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1715 Homann Map of the Holy Land / Israel / Palestine

Judæa seu Palæstina ob sacratissima Redemtoris vestigia hodie dicta Terra Sancta prout olim in duodecim tribus divisa, seperatis ab invicem Regnis Iuda et Israel expressis in super VI. ultimi temporis ejusdem Terræ Provinciis. - Main View

1715 Homann Map of the Holy Land / Israel / Palestine


The Twelve Tribes of Israel, with vignettes of the Exodus.


Judæa seu Palæstina ob sacratissima Redemtoris vestigia hodie dicta Terra Sancta prout olim in duodecim tribus divisa, seperatis ab invicem Regnis Iuda et Israel expressis in super VI. ultimi temporis ejusdem Terræ Provinciis.
  1715 (undated)     19.25 x 22.5 in (48.895 x 57.15 cm)     1 : 770000


This is a beautiful example of J. B. Homann's 1707 map of the Holy Land. As Homann noted in the map's title, it is derived from the work of the French mapmaker Guillaume Sanson (1633 - 1703). The map combines modern geographical information with place names drawn from Biblical history: specifically, the Exodus, and the settlement of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. It depicts the Mediterranean coast from Sidon (in modern-day Lebanon) to Alexandria (not named, but marked with Pompey's Pillar). The territories of the Tribes of Israel are marked, appearing on both sides of the Jordan. Mountains and forest regions are illustrated pictorially. Intriguingly, the Dead Sea contains the ruins of Sodom, Gomorrah, Adama, and Seboim - all destroyed for their sins.
The Vignettes
The map is superbly engraved, with Biblical vignettes both in the title cartouche and in the lower right. The title cartouche is flanked with putti, several of whom are fluttering about the Ark of the Covenant, half-obscured by clouds. At the base of the cartouche, Moses receives the Ten Commandments from the burning bush - meanwhile, in the background, Israelites worship the Golden Calf. In the lower right is an inset map showing the path of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan. Moses and Aaron consult the map. In the background, two of the dozen spies sent by Moses march by with a massive bunch of grapes set on their shoulders; judging by their positive, 'can-do' expressions, it would seem that these represent Joshua and Caleb.
Publication History and Census
This map was produced by Homann for inclusion in his Neuer Atlas as early as 1707. In 1715, Homann received an Imperial privilege for his Grosser Atlas, after which the privilege was added. This example, with the privilege, dates as early as 1715 but probably no later than the 1730s, as it still bears Homann's imprint and not that of his heirs. Homann's atlases are well represented in institutional collections. We see fifteen examples of this map cataloged in OCLC without the privilege; only two examples are noted with the privilege, and these are held at the Danish National Bibliotheque and the Royal Danish Library.


Johann Baptist Homann (March 20, 1664 - July 1, 1724) was the most prominent and prolific map publisher of the 18th century. Homann was born in Oberkammlach, a small town near Kammlach, Bavaria, Germany. As a young man Homann studied in a Jesuit school and nursed ambitions of becoming a Dominican priest before converting to Protestantism in 1687. Following his conversion, Homann moved to Nuremberg and found employment as a notary. Around 1693, Homann briefly relocated to Vienna, where he lived and studied printing and copper plate engraving until 1695. Afterwards he returned to Nuremberg where, in 1702, he founded the commercial publishing firm that would bear his name. In the next five years Homann produced hundreds of maps and developed a distinctive style characterized by heavy detailed engraving, elaborate allegorical cartouche work, and vivid hand color. The Homann firm, due to the lower cost of printing in Germany, was able to undercut the dominant French and Dutch publishing houses while matching the diversity and quality of their output. By 1715 Homann's rising star caught the attention of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, who appointed him Imperial Cartographer. In the same year he was also appointed a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Homann's prestigious title came with a number of important advantages including access to the most up to date cartographic information as well as the 'Privilege'. The Privilege was a type of early copyright offered to very few by the Holy Roman Emperor. Though not as sophisticated as modern copyright legislation, the Privilege did offer a kind of limited protection for several years. Most all J. B. Homann maps printed between 1715 and 1730 bear the inscription 'Cum Priviligio' or some variation. Following Homann's death in 1724, the management of the firm passed to his son, Johann Christoph Homann (1703 - 1730). J. C. Homann, perhaps realizing that he would not long survive his father, stipulated in his will that the company would be inherited by his two head managers, Johann Georg Ebersberger (1695 - 1760) and Johann Michael Franz (1700 - 1761), and that it would publish only under the name 'Homann Heirs'. This designation, in various forms (Homannsche Heirs, Heritiers de Homann, Lat Homannianos Herod, Homannschen Erben, etc..) appears on maps from about 1731 onwards. The firm continued to publish maps in ever diminishing quantities until the death of its last owner, Christoph Franz Fembo (1781 - 1848). More by this mapmaker...

Nicolas Sanson (December 20, 1600 - July 7, 1667) and his descendants were the most influential French cartographers of the 17th century and laid the groundwork for the Golden Age of French Cartography. Sanson was born in Picardy, but his family was of Scottish Descent. He studied with the Jesuit Fathers at Amiens. Sanson started his career as a historian where, it is said, he turned to cartography as a way to illustrate his historical studies. In the course of his research some of his fine maps came to the attention of King Louis XIII who, admiring the quality of his work, appointed Sanson Geographe Ordinaire du Roi. Sanson's duties in this coveted position included advising the king on matters of geography and compiling the royal cartographic archive. In 1644 he partnered with Pierre Mariette, an established print dealer and engraver, whose business savvy and ready capital enabled Sanson to publish an enormous quantity of maps. Sanson's corpus of some three hundred maps initiated the golden age of French mapmaking and he is considered the 'Father of French Cartography.' His work is distinguished as being the first of the 'Positivist Cartographers,' a primarily French school of cartography that valued scientific observation over historical cartographic conventions. The practice result of the is less embellishment of geographical imagery, as was common in the Dutch Golden Age maps of the 16th century, in favor of conventionalized cartographic representational modes. Sanson is most admired for his construction of the magnificent atlas Cartes Generales de Toutes les Parties du Monde. Sanson's maps of North America, Amerique Septentrionale (1650), Le Nouveau Mexique et La Floride (1656), and La Canada ou Nouvelle France (1656) are exceptionally notable for their important contributions to the cartographic perceptions of the New World. Both maps utilize the discoveries of important French missionaries and are among the first published maps to show the Great Lakes in recognizable form. Sanson was also an active proponent of the insular California theory, wherein it was speculated that California was an island rather than a peninsula. After his death, Sanson's maps were frequently republished, without updates, by his sons, Guillaume (1633 - 1703) and Adrien Sanson (1639 - 1718). Even so, Sanson's true cartographic legacy as a 'positivist geographer' was carried on by others, including Alexis-Hubert Jaillot, Guillaume De L'Isle, Gilles Robert de Vaugondy, and Pierre Duval. Learn More...


Homann, J. B., Neuer Atlas, (Homann: Nuremberg), c. 1715.    


Very good. Printer's crease at right, exhibiting no loss. Bold impression with original outline color.


Rumsey 12499.064. OCLC 874773263. Laor, E., Maps of the Holy Land: Cartobibliography of Printed Maps, 1475 - 1900, 340.