Leo Belgicus – Lion map of the Seventeen Provinces,
“Novus XVII Inferioris Germaniae Provinciarum“,copper engraving published in Leiden in 1643 by Jacques Marcus. The map appeared as a title page in Famiano Strada´s “De Bello Belgico” [About the War in the Low Countries]. Coloured by a later hand. Size. 15,8 x 9,1 cm.
The Dutch lion is a household name. The animal symbolizes the strength and courage of the country. The lion plays an important role in today’s football, but the image of the Netherlands as a lion was introduced in difficult times, at the end of the 16th century. From the middle of the Eigthy Years’ War against the Spanish, the Netherlands served as a model for a series of lion maps that came on the market.
The lion map not only functioned as a useful map, but was often hung on the wall as a statement. An expression of active citizenship, of pride, of self-awareness and often served as a spectacular eyecatcher in a commercial office of a government building.
Gallia Belgica was the northern part of Gaul between the Seine and the Rhine in Roman times. As a Latin name, Belgica later became synonymous with the Seventeen Provinces and the Low Countries.
Famiano Strada‘s book on the Eighty Years’ War was first published in 1632. It was a commercial success and appeared in different editions until 1700 that were published in Rome, Antwerp, Leuven, Leiden and Amsterdam. In all editions, a lion map is used as one of the title pages. For this the map was re-engraved several times.
Literature: “Leo Belgicus – An illustrated and annotated carto-bibliography” (2006) by H.A.M. van der Heijden, nr. 12.1.
Price: Euro 750,-