1681 Dapper view of Damascus, Syria

Damascus in Syrien Volgens des Afteeckening gedaen in 't Iaer 1668. - Main View

1681 Dapper view of Damascus, Syria


Beautifully Engraved 17th Century View of Damascus.


Damascus in Syrien Volgens des Afteeckening gedaen in 't Iaer 1668.
  1681 (dated)     12 x 15 in (30.48 x 38.1 cm)


This is a beautiful example of Jacob Meurs' engraved view of the Syrian city of Damascus, printed in 1681 as part of Olfert Dapper's history of Asia Minor and the Holy Land. The view is intended to portray the contemporaneous Muslim walled city; its mosques prominent. Some churches illustrated as well, though one of these, the Church of Saint Paul, is in ruins. In the foreground, noblemen in Ottoman styles converse as footmen lead their camels, replete with a covered chaise, towards the city. Before the walls of the city, the view presents a bustling scene of nobles, fishermen, cattle herders and soldiers.
The Source
Dapper, as a rule, does not seem to have visited the places in his histories, instead he compiled his tales from travel narratives. The same, it seems, can be said for the sources for his views. Although the perspectives used to depict the city differ, it must be said that the content of the Meurs/ Dapper view and that of the 'Braun and Hogenberg' a century prior are materially the same. That said, the differences in execution are striking, and Meurs' engraving shows the monumental development of the art of the engraver that took place over the course of the 17th century.
Publication History and Census
This view was engraved for inclusion in Dapper's 1681 Asia oder genaue und gründliche Beschreibung des gantzen Syrien und Palestins. The book is well represented in institutional collections. Examples of the separate view are catalogued in OCLC at George Washington University, the National Library of Israel, and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.


Olfert Dapper (1636 - December 29, 1689) was a Dutch geographer, polyglot, and historian. Born in Amsterdam, he attended the University of Utrecht, where he was registered as a student in 1658. Two years later he began signing doctor medicinæ, but there in no evidence that he ever received any medical training or education. Dapper published a five-volume book about the history of Amsterdam entitled, Historische Beschrijving der Stadt Amsterdam and in 1665 published a Dutch translation from the Greek of the Histories of Herodotus. His best-known work, Naukeurige Beschrijvingen der Afrikaensche gewesten (Description of Africa), was published in 1668 and subsequently published in English by John Ogilby in 1670 and in French in 1686. Although Dapper never traveled to Africa, he took advantage of numerous reports from adventurers in order to compile this authoritative work over the course of three years. More by this mapmaker...

Jacob van Meurs (c. 1620 - 1680) was a Dutch engraver active in Amsterdam during the second half of the 17th century. Van Meurs is best known for his collaboration with Arnoldus Montanus in the publication of numerous engraved maps and views for Montanus' various influential histories and travel narratives. Some of his most important works include a few of the earliest known views of the Americas (including New York City), Japan, and China. Learn More...


Dapper, O., Asia; oder, Genaue und gründliche Beschreibung des gantzen Syrien und Palestins, oder Gelobten Landes, (Amsterdam) 1681.    


Excellent. slight toning to edges and faint wear to centerfold, else fine.


OCLC 163522722.