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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Significant Map of the Rhine With Latin, French and German Text

Theodore de Bry
Map of the Rhine, 1594
 3 sheets joined with separate letterpress text below
Total paper size: 50 3/4 x 16 1/2 inches
Framed: 59 1/2 x 26 inches

First state of this rare three sheet map of the Rhine, derived from Caspar Vopel’s wall map of the Rhine first published in 1555. This example has the text panels along the bottom correctly aligned (see attached), from left to right Latin, French and then German. The dedication here dated M. DXCIV


(French text) NEW AND ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF THE RIVER RHINE and its three mouths, with the streams, the duchies and counties, and the electors' provinces. Especial attention is given to the towns and castles and these are vividly represented. Everything is engraved and
published at the expense and care of  THÉODORE DE BRY LIÉGEOIS.

THE RHINE is the most famous and most pleasant river not only of Germany but also of the whole of Europe, after the Danube. It takes its name, as Vadian testifies, from the German appellation. It surpasses the Danube in the number and beauty of its cities, in the variety of its peoples, as well
as in the fertility of its neighbouring regions and the quality of the vineyards it nourishes.

This river flows down from the country of the Leopontians [name given to the people from the town of Liège], who dwell in the Alps: from the mountain that the Ancients call Adula, according to the learned Prolome, and that is now called Der Vogel [the Bird, in German] and sometimes also the "Gothardsberg". This is because the Rhine rises close to the Chapel of Saint-Gordhar, which can be found on the mountain just mentioned. In fact three other rivers take their source there, of which the Rhône, the Thesin, and the Russ, which, along with the Rhine, flow to the four
corners of the earth.

The Rhine has two different sources, one higher in altitude than the other. Both take the name of Rhine, both flow towards the East, and join eachother above the Curia, where the river starts becomes appropriate and able to accommodate boats.  From there it flows in a semi-circle and enters the Constance and Celle lakes: the latter contains the island of Richnau, that was once greatly prosperous. After a winding course it joins Rhinfeld, and eventually Basle. But before quite reaching Basle, it has, like the Nile, two cataracts, the first at Schassbauien and the other at Laussembergne. From Basle the river Rhine pulls towards the Septentrion [the North] near Brisac, up to the land of Grabenstadt, where it receives
the waters of a river called Ill.

From there it passes along the town of Strasburg and is joined by the Preuss river. The river then crosses the town of Kehel, and it is the Kinssig river that rejoins it. From there the Rhine flows straight to Spire and Manheim, where the river Necre gushes into it. The Rhine then reaches Wormes and Mayece, a city close by and unites its course with the rich river of Main. Leaving Mayence it comes to Bingen where a river called Noh floods into its waters, and then, passing beyond this point, all the way up to Confluence, joins the famous Moselle river on one side. On the other, the river Lahn is adjacent. Further on it passes along the cities of Bonne and Clogne, and comes to that of Vesella, where it pulls towards the West,
towards the Duchy of Clenes.

It separates itself into two branches of which the left one extends towards the Ocean, and is called the Vahal by the Roman historian Tacitus. The Vahal river joins another, called the Moss, in a place close to the town of Herverden. The two separate a little further away but keep their respective names-but the Vahal river eventually loses its own appellation in the bend at Leuestein. The other branch pulls on the right hand and both finally flood into the German sea. After the river Lec, in a place close to the town of Arnem, it divides itself once again into two streams and in this way creates two rivers: the first is called 'The False Drusiane' by learned men and 'Isel' by the people. Now, Isel as it pulls towards Doesburg, receives the river Ala, and later, higher up, as it passes through Zutphen, receives the waters of another called Ems. Finally, it enters the Meridonial sea.

The other branch of Lec extends towards the West, leaves the town of Arnem and approaches that of Rhenen. There it receives the river Rhen. It then passes Wick, a city where, in the year 860, or according to others in the year 1170, because of storms from the Ocean and because of the great quantities of sands that lined the river bed, the Rhine over-flooded and made its way through the ploughed lands: since then it flows into the sea through a strait, by a town called Crimpen. Now, on the subject of the bridges built upon the Rhine-there are twelve of these: the first is at Reineken and the last at Strasburg. There are no more beyond this point because of the extreme width and breadth of the river. Here is then a brief description of the famous river Rhine. According to other authors, many streams and rivers, numbered up to sixty-two or more, flow into the Rhine: we offered only eleven of the most important, of which the eight first are especially well known and populated. As to the other waterways, the Geographic Table will provide a clear and full description of each of their respective streams, branches and peoples, as well as an ordered list of the regions and provinces encountered.

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