1588 Münster Map of the Siege of Metz

Der Statt Metz circkel, Mauren und porten, und fürnemste baüw, sampt der belaegerung, hienach verzeichnet durch bůchstaben. - Main View

1588 Münster Map of the Siege of Metz


A Detailed Diagram of a Late Medieval Siege.


Der Statt Metz circkel, Mauren und porten, und fürnemste baüw, sampt der belaegerung, hienach verzeichnet durch bůchstaben.
  1554 (undated)     11 x 6.25 in (27.94 x 15.875 cm)     1 : 150000


This fascinating woodcut is a plan of the Habsburg siege of the French city of Metz (October 1552 - January 1553). It appeared in editions of Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia beginning in 1554, added to that work by its publisher Heinrich Petri. The plan illustrates the outline of the walled city, its surrounding rivers and roads, its principal structures (including the great Cathedral,) and the encampments of the besieging Imperial armies.
The Italian War
The siege was part of the 'Italian War' (1551 - 1559), fought by the Holy Roman Empire under Charles V against the French, ruled by Henry II. The 1552 Treaty of Chambord (January 15, 1552) had resulted in France's acquisition of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, traded to France by rebelling Protestant German princes in return for French assistance against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The Emperor responded by besieging the city. The defending force of 6,000, led by the Duke of Guise, withstood the siege by an Imperial army of no fewer than 20,000 men. The defense was aided by foul weather, famine, and plague within the Imperial camp. The siege is well documented, due to King Henry having sent his famous surgeon, Ambroise Pare, to aid the defenders.
Adding to the Cosmographia
The siege depicted here took place after Münster's May 1552 death by plague, and this plan does not appear in Munster's work prior to 1554. Münster himself had constantly labored to add to his work until his death, both adding to the text as well as ordering the production of improved city views and decorative woodcuts. His publisher Heinrich Petri and his son, Sebastian Petri both continued to do so.
Publication History and Census
Munster's Cosmographia was a popular work, and as many as fifty thousand were printed. While many of these did not survive, individual maps do appear on the market from time to time. The separate woodcut is listed in OCLC by only a few institutional collections, although the full work is well represented. This work first appeared in the 1554 Latin edition of Münster's book. Pagination of this specific example is consistent with the 1588 German edition of Cosmographey.


Heinrich Petri (1508 - 1579) and his son Sebastian Henric Petri (1545 – 1627) were printers based in Basel, Switzerland. Heinrich was the son of the printer Adam Petri and Anna Selber. After Adam died in 1527, Anna married the humanist and geographer Sebastian Münster - one of Adam's collaborators. Sebastian contracted his stepson, Henricus Petri (Petrus), to print editions of his wildly popular Cosmographia. Later Petri, brought his son, Sebastian Henric Petri, into the family business. Their firm was known as the Officina Henricpetrina. In addition to the Cosmographia, they also published a number of other seminal works including the 1566 second edition of Nicolaus Copernicus's De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium and Georg Joachim Rheticus's Narratio. Learn More...

Sebastian Münster (January 20, 1488 - May 26, 1552), was a German cartographer, cosmographer, Hebrew scholar and humanist. He was born at Ingelheim near Mainz, the son of Andreas Munster. He completed his studies at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen in 1518, after which he was appointed to the University of Basel in 1527. As Professor of Hebrew, he edited the Hebrew Bible, accompanied by a Latin translation. In 1540 he published a Latin edition of Ptolemy's Geographia, which presented the ancient cartographer's 2nd century geographical data supplemented systematically with maps of the modern world. This was followed by what can be considered his principal work, the Cosmographia. First issued in 1544, this was the earliest German description of the modern world. It would become the go-to book for any literate layperson who wished to know about anywhere that was further than a day's journey from home. In preparation for his work on Cosmographia, Münster reached out to humanists around Europe and especially within the Holy Roman Empire, enlisting colleagues to provide him with up-to-date maps and views of their countries and cities, with the result that the book contains a disproportionate number of maps providing the first modern depictions of the areas they depict. Münster, as a religious man, was not producing a travel guide. Just as his work in ancient languages was intended to provide his students with as direct a connection as possible to scriptural revelation, his object in producing Cosmographia was to provide the reader with a description of all of creation: a further means of gaining revelation. The book, unsurprisingly, proved popular and was reissued in numerous editions and languages including Latin, French, Italian, and Czech. The last German edition was published in 1628, long after Münster's death of the plague in 1552. Cosmographia was one of the most successful and popular books of the 16th century, passing through 24 editions between 1544 and 1628. This success was due in part to its fascinating woodcuts (some by Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel). Münster's work was highly influential in reviving classical geography in 16th century Europe, and providing the intellectual foundations for the production of later compilations of cartographic work, such as Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Münster's output includes a small format 1536 map of Europe; the 1532 Grynaeus map of the world is also attributed to him. His non-geographical output includes Dictionarium trilingue in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and his 1537 Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. Most of Munster's work was published by his stepson, Heinrich Petri (Henricus Petrus), and his son Sebastian Henric Petri. Learn More...


Münster, S., Cosmographey, (Basel: Petri) 1588.    


Very good. Marginal mend to bottom away from printed image.


OCLC 163163940.