GEORG BRAUN & FRANS HOGENBERG, Calaris (Cagliari), Malta, Rhodus (Rhodes), Famaugusta (Famagusta), 1572 or later.

  • $ 4,500.00
    Unit price per 


Calaris, Malta, Rhodus, Famaugusta
Cologne: Frans Hogenberg, 1572 or later
Copperplate engraving with original hand-color
Paper size: 15 3/4" x 20 1/2"

c, by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg.

TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: Cagliari, first city of Sardinia, is divided into four parts. The inner city is surrounded by a very strong wall and is Cagliari proper; the eastern part is the New Town. The part facing south towards the Mediterranean is called La Gliapola or La Marina, and the western part Stampax. The three last are suburbs and extensions of Cagliari.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "The viceroy or royal governor lives in Cagliari with the counts and barons and other rich lords. However, the city has its own government: the King does not involve himself with its affairs, but each year they elect five aldermen who promise the interests of the city and distribute its income for the general good. They have the power to impose regulations on the citizens and to punish criminals with death."

The bird's-eye view of Cagliari clearly shows the division of the city into four parts: the Castello district within the inner city wall, representing the original core, and the three partially walled suburbs of Stampax (Stampace) on the left, Gliapola facing the harbour and Nova Villa, the New Town on the right. Identified within Castello are the Gothic cathedral of Santa Maria di Castello (Bischoflich Kirch), the viceroy's palace (Kunigs Pallast) and the town hall (Rath Hauss). Founded in the 7th century BC, the city served as a major centre of commerce in antiquity. Later ravaged by pirates, in the 11th century, Cagliari became part of the Kingdom of Aragon and the capital of the viceroyalty of Sardinia.


CARTOUCHE: Malta, formerly Melita, Malthacia in Antoninus, the best-known island in the Mediterranean, has a well-fortified city of the same name, which in 1565 won immortal fame by defeating the powerful Turkish armada.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "Malta lies in the middle of the sea, like a key at the entrance between Sicily and Africa. On the island there is a city of the same name with a massive, mighty castle, Fort St Elmo; during the Turkish war, a new town was built beside it, where Fort Sant'Angelo and Fort St Michael also stand. This city sheltered both St Paul and the Knights of St John after the Turks had taken Rhodes. In 1565 this Order defended the island from the mighty army and fleet of the Turks with manly courage and bravery and put them to flight."

A schematic drawing shows Malta with a strongly fortified harbour. Fort St Elmo can be seen on the left, with Fort Sant'Angelo across the water to its right and the star-shaped Fort St Michael further right again. The town - indicated in the present plate - that grew up around Fort St Elmo is called Valetta: it was founded in 1566 by Jean Parisot de la Valette, Grand Master of the Order of St John. From 1530 until its conquest by Napoleonic troops in 1789, the island lay under the rule of the Knights Hospitaller, who hence also took the name of the Knights of Malta. Today Valletta is the capital of the Republic of Malta, which comprises the three islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino.


CARTOUCHE: Rhodes gives the Mediterranean island its name; a town highly famed for the narrow circumference of its wall and for its safe harbour, today it lies under Turkish dominion.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "In earlier times there was a famous school of rhetoric in Rhodes, where amongst others Posidonius the philosopher and Thrasyllus the mathematician and other learned men of high regards were active. Pompey the Great and Emperor Tiberius heard them in Rhodes, as can be read in Cicero's Tusculanae disputationes. Many also went from Athens to Rhodes in order to study there; M.T. Cicero also sent his son to study here."

Rhodes is presented as a circular town with a well-fortifies harbour entrance. The town is surrounded by three impressive walls. The windmills just outside the harbour on the left are typical of Greek Islands. The city of Rhodes was designed c.408 BC by Hippodamus of Miletus. The Colossus of Rhodes, which represented the Greek god Helios, patron saint of Rhodes, was erected between 292 and 280 BC and numbered amongst the Seven Wonders of the World. Following the division of the Roman Empire, Rhodes formed part of the Eastern Empire and came under the varying rule of Arab occupying forces and Crusaders. From the 16th century until 1912 it belonged to the Ottoman Empire.


CARTOUCHE: Famagusta, a city on Cyprus, well fortified with tower and bulwarks, which in earlier years fell under the rule of the ferocious Turks.

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: "The island of Cyprus, which extends across the Mediterranean between Sicily and Syria and is a splendid kingdom, has two notable cities, namely Nicosia and Famagusta. [...] Famagusta possesses a harbour, as a result of which it became an important centre of commerce in the island. The city is so well fortified from the sea and from the land by Nature, as well as by the Venetians with their building skills, that it can withstand a massive enemy attack with no great damage. The Turk Selim II took both cities and the island from the Venetians, however, and placed them under his rule."

The bird's-eye view shows the city of Famagusta surrounded by a double set of city walls and containing private houses and the church of St Nicholas. Famagusta was founded in antiquity under the name of Arsinoe (after Arsinoe II of Egypt) and in the Middle Ages developed into an important centre of trade, where business was transacted above all between Asia, Venice and Genoa. Its geographical location made the city an important strategic base for the Crusaders. In 1374 the Genoese occupied Famagusta and held it until 1571 when it was conquered by the Ottomans. (Taschen)