Rare John Speed hand-colored engraved map of the Roman Empire
A New Mappe of the Romane Empire Newly Described by John Speede.
Item Number: 90370
London: Bassett & Chiswell, 1676.
Rare hand-colored engraved map of the Roman Empire showing the areas labeled Germanie, the Land of Sarmatia, Marmarica, Part of Arabia, Spain, Ireland, Grecia, France, Italy, and Partes of Africa; the Middle Land Sea, the Euxine Sea, the Capsian Sea and the Sea of Cantabria among others. The map is bordered by illustrations of the cities of Geneva, Rome, Jerusalem, Venice and Constantinople, and Alexandria, and figures displaying the customary dress of Italians, Egyptians, Turks, and Spaniards with their wives. With a detailed declaration of the beginning, increase and height of the Roman Empire. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 30 inches by 26 inches. An exceptional presentation.
English cartographer and historian John Speed was, alongside Christopher Saxton, one of the best known English mapmakers of the early modern period. Speed drew historical maps in 1601 and 1627 depicting the invasion of England and Ireland, depictions of the English Middle Ages, along with those depicting the current time, with rough originals but appealing, colorful final versions of his maps. Although he probably had access to historical sources that are now lost to us (he certainly used the work of Saxton and Norden), his work as a historian is now considered secondary in importance to his map-making, of which his most important contribution is probably his town plans, many of which provide the first visual record of the British towns they depict.