Rare first state of the the first map to illustrate the Low Countries as a Lion, engraved by Franz Hogenberg, from the 1579 edition of Michael Aitzinger's important early history of the Low Countries.
The Seventeen Provinces mapped as a lion was first illustrated by the Austrian nobleman Baron Michael Aitzinger. This image of 'Leo Belgicus' proved very popular, with a number of other maps of the Low Countries in the shape of a lion (Leo Belgicus and Leo Hollandicus) published over the next 50 years.
Michael Aitzinger was an Austrian nobleman, diplomat, historian, and publicist, who wrote and published several works, including a renowned volume that states the principles of a genealogical numbering system. His most famous cartography work was Novus de Leone Belgico, first published in 1583 that included the first cartographic representation of the Low Countries as Leo Belgicus. The lion motif was inspired by the heraldic figures that appear in the coats of arms of several Dutch constituencies, as well as in the arms of William of Orange. The map was published during the period when the Netherlands was fighting the Eighty Years' War for independence from Spain.
The first edition can be distinguished from later editions, which include a coat of arms on the back left paw of the Lion and the name Elizabeth to its left, which was added in to the second edition of the map.