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De Bello Belgico Decas Prima Famiani Stradae
Named collection: Allan Forbes Collection
Object type: engraving
Maker: Strada, Famiamo
Place made: Italy, Lazio, Roma, Rome
Date made: 1632
Materials: ink; laid paper
Measurements: 13 in x 9 1/2 in
A rare large-scale map of the "Leo Belgicus", one of the famous cartographic curiosities of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The lion had long been a local symbol of the Netherlands and Belgium, and due to the vague resemblance of these countries to its shape, maps such as these were quite popular. This map is unusual due to its large scale. Rivers and cities, as well as a few roads, are drawn and labeled. The stippled sea contains three decorative ships and a whale. The lion rests its right paw on an upright shield bearing the text, "De Bello Belgico Decas Prima Famiani Stradae Rom. Soc. Iesu." This map was the title page of the Jesuit Strada (Stradae)'s history of the Belgian wars ("Bello Belgico"), a pro-Catholic and pro-Spain account of the Dutch and Flemish lands' struggle for independence from Spain. There is a pen inscription in the bottom right corner reading "ROM [missing] 632". There is a missing area, possibly eaten away by worms, in the lower margin; the other three margins are intact and original.