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An Orca at Ostia (Latin inscription)

Major collection: Hart Nautical
Named collection: Allan Forbes Collection
Object type: engraving
Maker: Collaert, Adrian; Stradanus, Ioan.; Galle, Philip
Place made: unknown
Date made: 1595
Materials: ink; paper; paper
Measurements: 7 1/4 in x 10 in; 8 1/4 in x 11 in
Nomenclature: natural history
Classification: whales

The engraving, after an image by Stradanus, depicts the edge of a breakwater looking out onto a large area of sea. Roman citizens sit on and around the breakwater such that it resembles a stadium. In the middle of the water, a whale is engaging in combat with soldiers and sailors on small boats. Each boat is crewed by oarsmen and soldiers armed with spears. The whale sinks one while surrounded by eight others. The Latin inscription describes the scene and notes the entertainment of the spectators. The page appears to have been excised from a folio. The number 86 can be seen at the bottom right corner, and XIV is partially visible at bottom right. The scene is based on Pliny the Elder's account of an orca entering the port at Ostia in his work Natural History.


Related People

Galle, Philip
Flemish, 1537-1612