1582 – G. BRAUN & F. HOGENBERG – Civitates orbis Terrarum


Title:                      “Abrahami Ortelii Quem Urbs Urbium Antverpia edidit…

Very decorative title page published in the atlas “Civitates Orbis Terrarum” by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg. It shows a façade with a statue of the Magna Mater (Great Mother), the source of all wisdom and knowledge in ancient Greek mythology. The Magna Mater holds in her right hand a carpenter’s level, and in her left hand a golden compass and a carpenter’s square, instruments of building and construction. This symbolizes that she taught humanity the art of laying the foundations of great buildings.

The facade with the statue is flanked by two stone columns topped by globes with the words POSTERITATI and CONSVLTVM.
In front of the left column stands Pallas Athene (Minerva), the Greek goddess of wisdom and reason, the patron goddess of towns. She is described as ARCIVM INVENTRIX, the inventor of fortresses.
On the right side stands Cain, naked except for an animal skin and in his left hand an ox’s jawbone. He is described as OPPIDOR. AVCTOR: the designer of towns. As Braun explains in his foreword, Cain had built the first town, named Enoch, after murdering his brother – the ox’s jawbone is the murder weapon.

The lower frieze of the structures shows three visions of the earliest stages of the settlement of mankind, illustrating the first three paragraphs of Braun’s foreword (which have the same titles): – Centre: CONSOCIAT. HVMANI GEN. ORIGO. (consociationis humani generis origo, origin of the amalgamation of mankind): mankind learns the use of fire after lightning struck a tree (Vitrivius, Architectura ).
– Right: DOMICIL. TYROCIN. (domicilii tyrocinium, the first appearance of settlements): the undertaking of husbandry and cultivation of the fields.
– Left: ARCHITECT. RVDIM. (architecturae rudimentum, the rudiments of architecture): making rudimentary huts and building walls.

Latin text on verso.

Cartographer:        Abraham Ortelius (1527 – 1598)​
Sheet size:          42,5 x 27,8 cm
Year:                   1582
Technique:           copper engraving

Good condition! Strong press on heavy paper. Split professionally restored.

​Due to the age of this map some imperfections to be expected!

This is an original antique title page published in 1582 and NOT a modern copy or reprint!

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