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Ancient Rome (Roma), by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg.

TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: An accurate picture of ancient Rome: compiled from ancient monuments, traces of buildings, remains of the city walls, the testimony of coins, bronze, lead, stone and terracotta artefacts and reconstructed in this illustration and described by the Roman Pyrrhus Ligorius with all 14 regions into which the Emperor Caesar Augustus divided the city: Rome, the Queen of Cities, was, as tradition has it, founded by the Alban League (Alba Long) led by the youths Romulus and Remus, who were Numitor's grandsons, and named Rome after Romulus. Initially the city was confined to a square shape. Surrounded in the era of the kings and consuls by fortifications with three, or, according to Pliny, four gates, of varying thickness and appearance, it was given many gates when the wall encircling it was enlarged. The city encompassed seven hills and was divided into 14 regions, but the valleys and the level plains were filled with domed buildings that made them so like the hills that some of the hills can scarcely be distinguished from them. In the imperial era the city was adorned with stately buildings, which, of course, the upheavals of the period of barbarian incursions destroyed. Nevertheless, the present plate shows everything with great accuracy so that the viewer, if so inclined, can enjoy it with little effort.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "I believe, gentle reader, that the mind of almost no man is capable of imagining the appearance of the city of Rome in its entirety or explaining it, if he wishes to do justice to its beauty and political system before it was devastated and ravaged by foreign peoples. That is so especially since describing a city such as this does not seem a lesser or easier undertaking than if someone should take it upon himself to illustrate or to describe the entire world. [...] In our time the city of Rome is still so superior to others that all peoples and nations of the Holy Roman Church are more than willing to submit themselves to its authority, not through force of arms as in the old days, but through the power of religion. For religion makes men peacable, indeed makes even the savage and outlandish nations, as monstrous as they may be, more benevolent and mild. By contrast, differences in language and religion separate men from one another and alienate them from each other. That is why the dumb beasts of the field, not being endowed with reason, can keep company with one another more easily than men can. For if all men in the world were to worship and venerate a divine being in the same way, not much superstition and strife would emerge among them. Thus the city of Rome still retains a shadow of her old majesty, especially as all the world's peoples are co-ordinated and aligned with her, much like the limbs of a body are to its head."

The city is seen from the west in a conjectural bird's-eye view that was a major achievement in its day. It includes the most important buildings from antiquity, several aqueducts, the Aurelian Wall and large arterial streets. The three figures in Roman garb in the foreground underscore the aim of meticulous reconstruction. The first feature to strike the eye is Mont Testaccio on the far side of the Tiber in the lower right-hand edge of the picture, with the Pyramid of Cestius above it to the right. At the centre of the illustration the Marcellus Theatre can be identified above the island in the Tiber, with the vast Circus Maximus, used for chariot races, just above it to the right. Above that is the Palatine represented with intricately detailed buildings, an indication of the confusion at the time about how the seat of imperial power actually looked. To the north the Coliseum flanks the Palatine. In the lower left-hand part of the picture field is the Campus Martius, with the stadium of Domitian at the centre. The Piazza Navona now occupies the site. Slightly higher up is the Pantheon with its monumental dome, looking as it does today. On the lower left edge the two great imperial mausoleums have been imaginatively reconstructed: above the mausoleum of Augustus and below, at the bend in the river, that of Hadrian. In the lower left-hand corner, the Mons Vaticanus with the Circus built by Caligua and a Neronian palace are regognizable outside the city. The baths of Diocletan dominate the northeastern part of the city. The Castra Praetoria, the barracks of the Praetorian Guard, is shown below the city walls in the upper left-hand corner. (Taschen)


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 on 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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Antiquae Urbis Romae Imago Accuratiss: ex vetustis monumentis, ex vestigiis videlicet aedificior, moenium, ruinis, ... - Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg, 1590.

€1750  ($1960 / £1575)
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Item Number:  26937
Category:  Antique maps > Europe > Italy - Cities
References: Van der Krogt 4 - #3633; Fauser - State 2; Taschen, Br. Hog. - #11911/11912

Old, antique map - bird's-eye view plan of ancient Rome, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg.

Pianta antica a volo d'ucello dell'antica Roma, di Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg.

Printed on two sheets, with an extensive key to locations (1-269).

Second state (with the three supplementary lines of text after the title) of three.

Date of the first edition: 1588
Date of this map: 1590

Copper engraving, printed on two sheets of paper, not joined.
Size when joined (not including margins): 69.5 x 50cm (27.1 x 19.4 inches)
Verso text: German
Condition: Excellent.
Condition Rating: A+
References: Van der Krogt 4, 3633, State 2; Fauser, #11911/11912; Taschen, Br. Hog., p.338.

From: Contrafactur und Beschreibung von den vornembsten Stetten der Welt. Liber quartus Köln, Bertram Büchholtz, 1590. (Van der Krogt 4, 41:2.1)

TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: An accurate picture of ancient Rome: compiled from ancient monuments, traces of buildings, remains of the city walls, the testimony of coins, bronze, lead, stone and terracotta artefacts and reconstructed in this illustration and described by the Roman Pyrrhus Ligorius with all 14 regions into which the Emperor Caesar Augustus divided the city: Rome, the Queen of Cities, was, as tradition has it, founded by the Alban League (Alba Long) led by the youths Romulus and Remus, who were Numitor's grandsons, and named Rome after Romulus. Initially the city was confined to a square shape. Surrounded in the era of the kings and consuls by fortifications with three, or, according to Pliny, four gates, of varying thickness and appearance, it was given many gates when the wall encircling it was enlarged. The city encompassed seven hills and was divided into 14 regions, but the valleys and the level plains were filled with domed buildings that made them so like the hills that some of the hills can scarcely be distinguished from them. In the imperial era the city was adorned with stately buildings, which, of course, the upheavals of the period of barbarian incursions destroyed. Nevertheless, the present plate shows everything with great accuracy so that the viewer, if so inclined, can enjoy it with little effort.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "I believe, gentle reader, that the mind of almost no man is capable of imagining the appearance of the city of Rome in its entirety or explaining it, if he wishes to do justice to its beauty and political system before it was devastated and ravaged by foreign peoples. That is so especially since describing a city such as this does not seem a lesser or easier undertaking than if someone should take it upon himself to illustrate or to describe the entire world. [...] In our time the city of Rome is still so superior to others that all peoples and nations of the Holy Roman Church are more than willing to submit themselves to its authority, not through force of arms as in the old days, but through the power of religion. For religion makes men peacable, indeed makes even the savage and outlandish nations, as monstrous as they may be, more benevolent and mild. By contrast, differences in language and religion separate men from one another and alienate them from each other. That is why the dumb beasts of the field, not being endowed with reason, can keep company with one another more easily than men can. For if all men in the world were to worship and venerate a divine being in the same way, not much superstition and strife would emerge among them. Thus the city of Rome still retains a shadow of her old majesty, especially as all the world's peoples are co-ordinated and aligned with her, much like the limbs of a body are to its head."

The city is seen from the west in a conjectural bird's-eye view that was a major achievement in its day. It includes the most important buildings from antiquity, several aqueducts, the Aurelian Wall and large arterial streets. The three figures in Roman garb in the foreground underscore the aim of meticulous reconstruction. The first feature to strike the eye is Mont Testaccio on the far side of the Tiber in the lower right-hand edge of the picture, with the Pyramid of Cestius above it to the right. At the centre of the illustration the Marcellus Theatre can be identified above the island in the Tiber, with the vast Circus Maximus, used for chariot races, just above it to the right. Above that is the Palatine represented with intricately detailed buildings, an indication of the confusion at the time about how the seat of imperial power actually looked. To the north the Coliseum flanks the Palatine. In the lower left-hand part of the picture field is the Campus Martius, with the stadium of Domitian at the centre. The Piazza Navona now occupies the site. Slightly higher up is the Pantheon with its monumental dome, looking as it does today. On the lower left edge the two great imperial mausoleums have been imaginatively reconstructed: above the mausoleum of Augustus and below, at the bend in the river, that of Hadrian. In the lower left-hand corner, the Mons Vaticanus with the Circus built by Caligua and a Neronian palace are regognizable outside the city. The baths of Diocletan dominate the northeastern part of the city. The Castra Praetoria, the barracks of the Praetorian Guard, is shown below the city walls in the upper left-hand corner. (Taschen)


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 on 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.