A Superb Example of One of Braun & Hogenberg's Views of Jerusalem.
Striking early plan of Jerusalem, from Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum, the most famous and influential book of town plans published in the 16th century.
The view shows Jerusalem as it was during biblical times on the left, and on the right is the city as it was when the view was published, in the late 16th century.
The inset in the lower right shows Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. A high priest is also shown in the scene, and his vestments are described in the book to the right of the image.
The cartouche text reads as follows:
Jerusalem, most famous city in the whole Orient and capital of Judaea, lay on two hills that rise above all the other surrounding elevations. These two hills were separated by a densely populated valley. (Josephus calls it Tyropoeon in Book 6 of his Jewish War.) The higher of the two hills is called Sion and is itself subdivided into three lesser elevations. In Chapter 5 of the Second Book of Kings, the first of these is called Mello, beside Mount Gion; here was built the ancient stronghold of Siloe that was occupied by the Jebusites and conquered by David, who also brought the Ark of the Covenant here and chose this site as his burial place. The Franciscan monastery, called Sion, was constructed on this very spot. Another elevation on the east side of Sion is called the Lower Town, where David's palace lay. He also resided here in person before he had conquered the Jebusite camp on the Mello. On another hill to the north lay Herod's palace. These three hills were surrounded by a common wall and are called the city of David. The other main hill has two parts, the first of which is called Solomon's palace, on the south side of the same mountain. Because the Temple stood on this hill, it was also surrounded by a wall and thereby connected to the city of David. The other part of this second main hill, opposite Mount Moriah and lying to its east, was called Acra. Its middle part was called Bezetha, which means "New Town". It, too, was surrounded by walls. Another middle part of Acra, opposite the Cedron Stream, includes the palace of the Assyrians; this was a suburb enclosed by walls. Thus the five hills of Jerusalem described here were surrounded by altogether four different circumference walls. Jerusalem is at the present time called Cuzumoharech by the Turks.
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.