"Damascus, Urbs Nobilissima ad Libanum Montem, Totius Syriae Metropolis", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Damascus, Syria
Period: 1582 (published)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. II
Color: Black & White
13.9 x 12.5 inches
35.3 x 31.8 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.
Set against a background of mountains, this handsome bird's-eye plan of the ancient city shows its defensive walls with the Umayyaden mosques at center. The fine buildings, mosques, ruins and gardens are beautifully presented and Arab figures, camels and palm trees are shown in the foreground. At left outside the city walls is a notation regarding the location where Cain struck down Abel, and at bottom left is the memorial church built where Jesus appeared to Paul as he persecuted the Christians. Latin text on verso.
References: Fussel, pp. 192-94; Van der Krogt (Vol. IV) #993.
A nice impression with light toning along the centerfold and a pair of wormtracks in the image at top center.