Algerii Sarace norum urbis fortissimae…
1580 Braun & Hogenberg bird’s-eye-view of Algiers in original colors.
An attractive view of Algiers, including a numbered key legend.
This plate of Algiers depicts the formidably fortified town in a low bird’s-eye view, with a figure bottom left dressed in a turban and kaftan, the coloring of which matches that of the surrounding countryside. The fortress-like layout of the town conveniently located on a harbor features a well-laid out Old Town with five mosques, including, in the foreground, the Great Mosque (Q) from the 11th century. While Algiers belonged to the Kingdom of Aragon after the Reconquista in 1492, in the early 16th century many Moors, Moriscos and Corsairs made Algiers and Tunis their base. Among others Ferdinand, the Catholic, campaigned against their piracy; on the other side the Turks helped the North Africans and, with the exception of Morocco, the land became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1518-1519. Algiers is today the capital of Algeria, in which approximately 2.2 milion people live. (Taschen)
The Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Atlas of Cities of the World) by Hogenberg was the second oldest printed atlas in the history of the world cartography, and the first atlas of towns. Its principal creators and authors were the theologist and editor Georg Braun, the most important engraver and publisher Franz Hogenberg, the engraver Simon van den Neuvel, the artist and draftsman Georg (Joris) Hoefnagel, the topographer Jacob van Deventer and others. Although published outside the Netherlands, the Civitates is, nevertheless, one of the best examples of the work of the Antwerp school of cartographers. Some of the key figures in the school were Abraham Ortelius, Gerardus Mercator, and a number of other geographers. The Civitates reflects the Flemish style of engraving which was typical of Dutch atlases of the period. In addition, the correspondence between Braun, Hogenberg, and Ortelius contains clear indications that the idea to create the atlas was formulated by them in Antwerp.
Translation of cartouche text: View of Algiers, the most powerful town of the Saracens, built in the Numidian province of Africa. Situated on the edge of the Balearic Current in the Mediterranean Sea, across from Spain. Under Ottoman rule.
French text on verso.
Paper slightly age toned.
Taschen, Braun and Hogenberg, p. 199.