"Urbium Praecipuarum Mundi Theatrum Quintum", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Title Pages
Period: 1596 (circa)
Color: Black & White
8.7 x 13.8 inches
22.1 x 35.1 cm
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.
This the terrific title page from the fifth volume of Braun and Hogenberg's groundbreaking the first modern atlas of town views and plans. According to Shirley, the engraving "symbolizes the trading and consequent international contacts of the expanding European city." Allegorical figures representing Peace and Justice embrace at top, flanked by a soldier who has amputated his own legs (a comment on the futility and senseless violence of war) and the Archangel Michael dominating a fallen demon. In the center, four feminine representations of the continents stand with their animal escorts, with the exception of Europe, who is shown with a globe. At bottom, six merchants converse and negotiate, five of them European in dress and one of them in a Turkish headdress, suggesting the importance of international trade. Latin text on verso.
References: Shirley (TP) #12.
A fine impression with a horn watermark. There are remnants of hinge tape on verso.