History Archive > Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 6 (1617)

[Volume 6] Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Civitates Orbis Terrarvm)


Date: 1617



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Braun, Georg, Hogenberg, Frans, Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 6. [Coloniae Agrippinae : apud Petrum à Brachel, sumptibus auctorum, 1575-1618]. 1617.


Braun, Georg, Hogenberg, Frans, (1617) Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 6. [Coloniae Agrippinae : apud Petrum à Brachel, sumptibus auctorum, 1575-1618].


Braun, Georg, Hogenberg, Frans, Civitates Orbis Terrarum Vol. 6. [Coloniae Agrippinae : apud Petrum à Brachel, sumptibus auctorum, 1575-1618]. 1617.


The Civitates Orbis Terrarum was the first atlas of world cities and one of the most important books published in the late 16th century. Edited by Georg Braun and largely engraved by Franz Hogenberg, the work eventually contained 546 prospects, bird-eye views and map views of cities from all over the world. The first volume of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum was published in Cologne in 1572. The sixth and the final volume appeared in 1617. Although led by Braun and Hogenberg, the books were created by a large team of writers, engravers, and artists. R.V. Tooley writes:

"The Civitates is one of the great books of the World... it was the first serious attempt to give graphic representations of the main cities of the World, with a wealth of factual detail. In the main, the buildings in each view are shown in elevation, and while the ordinary buildings are stylized, the principal buildings are reproduced from actual drawings on the spot, and these, and the main streets, can be recognized today.

Further, the editors gave additional factual information as a deliberately planned policy, such as the heraldic arms of the city, and the nature of the surrounding countryside, whether wooded or arable, grazing land, vineyards, or gardens. The importance of waterways is stressed by the careful delineation of stone bridges, wooden pontoons, flat-bottomed ferries, moles, wharves and jetties; the ports with ocean-going craft, the inland waters with river traffic. Varieties of land travel are depicted, pedestrians, horsemen, wagons, coaches, and palanquins.

Small vignettes illustrate the trade, occupations and habits of the locality, agriculture, paper-making and textiles. The law is represented by various forms of punishment, gibbets, wheels, floggings etc. A distinctive feature of the plates is the insertion of large figures in the foreground to illustrate local costume. Those figures are out of proportion necessarily. The general multiplication of detail slightly offends certain commentators who fail to appreciate the purpose of the editors.

Their primary aim was not to produce well-balanced landscapes, but to give as much information as possible in a pleasing visual form, in reality a kind of super guide book. This was done so magnificently that the result was an art as decorative as it was informative. The whole forms a wonderful compendium of life in Europe in the sixteenth century. And as city growth in early times, with a few obvious exceptions, was more or less static, even further it gives a visual printed record of mediaeval Europe, and is one of the most valuable sources remaining to the student and historian of these periods." (Tooley)

Braun, a cleric of Cologne, was the principal editor of the work, and was greatly assisted in his project by the close, and continued interest of Abraham Ortelius, whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1570 was, as a systematic and comprehensive collection of maps of uniform style, the first true atlas. The Civitates, indeed, was intended as a companion for the Theatrum, as indicated by the similarity in the titles and by contemporary references regarding the complementary nature of two works.

Nevertheless, the Civitates was designs to be more popular in approach, no doubt because the novelty of a collection of city plans and views represented a more hazardous commercial undertaking than a world atlas, for which there had been a number of successful precedents. Franz Hogenberg (1535-1590) was the son of a Munich engraves who settled in Malines. He engraved most of the plates for Ortelius's Theatrum and the majority of those in the Civitates, and may have been responsible for originating the project.

Over a hundred of different artists and cartographers, the most significant of whom was Antwerp artist Georg (Joris) Hoefnagel (1542-1600), engraved the cooper-plates of the Civitates from drawings. He not only contributed most of the original material for the Spanish and Italian towns but also reworked and modified those of other contributors. After Hoefnagel's death his son Jakob continued the work for the Civitates.

A large number of Jacob van Deventer (1505-1575), also known as Jacob Roelofszof, unpublished works, plans of towns of the Netherlands were copied, as were Stumpf's woodcuts from the Schweizer Chronik of 1548, and Munster's German views from the 1550 and 1572 editions of his Cosmographia. Another important source for maps was the Danish cartographer Heinrich van Rantzau (1526-1599), better known under his Latin name Rantzovius, who provided maps of Northern Europe, specially of Danish cities. The Civitates provided a uniquely comprehensive view of urban life at the turn of the sixteenth century. Other sources were the maps of Sebastian Munster from around 1550 and and of.

Braun added to the maps figures in local dress. This feature was anticipated in Hans Lautensack's etched view of Nuremberg, 1552, those groups of citizens in the rural foreground add further authenticity to the highly accurate topographical details of what was effectively Germany's cultural capital at that time. Braun's motives for adding figures to the views, however, went further: as stated in his introduction to book 1, he believed, perhaps optimistically, that his plans would not in consequence be scrutinized for military secrets by the Turks, as their religion forbade them from looking on representations of the human form.

The plans, each accompanies by Braun's printed account of the town's history, situation and commerce, form an armchair traveler's compendium, which the scholar Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy of 1621 asserted would not only provide instructions but would uplift the spirit as well.


  • [1] Civitates orbis terrarum, first edition 1572.
  • [2] De praecipuis, totius universi urbibus, liber secundus, first edition 1575.
  • [3] Urbium praecipuarum totius mundi, liber tertius, first edition 1581.
  • [4] Urbium praecipuarum totius mundi, liber quartus, first edition 1588.
  • [5] Urbium praecipuarum mundi theatrum quintum, first edition 1596.
  • [6] Theatri praecipuarum totius mundi urbium liber sextus, first edition 1617.

"Privilegium Caesareae maiestatis, which occurs in each volume generally on the reverse of the title page, refers to Francis Hogenberg as the author's collaborator."--Phillips. Colophon of v. 1: Coloniae Agrippinae, apud Petrum Brachel, sumptibus auctorum. Colophon of v. 6: Coloniae Agrippinae, Antonius Hierat & Abrahamus Hoghenberg. Collaborators and artists whose works these maps were based on include George and Jacob Hoefnagel, Simon Novellanus, Jacob van Deventer, Heinrich Rantzau, etc.

Includes indexes. Descriptive text on verso of plates.

1 atlas (6 v. in 3) : hand col. ill., hand col. maps (some folded) ; 43 cm.

Library of Congress Call Number/Physical Location: G1028 .B7 1612.


Ronald VereTooley, Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers, 1979,N.Y

R.V. Tooley, preface to the reproduction edition of Civitates Orbis Terrarum, World Publishing, 1966

Koeman B&H 1-6; van der Krogt 41:1.1 (1640). This is van der Krogt's XVIII edition, c. 1640, the last edition of six volumes. Van der Krogt dates the individual volumes as 1 (c. 1640, 11th ed.), 2 (c. 1640, 9th ed.), 3 (c. 1623, 7th ed.), 4 (c. 1635, 7th ed.), 5 (c. 1640, 5th ed.), 6 (c. 1635, 3rd ed.). All six volumes are printed by Peter von Brachel between 1823 and 1640, with the texts reset by him and the plates used generally from first or second editions. We date the volumes, texts and plates separately, using Van der Krogt's listings. There are 546 plans/views of cities on 363 plates. The title for the series of six volumes is taken from the first volume which is general practice. The other five volumes are titled individually. The original publication dates are vol I, 1572; vol II, 1575; vol III, 1581; vol IV, c.1588; vol V, c.1598; vol VI, 1617.

List of Images

0. Book Display

1. Front Cover

2. Theatri Praecipvarvm Totivs Mvndi Vrbivs Liber Sextvs

3. Civitas Exoniae Vulgo Excester

4. Yorke Shrowesbvry Lancaster et Richmont

5. Galwaye Dvbline Lymericke et Corcke

6. Scenographia Totivs Fabricae S Laurentii In Escorali

7. Cordvba

8. Portrait Sainct Germain En Laye Portrait Fontaine Belleav

9. Vrbs Nancei Lotharingiae et La Ville De Nancy 1617

10. Description De La Ville De Bar Faicte L An 1617

11. Hagae Comitis

12. Amstelodamvm

13. Ostenda

14. Dillenbvrg et Segen

15. Bvdingen 1617

16. Scopa Vulgo Schvepa 1617

17. Bambergae

18. Hailbrvnna Mvlhvsivm et Revtlinga

19. Lipsiae Insignnis Saxoniae Urbis 1617

20. Nissa Silesior et Ligincivm

21. Marienberg Misniae Civitas

22. Penigk 1617

23. Vienna Austriae

24. Eisenstadivm Vulgo Eisnstat et Mannersdorf 1617

25. Ens 1617

26. S. Polid Vulgo Sanpolten

27. Czaslavivm Vulgo Czasla Bohemiae Civitas et Commoda Vulgo Comethav

28. Lavna Vulgo Lavn Bohemiae Civitates et Schlanivm Vulgo Schlani

29. Polna Volga Polm

30. Castanowiz 1617

31. Brvnn Vulgo Brinn Marchionatus Morauiae Ciuitas insignis

32. Bvda Citerioris Hvngariae

33. Cassovia Svperioris Hvngariae Civitatas Primaria

34. Agria Vulgo Erla

35. Zolnock Superioris Hungariae Civitas

36. Dotis

37. Papa Inferioris Hungariae Oppidvm

38. Petrina

39. Sanctonicolavm

40. Zaros Superioris Hungariae Civitatas and Propugnaculum

41. Palanka Superioris Hungariae Civitatas

42. Varadinvm

43. Clavdiopolis Coloswar Vulgo Clavsenbvrg Transiluaniae Civitas Primaria

44. Castanowiz Civitiae Propugnaculum

45. Cracovia Metropolis Regni Poloniae

46. Cracovia Minoris Poloniae Metropolis

47. Mons Calvariae 1600

48. Posnania et Crosno

49. Varsovia

50. Tipvs Civitatis Lvblinesi In Regno Poloniae

51. Leopolis

52. Sendomiria et Biecz

53. Lovicensis Civitas

54. Arx Premislia Celebris Rvssiae Civitas

55. Zamoscivm Noua Poloniae Ciuitas

56. Moscovia Vrbs Metropolis Totius Russiae Albae

57. Patavivm Nobilissima

58. Novara

59. Tricaricvm Basilicatae Civitas

60. Prospectuvs Freti Sicvli Vulgo Il Faro Di Messina 1617

61. Back Cover

Publication Information

Publisher: [Coloniae Agrippinae : apud Petrum à Brachel, sumptibus auctorum, 1575-1618]



ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-08-06

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