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A Very Early View of Augsburg

Augsburg. [Basel, c. 1550]
Civitas Augustana olim Vindelica, hodie Rhetica, tota orbe terrarum notissima... . 11 ¼ x 13 ¼ inches.
Fine hand color; faint staining, else excellent condition.


Woodcut view of the walled Bavarian city of Augsburg, oriented to the west. It shows many features still recognizable in the city today, such as the The Perlachturm (appearing at the city center, marked Der Pärle on the woodcut). The jointly-Catholic-and-Lutheran St. Ulrich’s and St. Afra’s Abbey is shown, though only St. Ulrich gets the billing; the view pre-dates the 1555 Peace of Augsburg, so only the Catholic reference appears. The world’s oldest social housing complex still in use, the Fuggerei, is noted, though egregiously misspelled.

The view appeared in Munster’s Cosmographiae, one of the most richly illustrated early books. The Cosmographiae’s city plans and views were carefully drawn by prominent artists of the day especially for the volume. “They were based on first-hand information gathered from the local officials of each town or place described, and were some of the earliest large-scale plans of cities to be published.”

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