Leo Belgicus

by Petrus Kaerius



Date of first edition: 1617; the first state of this map was published by van Langren

Date of this edition:  1617

Dimensions (not including margins):  39 x 45 cm

Dimensions (including margins): 41 x 51 cm

Condition: good to very good. Sharp copper engraving. Centre fold as published (towards the bottom some wrinkling in the centre fold). Superb old colouring with golden colouring in black dress of lady right bottom.  Wide margins. Watermark right above cartouche.

Condition rating: A

Verso: text in Latin

Map reference: Van der Krogt 3,3000:364B; Van der Heijden (Leo Belg), 4,2a; Schilder 7,15.8

From: Petri Kaerii Germania Inferior id est, XVII provinciarum ejus novae et exactae Tabulae Geographicae, cum Luculentis Singularum descriptionibus additis. À Petro Montano. Amsterdam, 1617. Koeman, Kee1; Van der Krogt 3, 64:01, page 19


Item number:
XVII Provinces
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Leo Belgicus

Engraved by Hendrik Floris van Langren. Second state (only 2 copies known of the first state). In the reverse text Kaerius acknowledges the adaptation of the lion from Von Aitzing: “typographicam Leonis Belgici primus in lucem edidit D. Michael Aitsingerius Austriacus” (“This representation of the Leo Belgicus was first published by the Austrian Michael von Aitzing”).

The Netherlands, depicted in the form of a lion originated with the Austrian Michael von Aitzing (c. 1530-98), who inserted in his book De Leone Belgico (1583) a Leo Belgicus map, engraved by Frans Hogenberg. In the preface of this work von Aitzing explains why he chose this particular title and inserted the lion map. He explains that Caesar mentioned in his “Commentaries” that the ‘Belgae’ were the strongest tribes, and he therefore decided – partly because of the religious conflicts in the war against Spain – to introduce the Netherlands in the shape of a lion.

The title on this map is placed in the stippled sea, which is decorated with two ships and a sea-monster. In the right upper corner is an oval scrollwork-cartouche with following (here translated) Latin text: “A skilful made geographical map representing the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands in the form of a lion, showing also the coats of arms of the provinces, their boundaries and their governors, as defined and appointed by the supreme authorities in 1559”. The rectangular cartouche below this text shows a list with the number of towns and villages per province. Along the bottom three Dutch costumed couples are shown.

At the edges of the map Kaerius shows: London, Paris and Frankfurt.

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