5. Conceptions of Jerusalem


32. Palestine, 1475

This 1475 map of the Holy Land is regarded as the first modern printed map because it is not derived from a classical source (Ptolemy), nor is it in the circular schematic format characteristic of medieval maps. However, it retains two attributes of earlier maps: it is “oriented” with east at the top, and Jerusalem is at the center. The geographic information is largely taken from a now lost manuscript map made two centuries earlier by a Dominican pilgrim, Burchard of Mt. Sion. In this bird’s-eye view, topographic features are portrayed with reasonable accuracy, and cities and regions are depicted as stylized hills. Jerusalem is dominant, represented as a circular walled city overlooked by the Mount of Olives, with Bethlehem nearby on the right. Egypt and Gaza are in the lower right corner; the port of Jaffa is at the bottom center; the walled city of Acre (“Accon”) is to the left of Jerusalem; and Damascus is at the upper left border. Crudely illustrated Biblical scenes include Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea (lower right), Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai (upper right corner), spires of the submerged cities of Sodom and Gomorrah protruding from the Dead Sea (upper right), the Baptism of Jesus (upper center), and the Crucifixion (below Jerusalem). Compass directions are indicated by eight “wind-blowers” at the edges of the map.

map image

Lucas Brandis

Lübeck, 1475
Osher Collection

33. Destruccio Iherosolime, 1493

This dramatic woodcut synopsizes the six destructions of Jerusalem and constitutes one of the earliest obtainable city views. The map shows the Temple of Solomon ablaze and attended by casually conversing onlookers. The Holy Sepulcher and Calvary are along the top. Shown to the right is Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, and pictured to the left is Olivet with Satan and Christ, illustrating The Temptation.

map image

Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514)
Destruccio Iherosolime

From: Liber chronicarum or Nuremberg Chronicle
Nuremberg, 1493
Osher Collection

34. Civitates Iherusalem, 1486

The earliest-printed detailed view of Jerusalem, this image was included in the first illustrated travel book, an account of a journey to the Holy Land in the years 1483 to 1484. The book was intended as a preparatory guide for pilgrimages and became one of the earliest 15th-century works to reach bestseller status. Erhard Reuwich, who accompanied von Breydenbach on the journeys, designed the view and supervised its printing. The Peregrinationes was one of the most technically innovative woodcut books of its day, and many of the views and details in the book were copied later in the Nuremberg Chronicle and The Columbus Letter.

map image

Bernhard von Breydenbach, (d. 1497)
Erhard Reuwich, (1483-1486)
Civitates Iherusalem

From: Peregrinationes in Terram Sanctam
Mainz, 1486
Osher Collection