 1572

This title page of the first volume of the Civitates depicts the origins of the settled town from the earliest classical times. Three figures personifying the builders are prominent within a solid pillared architectural structure with two rough arches in the background. To the left of the central title stands Minerva (Athena in Greek), the patroness of cities. She is recognisable by her attribute of an owl, signifying wisdom, on her helmet and by her side. She is armoured with a plumed helmet and holds a spear and shield.
On the opposite side of the title stands a muscular Cain mentioned in the preliminary text as a symbol of physical strength and courage. He is clothed in a lion's skin and in his hand holds the ass's jawbone with which he killed his brother Abel. Abel was the founder of cities and (according to one legend) the inventor of Fire, hence the burning wheatsheaf at his feet. At the top of the massive plinth holding the title is a female figure representing the skill of architecture, design and ornament: she holds instruments associated with those arts. Beneath her feet is an inscription Ornament[a] Orb[is] Terr[arum] or 'Embellishments of the Whole World'.

As part of the pedestal on which Minerva and Cain stand, three panels appear as carvings inset into the overall stone structure. They show very rudimentary dwellings - simple huts, shelter in a rainy forest and the digging of ground shelters and caves. The message is that from such simple beginnings, the fine towns and cities of the present time have grown.


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver of numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.

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Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

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Item Number:  28788
Category:  Antique maps > Curiosities

Allegorical atlas title page by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg.

Title: Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

Date of the first edition: 1572.
Date of this map: 1572.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Map size: 365 x 225mm (14.37 x 8.86 inches).
Sheet size: 395 x 270mm (15.55 x 10.63 inches).
Verso: Latin text.
Condition: Original coloured, heightened in gold, name 'GAUDILLAT' blind-stamped on lower margin, repair at lower edge.
Condition Rating: A.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Cologne, Theodor Graminaeus, 1572. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:0)

This title page of the first volume of the Civitates depicts the origins of the settled town from the earliest classical times. Three figures personifying the builders are prominent within a solid pillared architectural structure with two rough arches in the background. To the left of the central title stands Minerva (Athena in Greek), the patroness of cities. She is recognisable by her attribute of an owl, signifying wisdom, on her helmet and by her side. She is armoured with a plumed helmet and holds a spear and shield.
On the opposite side of the title stands a muscular Cain mentioned in the preliminary text as a symbol of physical strength and courage. He is clothed in a lion's skin and in his hand holds the ass's jawbone with which he killed his brother Abel. Abel was the founder of cities and (according to one legend) the inventor of Fire, hence the burning wheatsheaf at his feet. At the top of the massive plinth holding the title is a female figure representing the skill of architecture, design and ornament: she holds instruments associated with those arts. Beneath her feet is an inscription Ornament[a] Orb[is] Terr[arum] or 'Embellishments of the Whole World'.

As part of the pedestal on which Minerva and Cain stand, three panels appear as carvings inset into the overall stone structure. They show very rudimentary dwellings - simple huts, shelter in a rainy forest and the digging of ground shelters and caves. The message is that from such simple beginnings, the fine towns and cities of the present time have grown.


Braun G. & Hogenberg F. and the Civitates Orbis Terrarum.

The Civitates Orbis Terrarum, or the "Braun & Hogenberg", is a six-volume town atlas and the greatest book of town views and plans ever published: 363 engravings, sometimes beautifully coloured. It was one of the best-selling works in the last quarter of the 16th century. Georg Braun wrote the text accompanying the plans and views on the verso. A large number of the plates were engraved after the original drawings of Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1600), who was a professional artist. The first volume was published in Latin in 1572, the sixth volume in 1617. Frans Hogenberg created the tables for volumes I through IV, and Simon van den Neuwel created those for volumes V and VI. Other contributors were cartographer Daniel Freese, and Heinrich Rantzau. Works by Jacob van Deventer, Sebastian Münster, and Johannes Stumpf were also used. Translations appeared in German and French.

Following the original publication of Volume 1 of the Civitates in 1572, seven further editions of 1575, 1577, 1582, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1612 can be identified. Vol.2, first issued in 1575, was followed by further editions in 1597 and in 1612. The next volumes appeared in 1581, 1588, 1593, 1599 and 1606. The German translation of the first volume appeared from 1574 on and the French edition from 1575 on.

Several printers were involved: Theodor Graminaeus, Heinrich von Aich, Gottfried von Kempen, Johannis Sinniger, Bertram Buchholtz and Peter von Brachel, who all worked in Cologne.

Georg Braun (1541-1622)

Georg Braun was born in Cologne in 1541. After his studies in Cologne he entered the Jesuit Order as a novice. In 1561 he obtained his bachelor's degree and in 1562 his Magister Artium. Although he left the Jesuit Order, he studied theology, gaining a licentiate in theology.

Frans Hogenberg (1535-1590)

Frans Hogenberg was a Flemish and German painter, engraver, and mapmaker. He was born in Mechelen as the son of Nicolaas Hogenberg.

By the end of the 1560s Frans Hogenberg was employed upon Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, published in 1570; he is named as engraver of numerous maps. In 1568 he was bannend from Antwerp by the Duke of Alva and travelled to London, where he stayed a few years before emigrating to Cologne. There he immediately embarked on his two most important works, the Civitates published from 1572 and the Geschichtsblätter, which appeared in several series from 1569 until about 1587.

Thanks to such large scale projects as the Geschichtsblätter and the Civitates, Hogenberg's social circumstances improved with each passing year. He died as a wealthy man in Cologne in 1590.

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