Catalog Archive
Auction 130, Lot 623

"Ostia", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Ostia, Italy

Period: 1588 (circa)

Publication: Civitatis Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.5 x 11.5 inches
49.5 x 29.2 cm
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Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum or "Cities of the World" was published between 1572 and 1617. Within the six volumes, 531 towns and cities were depicted on 363 plates, providing the reader with the pleasures of travel without the attendant discomforts. Braun wrote in the preface to the third book, "What could be more pleasant than, in one's own home far from all danger, to gaze in these books at the universal form of the earth . . . adorned with the splendor of cities and fortresses and, by looking at pictures and reading the texts accompanying them, to acquire knowledge which could scarcely be had but by long and difficult journeys?" Braun and Hogenberg incorporated an astonishing wealth of information into each scene beyond the city layout and important buildings. The plates provide an impression of the economy and prominent occupations, and illustrate local costumes, manners and customs.

Bird's-eye plan of the ancient port and its fortifications enclosing the harbor. A masterpiece of Roman harbor fortification, Ostia was situated between the Tiber River and the Tyrrhenian Sea to guard the river mouth against sea borne invasions. It grew in prominence as a major Mediterranean shipping harbor as evidenced by the variety of ships shown in the harbor. A great statue stands in the harbor entrance, protected by an elaborate seawall. At lower right are the two sides of a Roman coin with the profile the emperor Claudius on one side and the harbor of Ostia on the opposite side. Latin text on verso.


Condition: B+

Fine old color and a good impression. There is some minor worm damage along the upper centerfold that has been expertly repaired. There is a repaired tear in the bottom margin, well removed from the image.

Estimate: $600 - $800

Sold for: $500

Closed on 12/2/2009