The Civitates Orbis Terrarum was the first atlas of world cities and one of the most important books published in the late 16th century. Edited by Georg Braun and largely engraved by Franz Hogenberg, the work eventually contained 546 prospects, bird-eye views and map views of cities from all over the world. The first volume of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum was published in Cologne in 1572. The sixth and the final volume appeared in 1617. Although led by Braun and Hogenberg, the books were created by a large team of writers, engravers, and artists. R.V. Tooley writes:

"The Civitates is one of the great books of the World... it was the first serious attempt to give graphic representations of the main cities of the World, with a wealth of factual detail. In the main, the buildings in each view are shown in elevation, and while the ordinary buildings are stylized, the principal buildings are reproduced from actual drawings on the spot, and these, and the main streets, can be recognized today.

Further, the editors gave additional factual information as a deliberately planned policy, such as the heraldic arms of the city, and the nature of the surrounding countryside, whether wooded or arable, grazing land, vineyards, or gardens. The importance of waterways is stressed by the careful delineation of stone bridges, wooden pontoons, flat-bottomed ferries, moles, wharves and jetties; the ports with ocean-going craft, the inland waters with river traffic. Varieties of land travel are depicted, pedestrians, horsemen, wagons, coaches, and palanquins.

Small vignettes illustrate the trade, occupations and habits of the locality, agriculture, paper-making and textiles. The law is represented by various forms of punishment, gibbets, wheels, floggings etc. A distinctive feature of the plates is the insertion of large figures in the foreground to illustrate local costume. Those figures are out of proportion necessarily. The general multiplication of detail slightly offends certain commentators who fail to appreciate the purpose of the editors.

Their primary aim was not to produce well-balanced landscapes, but to give as much information as possible in a pleasing visual form, in reality a kind of super guide book. This was done so magnificently that the result was an art as decorative as it was informative. The whole forms a wonderful compendium of life in Europe in the sixteenth century. And as city growth in early times, with a few obvious exceptions, was more or less static, even further it gives a visual printed record of mediaeval Europe, and is one of the most valuable sources remaining to the student and historian of these periods." (Tooley)

Braun, a cleric of Cologne, was the principal editor of the work, and was greatly assisted in his project by the close, and continued interest of Abraham Ortelius, whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1570 was, as a systematic and comprehensive collection of maps of uniform style, the first true atlas. The Civitates, indeed, was intended as a companion for the Theatrum, as indicated by the similarity in the titles and by contemporary references regarding the complementary nature of two works.

Nevertheless, the Civitates was designs to be more popular in approach, no doubt because the novelty of a collection of city plans and views represented a more hazardous commercial undertaking than a world atlas, for which there had been a number of successful precedents. Franz Hogenberg (1535-1590) was the son of a Munich engraves who settled in Malines. He engraved most of the plates for Ortelius's Theatrum and the majority of those in the Civitates, and may have been responsible for originating the project.

Over a hundred of different artists and cartographers, the most significant of whom was Antwerp artist Georg (Joris) Hoefnagel (1542-1600), engraved the cooper-plates of the Civitates from drawings. He not only contributed most of the original material for the Spanish and Italian towns but also reworked and modified those of other contributors. After Hoefnagel's death his son Jakob continued the work for the Civitates.

A large number of Jacob van Deventer (1505-1575), also known as Jacob Roelofszof, unpublished works, plans of towns of the Netherlands were copied, as were Stumpf's woodcuts from the Schweizer Chronik of 1548, and Munster's German views from the 1550 and 1572 editions of his Cosmographia. Another important source for maps was the Danish cartographer Heinrich van Rantzau (1526-1599), better known under his Latin name Rantzovius, who provided maps of Northern Europe, specially of Danish cities. The Civitates provided a uniquely comprehensive view of urban life at the turn of the sixteenth century. Other sources were the maps of Sebastian Munster from around 1550 and and of.

Braun added to the maps figures in local dress. This feature was anticipated in Hans Lautensack's etched view of Nuremberg, 1552, those groups of citizens in the rural foreground add further authenticity to the highly accurate topographical details of what was effectively Germany's cultural capital at that time. Braun's motives for adding figures to the views, however, went further: as stated in his introduction to book 1, he believed, perhaps optimistically, that his plans would not in consequence be scrutinized for military secrets by the Turks, as their religion forbade them from looking on representations of the human form.

The plans, each accompanies by Braun's printed account of the town's history, situation and commerce, form an armchair traveler's compendium, which the scholar Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy of 1621 asserted would not only provide instructions but would uplift the spirit as well.

Volumes:

  • [1] Civitates orbis terrarum, first edition 1572.
  • [2] De praecipuis, totius universi urbibus, liber secundus, first edition 1575.
  • [3] Urbium praecipuarum totius mundi, liber tertius, first edition 1581.
  • [4] Urbium praecipuarum totius mundi, liber quartus, first edition 1588.
  • [5] Urbium praecipuarum mundi theatrum quintum, first edition 1596.
  • [6] Theatri praecipuarum totius mundi urbium liber sextus, first edition 1617.

"Privilegium Caesareae maiestatis, which occurs in each volume generally on the reverse of the title page, refers to Francis Hogenberg as the author's collaborator."--Phillips. Colophon of v. 1: Coloniae Agrippinae, apud Petrum Brachel, sumptibus auctorum. Colophon of v. 6: Coloniae Agrippinae, Antonius Hierat & Abrahamus Hoghenberg. Collaborators and artists whose works these maps were based on include George and Jacob Hoefnagel, Simon Novellanus, Jacob van Deventer, Heinrich Rantzau, etc.

Includes indexes. Descriptive text on verso of plates.

1 atlas (6 v. in 3) : hand col. ill., hand col. maps (some folded) ; 43 cm.

Library of Congress Call Number/Physical Location: G1028 .B7 1612.

References:

Ronald VereTooley, Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers, 1979,N.Y

R.V. Tooley, preface to the reproduction edition of Civitates Orbis Terrarum, World Publishing, 1966

Koeman B&H 1-6; van der Krogt 41:1.1 (1640). This is van der Krogt's XVIII edition, c. 1640, the last edition of six volumes. Van der Krogt dates the individual volumes as 1 (c. 1640, 11th ed.), 2 (c. 1640, 9th ed.), 3 (c. 1623, 7th ed.), 4 (c. 1635, 7th ed.), 5 (c. 1640, 5th ed.), 6 (c. 1635, 3rd ed.). All six volumes are printed by Peter von Brachel between 1823 and 1640, with the texts reset by him and the plates used generally from first or second editions. We date the volumes, texts and plates separately, using Van der Krogt's listings. There are 546 plans/views of cities on 363 plates. The title for the series of six volumes is taken from the first volume which is general practice. The other five volumes are titled individually. The original publication dates are vol I, 1572; vol II, 1575; vol III, 1581; vol IV, c.1588; vol V, c.1598; vol VI, 1617.

 
0. Book Display
1. Front Cover
10. Bilvao
11. Santander
12. Orleans and Bovrges
13. Rochella Mvnitissimvm Galliae Opp
14. Maseille
15. Avignon
16. Bloys
17. Mets
18. Vesontio Seqvanorvm 1575
19. Blanmont
2. De Praecipvis Totivs Vniversi Vrbibvs Liber Secvndvs
20. Lympvrch
21. Hvvm
22. Namvrcvm 1575
23. Traiectvm Ad Mosam
24. Hypra Flandriarvm Civitas Mvnitissima
25. Dvynkercke Grevelinge and Borborch
26. Dordracvm Vulgo Dortt
27. Leyden 1574
28. Harlemvm
29. Brilivm Holandiae Opp
3. Cantebrigia
30. Middelbvrgvm Selandiae Opp
31. Noviomagivm Vulgo Nymmegen
32. Icon Ciuitatis Campensis
33. Groninga
34. Emvda Vulgo Embden
35. Novesivm Vulgo Heus Verona Brvia et Sontina 1575
36. Cliviam Dvisbvrgvm Embrica and Gennapivm
37. Calcaria
38. Wissenbvrgvm Rvbreacvm Colmaria Badense Oppidvm Vulgo Oben Baden
39. Hala
4. Oxonivm Nobile Anglie Oppidum Vindesorivm
40. Campidonia
41. Fribergvm Misinae
42. Basilea
43. Constantia Vulgo Costnitz S. Galli Opp
44. Oenipons Vulgo Inspruck 1575
45. Nvrnberg
46. Misena Hermvndvrorvm Vrbs
47. Gorlitz
48. Dantzigt
49. Moscavw Moscovia
5. Alhama 1564
50. Grodna
51. Vrbis Romae 1570
52. Mantva 1575
53. Pvteoli and Baiae
54. Sibinium Vulgo Sibenicho Parens Modom
55. Candia La Cita De Corphv
56. Hierosolyma Vrbs Sancta
57. Damascvs
58. Alexandria
59. Tvnes 1535 Africa Olim Aphodisivm Penon De Veles
6. Ante Qvera
60. Tvnetis Vrbis 1574
61. Algerii Saracenorum Vrbis Fortissimae
62. Back Cover
7. Vegel And Velis Mallaga
8. Conil Xeres De La Frontera
9. Loxa

Publisher: [Coloniae Agrippinae : apud Petrum à Brachel, sumptibus auctorum, 1575-1618]

Language(s):

Latin

ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-08-06

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Maps

Map Name
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Cantebrigia (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Oxonivm Nobile Anglie Oppidum Vindesorivm (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Alhama 1564 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Ante Qvera (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Vegel And Velis Mallaga (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Conil Xeres De La Frontera (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Loxa (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Bilvao (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Santander (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Orleans and Bovrges (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Rochella Mvnitissimvm Galliae Opp (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Maseille (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Avignon (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Bloys (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Mets (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Vesontio Seqvanorvm 1575 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Blanmont (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Lympvrch (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Hvvm (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Namvrcvm 1575 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Traiectvm Ad Mosam (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Hypra Flandriarvm Civitas Mvnitissima (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Dvynkercke Grevelinge and Borborch (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Dordracvm Vulgo Dortt (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Leyden 1574 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Harlemvm (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Brilivm Holandiae Opp (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Middelbvrgvm Selandiae Opp (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Noviomagivm Vulgo Nymmegen (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Icon Ciuitatis Campensis (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Groninga (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Emvda Vulgo Embden (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Novesivm Vulgo Heus Verona Brvia et Sontina 1575 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Cliviam Dvisbvrgvm Embrica and Gennapivm (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Calcaria (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Wissenbvrgvm Rvbreacvm Colmaria Badense Oppidvm Vulgo Oben Baden (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Hala (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Campidonia (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Fribergvm Misinae (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Basilea (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Constantia Vulgo Costnitz S. Galli Opp (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Oenipons Vulgo Inspruck 1575 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Nvrnberg (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Misena Hermvndvrorvm Vrbs (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Gorlitz (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Dantzigt (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Moscavw Moscovia (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Grodna (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Vrbis Romae 1570 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Mantva 1575 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Pvteoli and Baiae (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Sibinium Vulgo Sibenicho Parens Modom (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Candia La Cita De Corphv (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Hierosolyma Vrbs Sancta (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Damascvs (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Alexandria (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Tvnes 1535 Africa Olim Aphodisivm Penon De Veles (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Tvnetis Vrbis 1574 (1575)
Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 2 - Algerii Saracenorum Vrbis Fortissimae (1575)

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