The first volume of Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg's Civitates orbis terrarum was published in 1572 in Antwerp and Cologne. The first major town atlas of its kind, the Civitates was published by the Flemish map engraver Filips Galle. Galle was a friend of the great printer Christophe Plantin, to whom he sold the town atlas for resale. Only one volume of the atlas was planned for publication but the success of its sales led to the publication of further parts. In total, the atlas includes 363 plans, views and profiles of towns in Europe, Africa, Asia and America.
Vivid cartoons of local inhabitants give context to the maps but also provide a glimpse into citizens’ daily lives. According to the authors, the purpose of these figures is political: to prevent the Turks from gleaning strategic information from the maps, as they were forbidden by their religion to look upon depictions of humans.
Author: Georg Braun
Title: Civitates orbis terrarum, liber primus (Antwerp, 1575)
Shelfmark: D.4.1 (catalogue record)