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Grenoble & Romans-sur-Isère, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1588


Gratianopolis Acusianoru Colonia, ... [on sheet with] Romans Delfinatus vulgo Daufine in Gallia Oppidu.

€220  ($257.4 / £187)
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Item Number:  21481
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > France

Antique map with two bird's-eye view plans by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg: Grenoble & Romans-sur-Isère.


TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: Gratianopolis, colony of Acusiana or Acusianorum Colonia, a formidably fortified city in Gallia Narbonensis, on the Isère, today called Grenoble.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Its ancient shape is more elongated than wide, it tapers towards a point and assumes the overall shape of an egg. Lying on level ground at the foot of the mountains, it extends towards the east ...; the Isère, which flows down from the tops of the Swiss mountains to the east, runs through the city. Toward the north a very beautiful bridge leads over the Isère to the suburb that is called St Lawrence."

Grenoble, situated at the foot of the French Alps, is seen from an elevated viewpoint from the north. The city is protected by - as Braun describes it - an egg-shaped inner and rectangular outer city wall. Numerous churches and towers, their verticals greatly exaggerated, dominate the cityscape; they include the 12th-century cathedral of Notre-Dame in the background and, in the foreground, the collegiate church of Saint-André. Facing the latter is the Palace of Justice with its several towers directly overlooking the river. The city was purportedly renamed Gratianopolis in AD 377 in honour of Emperor Gratian.


CARTOUCHE: Romans delfinatus, also Daufine, a city in Gaul.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "The small town of Romans lies directly beside the Isère and is famous for its beauty amongst the cities in the lower reaches of the Dauphiné. Its name is also evidence that it was built either by the Romans or by those of Roman descent."

As apparent both from the vertical-format bird's-eye view and from the modern-day name of the townn, Romans lies on the River Isère, a tributary of the Rhône. Situated near the Vercors Mountains, the town arose in the 9th century AD in the wake of the founding of an abbey. In the present engraving it has already expanded beyond its historical boundary and the river. The originally Romanesque collegiate church of Saint-Bernard (12th/13th cent.) is located between the large market square (centre) and the river's edge, behind the church attached to the palace of the Vienne archbishops; situated on the bridge on the right is Notre-Dame-sur-le-Pont. (Taschen)

The two plans are made after plans published by Belleforest in his La Cosmographie universelle. Paris, 1575.

Date of the first edition: 1581
Date of this map: 1588

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Size (not including margins): 32.5 x 43.5cm (12.7 x 17 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Uncoloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A+
References: Van der Krogt 4, 1634, st.1; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.214.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum. . Liber tertius. Cologne, Gottfried von Kempen, 1588. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:1.3)