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Orleans and Bourges, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1597


Orleans [on sheet with:] Bourges.

€300  ($351 / £255)
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Item Number:  23964
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > France

Old map with two bird's-eye views by Braun and Hogenberg: Orleans and Bourges, engraved after Georg Hoefnagel.


COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Orléans is a city in France on the Loire. In the direction of Paris, where the city spreads out upon a hill, stood the Church of the Holy Cross before its recent destruction by the Huguenots. Orléans has clean, healthy air and is graced with excellent schools. Law is the subject most commonly studied. So many erudite men have gone forth from these schools that there is not enough space here to tell of them all. Among others the important Bertrandus, Archbishop of Bordeaux, who later became Pope in Rome and took on the name Clement V."

Seen from the south, the view shows Orléans on the far side of the Loire. In the centre, rising above the city, is Sainte-Croix cathedral, which was built around the end of the 13th century. The destruction referred to in the text can be dated to 24 March 1568; reconstruction was begun under Henry IV around 1600. Since the early 14th century Orléans had played a key role in armed conflicts, which came to a climax when the city was besieged by the English and subsequently liberated by Joan of Arc in 1429. The University d'Orléans was founded in 1235; 200 years after Pope Clement V, John Calvin also studied law here.


COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Today one can still see the entire wall of the Old Town of Avaricum, which is so strongly fortified that no tools can pull it down, so that it must therefore be left standing. Bourges was expanded by degrees. At one place towards the southeast there is an opening, secured by strong walls and fortified ramparts. From them one can see a long way, but in particular there is a high tower here from which one can see four miles around and which is therefore called the Great Tower."

The view shows Bourges from the south on the far side of the River Auron. The name of the city is derived from the Celtic tribe of the Bituriges, whose chief town, Avaricum, was here. The well-fortified walls, the remains of which can still be seen today, date from this time. In 1137 Louis VII was crowned king of France in Bourges. Under him and his successor Philip II the city was expanded and a new fortification system was built. The fortress-like Great Tower (12) was destroyed in 1653 in the course of the revolt against absolutism known as the Fronde. Towards the end of the 12th century, construction began on the cathedral of Saint-Étienne (9), one the the earliest examples of High Gothic architecture, with stained-glass windows from the 13th century. The left side of the view is mainly dominated by the palace of Jacques Coeur (5). Coeur was an important merchant and Finance Minister under Charles II. (Taschen)

Date of the first edition: 1597
Date of this map: 1597

Copper engraving
Size: 37 x 46.5cm (14.4 x 18.1 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Uncoloured, brown stain in upper view
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 4, 3201; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.139.

From: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, ... Part 2: De Praecipuis, Totius Universi Urbibus, Liber Secundus. Köln, Bertram Buchholz, 1597. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:1.2)