Fine early view of Augsburg, with two coats of arms and an extensive key locating important places, from Braun & Hogenberg's Civitas Orbis Terrarum, first published in 1572.
The translation of the title cartouche is as follows:
Following the catastrophic defeat of Varus and the subjugation of the Vandals, Octavianus Augustus conquered, rebuilt and enlarged Augusta Vindelicorum [Augsburg], a widely famed and very ancient city in Upper Germany. According to Strabo he settled 3,000 Romans here, from which the city took the name Augusta. Otto I repulsed a Hungarian attack in a heavy battle and restored Augsburg to the Empire. Augsburg's glory is based on lavish buildings, spacious and magnificent squares, extremeley defensive walls, moats and embankments, its significant turnover of goods, its internal constitution, its wealthy inhabitants and its care for the poor as well as its episcopal see, among other things.
The translation of the text on the verso is as follows:
The authorities of this city dedicate themselves in particular to caring for the poor. For as well as maintaining a hospice and an orphanage, in periods when the plague or syphilis were raging they also established a hospital, the Blatterhaus, to tend to and accomodate the afflicted. Furthermore, in 1519 and at their own expense, the Fugger family built about 100 houses for needy but respectable citizens in the suburb of St James, in effect a distinct quarter, which is called the Fuggerei.
The bird's-eye view of Augsburg shows the individual groups of buildings very clearly, including the Fuggerei (72, bottom left), mentioned by Braun and founded in 1514 as an enclosed housing complex for impoverished citizens. The cathedral (32, right) is a Romanesque building with Gothic elements. Directly beside the town hall (52) in the centre of the city lies the church of St Peter am Perlach (35). Its tall tower, called the Perlachturm, was remodelled in the 17th century and is a city landmark. The present town hall was begun in 1615 in the Renaissance style. The church of St Anne houses the burial chapel of the Fugger family; Martin Luther stayed at the affiliated monastery (23, above St Peter am Perlach) when he was summoned to Augsburg to defend his theses before the imperial diet in 1518. The Benedictine abbey of SS Ulrich and Afra (17) on the left-hand edge of the map dates from the 15th century, when Augsburg was home to some 30,000 inhabitants. During this period Augsburg was a center of German economic and intellectual life and frequently played host to imperial diets.
Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published. His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.
Frans Hogenberg (ca. 1540-ca. 1590) was a Flemish and German engraver and mapmaker who also painted. He was born in Mechelen, south of Antwerp, the son of wood engraver and etcher Nicolas Hogenberg. Together with his father, brother (Remigius), uncle, and cousins, Frans was one member of a prominent artistic family in the Netherlands.
During the 1550s, Frans worked in Antwerp with the famous mapmaker Abraham Ortelius. There, he engraved the maps for Ortelius’ groundbreaking first atlas, published in Antwerp in 1570, along with Johannes van Deotecum and Ambrosius and Ferdinand Arsenius. It is suspected he engraved the title page as well. Later, Ortelius supported Hogenberg with information for a different project, the Civitates orbis terrarium (edited by Georg Braun, engraved by Hogenberg, published in six volumes, Cologne, 1572-1617). Hogenberg engraved the majority of the work’s 546 prospects and views.
It is possible that Frans spent some time in England while fleeing from religious persecution, but he was living and working in Cologne by 1580. That is the city where he died around 1590. In addition to his maps, he is known for his historical allegories and portraits. His brother, Remigius, also went on to some fame as an engraver, and he died around the same time as his brother.