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Mâcon and Chalon-sur-Saône, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. 1588-97


Matiscona, vulgo Mascon; ad Araeim flu: probe munitum Burgundiae Oppidum M.D.LXXX [on sheet with] Cabillinum, Indigenis, Chalon, ut agri uberiimi, ita saluberrimi coeli, . . .

€460  ($538.2 / £391)
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Item Number:  13210
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > France

Old antique map with two bird's-eye views by Braun and Hogenberg: Mâcon and Chalon-sur-Saône.


TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: Matiscona, in French Mascon. On the River Arar. Well-fortified Burgundian town, 1580.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "There is so little to be found about this town in the old chronicles that even if we can ascertain its age from Caesar, still we know nothing about its origin. We also know nothing about how it was rebuilt after being destroyed by Lothar, but only what still remains from the last reconstruction. This took place under Philip Augustus in the year 1222, when its citizens began to encircle it with stone walls and to fortify it with ramparts and bastions against attack by raiders. They added six more gates and adorned the town with magnificent churches."

This is a bird's-eye view of the fortified town on the left bank of the Saône, with north at the top. Occupying a prominent position, the Saint-Laurent bridge, with its characteristic arches, leads to the cathedral of Vieux Saint-Vincent. This replaced a bishop's church destroyed in the 10th century, which in its turn had been erected on the site of an ancient temple of Mercury. In AD 536 Mâcon became an episcopal see; the bishop's palace can be seen to the north of the old cathedral. In the 13th century Mâcon became the main residence of the Counts of Burgundy, and the city wall was built in the course of the fortification of the town under King Philip II.


CARTOUCHE: Cabillonum, in the local tongue Chalon. The land is fertile and the climate salubrious. Chalon is an exceptionally fortunate town on account of its trading of merchantise, for which it is well suited due to the proximity of the Arar, on which it is built.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "That the town of Chalon near Mâcon - formerly in the province of Lugdunensis and now in the Duchy of Burgundy in France and known as Chalon-sur-Saône - is very old, can be gathered from Caesar, who gave an account of its location in the territory of the Haedui on the River Arar. A bishop's church dedicated to St Stephen was consecrated there, which was rebuilt by Childeric, the first king of the Franks, after he found it in ruins. And he granted it many privileges, after bringing the relics of St Vincent here from Spain. For this reason the name of the church was changed from St Stephen to St Vincent."

This bird's-eye view from the north shows the town on the Saône fortified by ramparts and a moat. On the western edge of the Old Town centre is the cathedral of Saint-Vincent. The town was Frankish from AD 534 and an episcopal see from the late 5th century onwards. To the south can be seen the abbey of Saint-Pierre, which was fortified in the 12th and 13th centuries and made into a citadel in 1563. On the north bank of the Saône lies the suburb of Saint-Laurent with a hospital dating from the 16th century. Due to its favourable location, the Roman town of Cabillonum was an important inland port. (Taschen)

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

Copper engraving
Size: 33 x 45cm (12.9 x 17.6 inches)
Verso text: Latin
Condition: Excellent, superb old colour.
Condition Rating: A
References: Van der Krogt 4, 2556, st.1; Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p.276.

From: Liber quartus Urbium Praecipuarum totius Mundi. Cologne, 1588-97. (Koeman, B&H4, Van der Krogt 4, 41:1.4)