1782 Delisle de Sales Map of Ancient Germany

Carte de l'Ancienne Germanie. - Main View

1782 Delisle de Sales Map of Ancient Germany




Carte de l'Ancienne Germanie.
  1782 (undated)     9 x 14 in (22.86 x 35.56 cm)     1 : 5000000


This is a fine 1782 map of Ancient Germany by Jean- Baptiste-Claude Delisle de Sales. Centered on Bohemia, the map covers the lands of the Germanic people prior to the fall of the Roman Empire, from modern day Denmark to the Adriatic Sea and from France to Lithuania. Several important cities and towns are identified throughout, along with rivers, lakes and other topography. Mountains are beautifully rendered in profile.

At the time, 'Germania' was a name given to the lands between the Alps and the Baltic Sea. The region was inhabited mainly by Germanic, but also Celtic, Baltic, Scythian, proto-Slavic people. Caesar Augustus described the Germanic tribesmen north of the Roman Empire as extremely savage and a threat to Roman Gaul to be conquered. His Roman Legions, led by generals Germanicus and Tiberius, conquered Germania Magna to the River Elbe, and occupied it until the Romans were defeated at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, in 9AD. The Romans withdrew, establishing the Rhine and the Danube Rivers as Germanic boundary of the Roman Empire.

Tacitus wrote in Germania in 98 BC:
…they affirm Germania to be a recent word, lately bestowed. For those who first passed the Rhine and expulsed the Gauls, and are now named Tungrians, were then called Germani. And thus by degrees the name of a tribe prevailed, not that of the nation; so that by an appellation at first occasioned by fear and conquest, they afterwards chose to be distinguished, and assuming a name lately invented were universally called Germani .
This map was issued as part of Delisle de Sales' Histoire des Hommes. Partie de l'Histoire Moderne. This volume is exceedingly rare as most of Sales' work was burnt under the censorship of heresy.


Jean-Baptiste-Claude Delisle de Sales or Jean-Baptiste Isoard de Lisle (1741–1816) was a French philosopher, historian, and accused heretic active in the late 18th century. Sales is best known for his publication of the multi-volume opus The Philosophy of Nature: Treatise on Human Moral Nature. The work, among other ideas, challenged the Biblical theory that the earth was created in 4004 BC. Instead, Sales put forth the theory based upon astronomical observations, that the earth was 140,000 years old. Sales' revolutionary ideas caused him to be declared a heretic by the Catholic Church. His publications were subsequently censored and, for the most part, destroyed. As a consequence all of his works are today extremely rare. Sales was also, notably, a close friend of Voltaire who in 1777 visited him in prison, gifting him 500 pounds towards his release. Delisle de Sales is unrelated to the more famous De L'Isle family of cartographers. More by this mapmaker...


Delisle de Sales, Histoire des Hommes. Partie de l'Histoire Moderne, (Paris) 1782.    


Very good. Minor wear along original fold lines. Original platemark visible. Minor worm holes visible in lower quadrants. Blank on verso.