"De Bello Belgico [with book] R.P. Famiani Stradae Romani e Societate Iesu de Bello Belgico Decas Prima", Strada, Famiamo, S.J.
Subject: Title Pages, Low Countries
Period: 1649 (dated)
Color: Black & White
3.6 x 6.2 inches
9.1 x 15.7 cm
The most famous of all cartographic curiosities is the Leo Belgicus, in which the Low Countries were depicted in the form of a lion. This curious form of cartography is one of the highpoints in the Golden Age of mapmaking. This version is based on the original 1583 Aitsinger form with the lion standing facing right with a paw raised and holding a shield. This is one of the larger of the Famianus Strada versions, used as a frontispiece for part one of his pro-Spanish and pro-Catholic book on the Dutch war of independence. It is beautifully engraved with a stippled sea filled with ships and a sea monster. While the miniature Leo Belgicus maps are occasionally found on the market, the larger ones are quite rare.
The frontispiece appears in the popular history describing the war between the Low Countries and Spain from a pro-Spanish and pro-Catholic viewpoint. Famiamo Strada was a Jesuit and teacher at the Collegium Romanum in Rome. 12mo, 629 pages, and an extended index. Hardbound in full contemporary leather with elaborate gilt armorial plate on front cover, and gilt tooling and title on spine.
References: Tooley (MCC-7) #26.
The Leo Belgicus is clean and bright with the exception of a very small damp stain at far left, which also appears on the title page and first 100 pages of text. The text is also bright with minor occasional soiling or spots of foxing. The text block has become a little loose, particularly at the front. The covers show light wear with bumped corners and a few small chips. The spine has a number of chips and cracks, and the raised bands are missing.