Ancient Maps

Ancient Maps

​Images of ancient maps and pictures of Jerusalem​

Bernhard Von Breydenbach map of the Holy Land 1486 CE

In 1483 Bernhard von Breydenbach, a nobleman and deacon of Mainz cathedral, Germany, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After returning home he published a description of his voyage together with this map by Erhard Reuwich. The country is seen from the west (with a pilgrim's vessel near the coast at Jaffa) towards the east. However, the most important feature in the map is Jerusalem, drawn in minute detail as seen from the Mount of Olives westward, since this is the best viewing angle of the Holy City.

 

 

A Map of Jerusalem from 1535 CE​

 

A Map of Jerusalem from 1563 CE

 

 

View of Jerusalem by Braun and Hogenberg 1575 CE

This view of Jerusalem by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg belongs to the genus of views of Jerusalem which portray the Holy City not as seen personally, but by a mixture of imagination and reliance on the Bible and other literary sources. Within the nearly circular (and imaginary) city walls some buildings, such as the dome of the Rock and the Holy Sepulchre, are depicted quite realistically, following e.g. Breydenbach's map.

 

Bunting Clover-Leaf Map 1581 CE

''The whole world in a clover leaf, which is the crest of the city of Hannover, my beloved fatherland''. This caption was given by Heinrich Bunting, native of that city, to one of his allegorical maps. The three continents of the Old World are shown well-divided by the seas, but connected by Jerusalem as the hub of the world because of its religious importance, especially at the time of the European wars of the Reformation. The blue ocean is titled ''The Great Mediterranean Sea of the World''; only the Red Sea is colored red and shown separately.

 

A Map of Jerusalem from 1640 CE​

 

Abraham Bar-Jacob map in the Amsterdam Haggadah 1695 CE

In the past, Hebrew geographical maps were relatively rare, but they all showed the Land of Israel as a separate entity, stressing the sanctity and uniqueness of the country to Judaism. Abraham Bar-Jacob, a convert to Judaism, drew a map of the Holy Land following that of Christian Adrichom (1588), incorporating many Jewish elements such as the route of the Exodus from Egypt to Canaan and the designation of the territories of the twelve tribes of Israel. The map was reproduced in a Passover Haggadah as one of the earliest Hebrew printed maps.

 

 

A Map of Jerusalem from 1734 CE​

 

Picture of Jerusalem by Mondhare 1770 CE

''Jerusalem, capital city under David and Solomon, renowned for its Temple and the miracles performed there. It is now under the domination of the Turks.'' This is the description which Mondhare, a French publisher, gave to this completely imaginary view of the Holy City. Near the Dome of the Rock, with its characteristic octagonal shape, appears a Greek edifice as well as 14 crescent-crested minarets, but only two spires with crosses. The most extraordinary and illusory  item is the Brook of Kidron, depicted here as a wide river flowing through the Valley of Josaphath.

 

Diagram of the land of Israel and Jerusalem by Jacob Auspitz 1817 CE

Already in the early Middle Ages, if not before, Rabbinical teachers were called upon to interpret laws related to the Land of Israel, often in letters to Jewish communities in the Diaspora. Since they had no access to geographical maps but were aware that graphics are the best means of clarifying territorial relations, they devised diagrams which correctly represented spatial relations described verbally in the Holy Scriptures, disregarding true geometrical location. This cartogram, though of later date, belongs to this type.

 

A map of Jerusalem from 1854 CE

 

A map of Jerusalem from 1865 CE​

 

Pictorial strip of map by Rabbi Chaim Salomon Pinta of Zefat 1875 CE

This illustration, in Hebrew and German, represents an original group of maps. Five longitudinal strips show five regions, from Lebanon in the North to Gaza, Hebron and ''upturned Sodom'' in the South, seen in perspective from West to East. The printing base is unusual, too; the map was produced on cotton cloth. The Holy City of Jerusalem occupies the map center. But although the author was a native of Zefat who knew the country well, the pictorial views of Jerusalem and of the city of his birth are imaginary. ''MIZRACH'' BY MOSES KLIER OF ZEFAT (1905) ''Mizrach'' (East) is a traditional Jewish decoration indicating the direction of daily prayer. In this example, printed by A.L. Mohnson of Jerusalem, use was made of three elements: a pictorial view of Jerusalem and in particular of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City; Hebrew scriptural texts; and maps. Below the map appears an original copyright passage: ''I am confident that the Rest of Israel [i.e. 'my brethren'] will not, heaven forbid, tresspass upon my privileges till the end of the appropriate period.''

 

Mizrach by Moses Klier of Zefat 1905 CE

Mizrach (East) is a traditional Jewish decoration indicating the direction of daily prayer. In this example, printed by A.L. Mohnson of Jerusalem, use was made of three elements: a pictorial view of Jerusalem and in particular of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City; Hebrew scriptural texts; and maps. Below the map appears an original copyright passage: ''I am confident that the Rest of Israel [i.e. 'my brethren'] will not, heaven forbid, trespass upon my privileges till the end of the appropriate period.''