Descriptio Agri Civitatis Coloniensis Cum Suis Limitibus... Beschreibung und abris des...

Braun & Hogenberg
Coloured map of Cologne, Köln. Printed in Cologne by Abraham Hogenberg between 1604 and 1610.

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Reference 12784

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Extremely rare map of Greater Cologne printed from 4 plates.

This extremely rare map by Abraham Hogenberg, printed from 4 copper plates, is one of the rarest sheets in the field of Cologne graphics (Werner Schäfke). The map shows the greater Cologne area stretching between Brühl and Wesseling in the west, Worringen in the east, Bergheim-Fliesteden, Brauweiler and Hürth in the north and Deutz, Porz, Zündorf, Langel and Mülheim in the south. The localities are created in small views, decorated with four cartouches, two coats of arms, a compass rose and a mileage indicator.

Cologne was already well mapped in the Middle Ages with the city views of Anton Woensam from 1531 and Arnold Mercator from 1570. However, these focused exclusively on the inner-city areas. Therefore, the "Schweidkarten", which covered the surrounding countryside, were a valuable addition. In 1590, the Cologne City Council commissioned the creation of a map of the Bannmeile and Burgbann, which also depicted the surrounding villages and farms with the corresponding boundary markings. At this time, these maps of the surroundings were called "Sweyß" in late medieval Cologne.

Possibly this map served as a template for the most famous Cologne Schweid map by Abraham Hogenberg. This focused on the districts outside the city limits and largely neglected urban details. The Cologne Schweid was a pastoral district encompassing the five Bauerbänke (a kind of farmers' association). Schweid here referred to the landholdings of the peasant communities and peasant banks bounded by markers. The Latin name of the map was "Descriptio agri civitatis Coloniensis (cum suis limitibus)", which in medieval German means "Description and outline of the Collnische schweid, with its boundaries, crossroads, surrounding villages, houses and lands".

The map by Hogenberg is a copperplate engraving, consisting of four sheets. In the upper part there is the imperial double-headed eagle and the Cologne coat of arms. On a panel on the left there is the Latin inscription. The map extends south to Brühl, west to Hermülheim and north to Worringen. Distances are given in way hours. The map is detailed and factual, and largely dispensed with the playful decorations typical of the Baroque period. It showed the suburbs and settlements outside the city on the left bank of the Rhine and thus provided important information about already existing or not yet existing villages and their names at that time. For example, today's Butzweiler was still called "Potzweyler" and was located between "Oßendorff" (today's Cologne-Ossendorf) and "Buckelmeuntt" (Cologne-Bocklemünd). The consideration of buildings on the Hogenberg-Schweid and later Schweid maps suggests that there was a wayside customs post.

The exact dating of the Hogenberg-Schweid-Plan is unclear, but the maps were probably made between 1604 and 1610. This Hogenberg map was also used by Willem Blaeu as a model for a smaller scal re-engraving that first appeared in his Atlas Major in 1662.


In the trade of recent decades, we have been able to trace only one other copy of this map. In state collections we know of one copy in the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne.


CartographerBraun & Hogenberg
TitleDescriptio Agri Civitatis Coloniensis Cum Suis Limitibus... Beschreibung und abris des Collnischen schweidts, mit seinem Gemercken... Cernis Agrippinae Subiectos
Publisher, YearAbraham Hogenberg, Cologne, 1604-1610
Plate Size57.0 x 84.7 cm (22.4 x 33.3 inches)
Sheet Size57.2 x 85.2 cm (22.5 x 33.5 inches)
ReferenceKöln in historischen Stadtplänen: Die Entwicklung der Stadt seit dem 16. Jahrhundert. Kommentiert von Reiner Dieckhoff, Paul von Naredi-Reiner, Werner Schäfke und Heiko Steuer. Argon Verlag, Berlin 1995;


Bottom left of the lower cartouche a larger tear restored and redrawn. Several other minor restorations.


Georg Braun, born 1542 and Frans Hogenberg, born around 1536, German publishers and engravers, have issued the famous six volume town book Civitates Orbis Terrarum between 1572 and 1618. The volumes originally published in Latin, follow by German and French translations. The plates passed to Jan Janssonius who reissued the town books in 1657 while removing the costume figures on the plates. Braun died in 1622, Hogenberg in 1588.

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Braun & Hogenberg: Descriptio Agri Civitatis Coloniensis Cum Suis Limitibus... Beschreibung und abris des Collnischen schweidts, mit seinem....
Coloured map of Cologne, Köln. Printed in Cologne by Abraham Hogenberg between 1604 and 1610.

North Rhine-Westphalia - Braun & Hogenberg - Descriptio Agri Civitatis Coloniensis Cum...

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