1575 Sebastian Munster Antique Map View of Cairo under The Ottoman Empire

Cartographer : Sebastian Munster

  • Title : Warhaffte abcontrafehtung der machtigen und vesten Statt Alkair
  • Size: 16in x 12 1/2in (405mm x 320mm)
  • Condition: (B) Good Condition
  • Date : 1575
  • Ref #:  91302

Description:
This original wood-block engraved antique double page view of Cairo, as it looked in the mid 16th century under Ottoman rule, was published in the early 1575 edition of Sebastian Munsters Cosmographia by Sebastian Petri, Basle.

Sebastian Petris re-release of Cosomgraphia in 1588 produced some fine woodcut maps in the copperplate style. The maps in this release were more sophisticated than with earlier publications of Cosomgraphia and were based on the 1570 release of Abraham Ortelius monumental work Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. For a variety of reasons town plans were comparatively latecomers in the long history of cartography. Few cities in Europe in the middle ages had more than 20,00 inhabitants and even London in the late Elizabethan period had only 100-150,000 people which in itself was probably 10 times that of any other English city. The Nuremberg Chronicle in 1493 included one of the first town views of Jerusalem, thereafter, for most of the sixteenth century, German cartographers led the way in producing town plans in a modern sense. In 1544 Sebastian Munster issued in Basle his Cosmographia containing roughly sixty-six plans and views, some in the plan form, but many in the old panorama or birds eye view. (Ref: Tooley; M&B)

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: -
Colors used: -
General color appearance: -
Paper size: - 16in x 12 1/2in (405mm x 320mm)
Plate size: - 16in x 12 1/2in (405mm x 320mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (10mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - L&R bottom margin restored
Plate area: - 4 small tears repaired in center of image
Verso: - Restoration as noted, light age toning

Background: 
Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city\'s metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a center of the region\'s political and cultural life, and is titled the city of a thousand minarets for its preponderance of Islamic architecture.
Although Cairo avoided Europes stagnation during the Late Middle Ages, it could not escape the Black Death, which struck the city more than fifty times between 1348 and 1517. During its initial, and most deadly waves, approximately 200,000 people were killed by the plague, and by the 15th century, Cairos population had been reduced to between 150,000 and 300,000. The citys status was further diminished after Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route around the Cape of Good Hope between 1497 and 1499, thereby allowing spice traders to avoid Cairo. Cairo\'s political influence diminished significantly after the Ottomans supplanted Mamluk power over Egypt in 1517. Ruling from Constantinople, Sultan Selim I relegated Egypt to a province, with Cairo as its capital. For this reason, the history of Cairo during Ottoman times is often described as inconsequential, especially in comparison to other time periods. However, during the 16th and 17th centuries, Cairo remained an important economic and cultural centre. Although no longer on the spice route, the city facilitated the transportation of Yemeni coffee and Indian textiles, primarily to Anatolia, North Africa, and the Balkans. Cairene merchants were instrumental in bringing goods to the barren Hejaz, especially during the annual hajj to Mecca. It was during this same period that al-Azhar University reached the predominance among Islamic schools that it continues to hold today; pilgrims on their way to hajj often attested to the superiority of the institution, which had become associated with Egypt\'s body of Islamic scholars. By the 16th century, Cairo also had high-rise apartment buildings where the two lower floors were for commercial and storage purposes and the multiple stories above them were rented out to tenants.
Under the Ottomans, Cairo expanded south and west from its nucleus around the Citadel. The city was the second-largest in the empire, behind Constantinople, and, although migration was not the primary source of Cairo\'s growth, twenty percent of its population at the end of the 18th century consisted of religious minorities and foreigners from around the Mediterranean. Still, when Napoleon arrived in Cairo in 1798, the city\'s population was less than 300,000, forty percent lower than it was at the height of Mamluk—and Cairene—influence in the mid-14th century.
The French occupation was short-lived as British and Ottoman forces, including a sizeable Albanian contingent, recaptured the country in 1801. Cairo itself was besieged by a British and Ottoman force culminating with the French surrender on 22 June 1801. The British vacated Egypt two years later, leaving the Ottomans, the Albanians, and the long-weakened Mamluks jostling for control of the country. Continued civil war allowed an Albanian named Muhammad Ali Pasha to ascend to the role of commander and eventually, with the approval of the religious establishment, viceroy of Egypt in 1805.

$299.00