Munster City View of the Siege of St. Quentin, France

Warhaffte abcontrafactur der nammhafften Statt S. Quintin, sampt aller Lägerstatt und umbligenden Ort / wie sie von Königs Philippi Heer im jar 1557 belagert worden. - Main View

Munster City View of the Siege of St. Quentin, France


A sixteenth century illustration of a calamitous siege.


Warhaffte abcontrafactur der nammhafften Statt S. Quintin, sampt aller Lägerstatt und umbligenden Ort / wie sie von Königs Philippi Heer im jar 1557 belagert worden.
  1598 (undated)     10 x 16 in (25.4 x 40.64 cm)


This is a detailed, fascinating woodcut bird’s-eye view of the area surrounding the fortress city of Saint-Quentin, Picardy, illustrating the 1557 siege of that city by the Spanish forces of Philip II during the Italian War of 1551-1559. (French forces had invaded Italy to attack Milan, whilst simultaneously moving on The Netherlands. The Spanish countered by attacking with a great army from their territory in Brussels to block the French advance by laying siege Saint-Quentin. The French army, moving to break the siege (visible at the upper left) would be defeated by the Spanish. The Spanish commander, Philibert (the Duke of Savoy and cousin to Philip II) was reportedly so horrified by the carnage that he declined to pursue his advantage over the French and withdrew his victorious army to the Netherlands. The war would be ended by treaty two years later. Among the soldiers fighting in this battle was Martin Guerre, who lost a leg to the fight (permanently) and lost his wife and son to an impostor (temporarily).
Publication History and Census
This woodcut was executed by an anonymous formschneider for inclusion in the 1588 Sebastian Petri edition of Cosmographei and would remain in the work up to 1628. The book’s late editions are well represented in institutional collections. While this image is cataloged separately only four times in OCLC (one incorrectly dated, the others of the 1628 printing) it appears on the market from time to time.


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...

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...


Munster, Sebastian, Cosmographey: das ist, Beschreibung Aller Länder, Herrschafften vnd fürnemesten Stetten des gantzen Erdbodens, sampt ihren Gelegenheiten, Eygenschafften, Religion, Gebräuchen, Geschichten vnd Handtierungen, [et]c., (Basel: Petri) 1598.    


Poor. Significant mends to centerfold with some loss, some stains.


OCLC 470463456.