Copper engraving with later but not recent hand colouring. Overall size: 55.8 cms x 43.2cms ; 518mm x 388mm. English text on verso with description of Palestine. Overall toning, nicks at margin edges, faint mount burn from previous mounting; old folds and small hole 5mmx 2mm repaired with old paper at Bethgamul, when held up to the light, four minute pinpricks can be seen. However, a good strong impression of an uncommon map in good condition.
Speed’s maps usually showed the land as it was experienced but this map is both an accurate map of the towns, rivers, mountains and other geographical features and also is the landscape of the mind, particularly for Christians , giving context to the the reading of the Bible. John More (credited on the map) did the first work on this map whilst a fellow of Christ’s Cambridge After his death in 1592 it was passed to Speed who finished it and received a licence to print and insert it in the King James Bible for ten years from 1610.
. Speed’s map rewards a careful observer with curious details. In the top left corner , is a plan of Jerusalem which contains a note of forty important places there. Mount Calvary in the top left has three crosses, an open grave lies in a fenced field, and below Judas hangs on a leafless tree. There is an outline of the Temple. There are walls within walls, with a small ‘M. Olivet’ in the bottom right. What might immediately strike an observer here is that it is plainly not a Jerusalem for the pilgrim trail. There is no attempt to indicate holy places to be visited by Christian travellers. It simply tells the reader that Golgotha
was somewhere on the western side of the old city, and Jesus’ grave was nearby. In real geographical terms, Jesus’ tomb is traditionally located to the west of the Rock of Calvary, and here it is south. Judas’ death is just to the south of this on the western side, when traditionally it was due south. Only the basics are correct: Jesus’ tomb to the west and Olivet to the east. The Protestant reformers had long encouraged the use of maps to foster a better understanding of the sacred texts, with a variety of maps featuring in the Geneva Bibles of John Calvin from 1559 onwards. See John Speed’s ‘Canaan’ and British Travel to Palestine: A Journey with Maps by Joan Taylor for further illumination.
This map of the Holy Land appeared in the last edition of Speed's atlas, A Prospect Of The Most Famous Parts Of The World. The map was based on material assembled by John Moreas a note on the map indicates; John More was a celebrated Cambridge scholar and divine who died in 1592, Speed acquired More’s unpublished delineation and perfected it . There is a large inset plan of Jerusalem, surrounded by sacred objects used in the Temple. The route of the Exodus is shown, as are the Tribes of Israel, and a long annotation points out a further fifty places of particular importance. Small vignettes throughout the map depict biblical scenes. The title is flanked by images of Moses and Aaron. It was engraved by Renolde Elstrake and first appeared in Speed’s Geneologies of the Holy Scriptures and Robert Barker’s edition of the King James Bible. Here Elstrake’s imprint is removed. The territory from the Nile Delta to Byblus in Northern Phoenicia is depicted and the system of rivers and seas is especially detailed. Both the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee are unusual in shape, and for one of the few times since Burchard in the thirteenth century, no river connects the Sea of Galilee with the Mediterranean .Nebenzahl, K (Holy Land) 39
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