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Rouen, Nîmes, and Bordeaux, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1612


Rotomagus, vulgo Roan, Normandiae Metropolis [on sheet with] Nemavsus, Nismes, Civitas Narbonensie Galliae Vetustissima [and] Civitas Burdegalensis in Aquitanea, Genuina Descrip.

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Item Number:  22306
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > France

Old map with three bird's-eye views by Braun and Hogenberg: Rouen, Nîmes and Bordeaux, after Georg Hoefnagel.


CARTOUCHE: Rotomagus or Rouen, the capital of Normandy.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN (on verso): "Rouen is the capital of Normandy, to the south it lies beside the Seine with its plentiful river traffic, to the north beside high hills displaying volcanic activity. Since the city is surrounded by fertile farmland, Emperor Julius Cesar surrounded it early on with massive strong walls, and Roman soldiers were stationed here to protect the whole province. This city is particularly distinguished by its magnificent archbishop's house, its splendid monasteries, its palace and its town hall, its bridge with squared stones, its main church and the three towers etc."

The city's favourable position between the Seine to the south and the hills in the north is clearly illustrated in this view; which is seen from the east from an ideal hill and which also shows the intact city walls from the Roman era. The staffage emphasizes the course taken by the road from Paris leading into the city.


CARTOUCHE: Nîmes, the ancient city in the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN (on verso): "Nemausus, called Nismes in the vernacular, possesses a games arena that is called the Amphitheatrum, old tumbledown houses and ruins and also the Temple of Hadrian. There is also a main church dedicated to Our Lady that was built with huge squared stones and is extremely imposing. Three short miles from Nîmes, a wondrous bridge crosses the River Gardon, built with arches on three levels, of which one allows beasts and people to cross, the second carries the water conduit."

Nîmes was a flourishing settlement even in Celtic times and due to its favourable location on the Via Domitia, a major transportation route linking Italy and Spain, was developed into the capital of Narbonensis province. Amongst other things, it was given a 7-km-long city wall and the dominant Tour Magne watchtower (top centre). Also stemming from Roman times is the imposing amphitheatre (left), which could seat some 23,000 spectators and is used for performances even today. Its façade, comprising two storeys, each with 60 arches, is clearly recognizable, even in foreshortening. Above the cathedral and clock tower lies the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa around 19 B.C. The 49-m-high Pont du Gard aqueduct, mentioned by Braun and visible top right, is an important work of Roman civil engineering.


CARTOUCHE: Faithful illustration of the city of Bordeaux in Aquitaine.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN (on verso): "Burdegal is rightly called the capital of Aquitaine. Firstly due to its great age, secondly due to its magnificent houses, thirdly because it is considered a bulwark of France on account of its well-fortified castle and its sustained resistance. This will also be ackowledged by the English, who long besieged Bordeaux in order to conquer its fortress, as they have done in other cities with less difficulty."

The fortifications were built by Charles VII of France only following the reconquest of Bordeaux in 1452. Shown on a smaller scale to the right of the château du Hâ is the Gothic cathedral of Saint-André with its free-standing clock tower, the Tour Pey-Berland. Outside the city walls lie the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre.

Date of the first edition: 1572
Date of this map: 1612

Copper engraving
Size: 33 x 48.5cm (12.9 x 18.9 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Uncoloured, excellent.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 4, 3792, State 2; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.64.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Liber Primus. Cologne, Petrus von Brachel, 1612. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:1.1(1612))