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Jerusalem, Judea & Oikumene

Charts & Maps | Jerusalem - Temple | Masada | Portraits
2,000 Years of Josephus | Numismatic History | The Roman Empire


Temple Mount and Antonia | Ancient Maps of Jerusalem | First Century Jerusalem | Ancient Maps of Jerusalem | Historical Maps | Ancient Jerusalem

  • 3/7/12: John 2:13-22: Where Can God Be Found? Matthew Skinner - "Most historians conclude that the execution of Jesus was a consequence of -- perhaps among other things -- words he spoke criticizing the Temple in Jerusalem and its leadership. It appears some sort of demonstration he performed in the temple precinct was also part of the equation."
  • 2/28/12: Jerusalem: The City of God in Biblical Tradition | Stephen Sizer "I believe Jesus continues to weep not only over Jerusalem, but also for all his children in the Middle East. I believe he weeps , for those who promote a theology of war and conquest that contradicts the model Jesus has given us in Himself."
  • JPost - This Week in History: Titus breaks through the Jerusalem wall
  • Jerusalem's time tunnels On the final day of the Great Revolt against the Romans, in 70 C.E., as the Temple was going up in flames, the last of the Jewish rebels escaped into the city's underground sewer system in a desperate attempt to flee the Roman legionnaires. "Those in the sewers were ferreted out, the ground was torn up, and all who were trapped were killed," reported contemporary historian Flavius Josephus.
  • 1884: Recent Discoveries on the Temple Hill at Jerusalem (PDF)

Jerusalem Maps: Hierosolyma Urbs Sancta Iudeae (1657)

N. Visscher's Jerusalem map (issued 1663).

Original 1738 hand colored map "Nouvs Conspectus Velemis Jerusalem ex Authoris Mente"





Flemish, 1527-1598
In: Parergon
Antwerp, 1595
Facsimile of hand-colored engraving, 35.1 x 45.3 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: the sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah

This map is an acknowledged masterpiece of composition and engraving by the great Flemish cartographer, Abraham Ortelius. It illustrates the Biblical story of Abraham the Patriarch as recorded in Genesis. The decorative border contains twenty-two medallions portraying scenes from the life of Abraham, such as the sacrifice of Isaac. The central portion is in the form of a tapestry containing two maps. The small inset map at upper left traces Abraham's wanderings from Ur in the Euphrates Valley to the Promised Land of Canaan; several cities are named, the most prominent of which is Salem, the future Jerusalem. The larger map depicts the ancient tribal divisions of the Land of Canaan as described in Genesis; the largest city (as judged by its symbolic representation) is named "Salem, et Ierusalem."



English, ca. 1720-1767
A PLAN of the CITY of JERUSALEM . . .
From: A Complete Atlas or Distinct View of the Known World
London, 1752
Engraving, 40.2 x 40.4 cm
Kyram Collection

In about 1004 BC King David conquered the small Jebusite city of Jerusalem, fortified it, renamed it The City of David, and established it as the capital of the first united Jewish kingdom [Samuel 2:5, 4-12]. This map from an eighteenth-century English atlas presents a crude schematic plan of Jerusalem based largely on an imaginative interpretation of Old Testament descriptions and early historical records. It is oriented to the west, and the City of David is prominently depicted in a fanciful circular form on Mount Zion in the southwest portion of the old walled city. This location was originally described by the first-century historian Josephus and appears on most early maps. Recent archaeological studies have, however, determined that David's city was actually located on a southeastern ridge, south of the Temple Mount. The city wall, towers, gates, and many other historical and religious landmarks are identified and portrayed in their supposed or "traditional" locations, many of which are now known to be erroneous. This map, with all its faults, probably satisfied viewers who were curious about the ancient city of Jerusalem; they had no way of verifying its authenticity nor any reason to doubt it.



English, 1608-1661
IERUSALEM qualis (ut plurimum) extitit ætate Solomonis
London, 1650
Engraving, hand colored, 27.6 x 35.9 cm
Kyram Collection

King David was succeeded by his son Solomon, whose reign (ca. 961-922 BC) was marked by great prosperity. As the political, economic, and religious center of a flourishing kingdom, Jerusalem grew considerably in size and population. Solomon built many public edifices, the most celebrated of which was the House of the Lord, the First Temple, whose construction is described in great detail in the Bible [1 Kings 6].

This is an imaginary plan of King Solomon's Jerusalem, oriented to the north. It presents an anachronistic depiction of Solomon's Temple, portraying it as an ecclesiastical shrine with medieval and Renaissance elements. Other Biblical sites are positioned according to tradition and portrayed according to the artist's conception. Streets are arranged in an unrealistic geometric pattern, with linear rows of houses. Even though this plan purports to represent Jerusalem in the time of Solomon, the Crucifixion is depicted in the upper left corner.



German, 1440-1514
From: Liber cronicarum . . .
Nuremberg, 1493
Woodcut, 19.0 x 22.3 cm
Kyram Collection

This is the first printed imaginary view of Jerusalem, depicted as a circular walled city dominated by Solomon's Temple. Six of the city gates are named, including David's Gate, also called Gate of the Pisans, after the twelfth-century crusaders from the city of Pisa.

This illustration is one of more than 1,800 woodcuts in Liber cronicarum, commonly known in English as the Nuremberg Chronicle, a history of the world from Creation to the time of the volume's publication (1493). It is the most celebrated illustrated book, and, after the Gutenberg Bible, the most important printed book of the fifteenth century. The woodcuts were made in the workshop of Michael Wohlgemut during the apprenticeship of Albrecht Dürer, and it is speculated that Dürer may have participated in their production.



Dutch, 1533-1585
JERVSALEM et suburbia eius, sicut tempore Christi floruit . . .
From: Jerusalem . . . et suburbanorum . . . brevis descriptio
Köln, 1584
Engraving, hand colored, 52.0 x 74.9 cm
Kyram Collection
Detail: the fourteen Stations of the Cross along the via dolorosa
Detail: Solomon's Temple

This imaginary plan of Jerusalem and its environs is oriented to the east. It uses a bird's-eye view containing numerous vignettes to create a detailed portrayal of physical features and their associated historic events. Although it purports to represent Jerusalem and its suburbs at the time of Christ, it depicts and identifies 270 sites from both Old and New Testaments. Most important, it delineates for the first time the fourteen Stations of the Cross as they are generally accepted today. The author was a priest and surveyor whose exhaustive studies of the Bible, the writings of Josephus, and early pilgrim narratives enabled him to produce some of the most influential Holy Land maps of the sixteenth century without ever having visited the region. This attractive and highly informative map was widely disseminated and remained the authoritative guide to Jerusalem until the archaeological revelations of the nineteenth century.



German, 1440-1514
From: Liber cronicarum . . .
Nuremberg, 1493
Woodcut, hand colored, 25.3 x 53.1 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: Solomon's Temple in flames
Detail: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This panoramic view looking westward from the Mount of Olives presents an imaginative composite of the six destructions of Jerusalem described in the associated text of the Nuremberg Chronicle. Solomon's Temple is in flames in the left foreground, and toppled buildings are scattered throughout the city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, relatively unscathed, is at the upper center. Calvary is depicted as a separate domed structure at the top right center.


II. Jerusalem and Mapmaking

Mark ye well her ramparts . . . [Psalms 48:14]

Jerusalem occupies an important position in the history of cartography. The Bible tells us that the city was first mapped in response to a divine command to the Prophet Ezekiel: "Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem" [Ezekiel 4:1]. The Book of Ezekiel also provided meticulously detailed descriptions that formed the basis of later plans and views of Solomon's Temple (see object 29). Furthermore, the late Medieval practice of placing Jerusalem at the center of world maps arose from a literal interpretation of Ezekiel 5:5: "This city of Jerusalem I have set in the midst of nations, with other countries round about her" (see objects 25-28).

Jerusalem is prominently depicted on many landmarks of early mapmaking, three of which are included in this exhibition. The city appears as "Aelia Capitolina" on a fourth-century Roman road map of the world (object 8). The oldest surviving detailed map (reproduced in object 9), contains a large birds-eye view of "The Holy City of Jerusalem." A centrally placed image of the walled city of Jerusalem dominates the first modern printed map (object 10).



Flemish, 1527-1598
Antwerp, 1598
Engraving, 39.8 x 51.8 cm (One of four sheets)
Osher Collection
Detail: Holy Land and Nile Delta, showing the road from Jerusalem to Eilat

This is the first printed version of a twelfth- or early thirteenth-century manuscript copied from a now-lost Roman road map compiled in the fourth century. Commonly called the "Peutinger Table," it is the best surviving specimen of Roman cartography and is named after Konrad Peutinger, the sixteenth-century German scholar who preserved it. The manuscript was in the form of a vellum scroll approximately thirteen inches high and more than twenty-two feet long. This is one of four sheets of the engraved version, each sheet containing two parallel map segments; if all of the segments were joined, they would form an elongated map approximately eight inches high and more than thirteen feet long.

The map depicts the Roman Empire from Britain to India. As with its modern counterparts, strip road maps and subway diagrams, geographic accuracy is sacrificed to expediency. Topographic features are compressed and distorted, and both orientation and scale are variable. However, roads, cities, distances between landmarks, temples, forts, and spas are depicted with sufficient accuracy to serve the needs of military and civilian travelers. The detail of the lower segment depicts the Holy Land with the Nile Delta at the left. Jerusalem is represented as two buildings located just above the Mount of Olives ("Mons Oliueti") and the Dead Sea ("Lac. Aspaltidis"). An inscription notes that the city was formerly called Hierusalem and is now Helya [Aelia] Capitolina.

This remarkable map, in its various forms, has had a useful life of more than fifteen hundred years. It is believed to have continued in use after the fall of the Roman Empire, serving medieval and Renaissance travelers, including pilgrims to the Holy Land. Most recently, it is said to have played a significant role during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. The Israeli chief of operations, Yigael Yadin, was a professional archaeologist who knew that part of the ancient Roman road from Jerusalem to Eilat still existed under the sand of the Negev Desert. Using this route, an Israeli armored column scored a major victory by staging a surprise attack and capturing the strategic city of Eilat.



Madaba, Jordan, ca. AD 565
Color reproduction, Jerusalem detail, 22.0 x 31.5 cm
Kyram Collection

The earliest surviving map of Palestine is a large colored mosaic on the floor of a sixth-century Byzantine church in Madaba, Jordan. Although several sections of the map have been destroyed, the depiction of Jerusalem, seen here, is largely intact. It is presented in a bird's-eye view from the west, with sufficient detail to allow identification of most of the landmarks as they existed in the late sixth century. The wall of the city exhibits several towers and at least three gates, the largest of which, today's Damascus Gate, is at the northern (left) extremity. Immediately within the gate is a plaza containing a column that is believed to have served as a reference marker for surveys during the Byzantine period. The colonnaded avenue extending across the center of the city is the main thoroughfare or Cardo (Latin for "axis"). Following the practice of the time, important structures are enlarged, often crowding out buildings of lesser importance. Churches are distinguished by their red roofs. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is at the lower center, and to its right are David's Gate and Tower. At the top right, the Golden Gate leads to the Temple Mount.



German, fl. ca. 1460-1480
[Cedar et tabernacla eius Aras wecha unde baldach in Job]
From: Rudimentum Novitiorum
Lubeck, 1475
Woodcut (two blocks), hand colored, 39.2 x 57.7 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: Jerusalem

This 1475 map of the Holy Land is regarded as the first modern printed map because it is not derived from a classical source (Ptolemy), nor is it in the circular schematic format characteristic of medieval maps. However, it retains two attributes of earlier maps: it is "oriented" with east at the top, and Jerusalem is at the center. The geographic information is taken largely from a now lost manuscript map made two centuries earlier by a Dominican pilgrim, Burchard of Mt. Sion. In this bird's-eye view, topographic features are portrayed with reasonable accuracy, and cities and regions are depicted as stylized hills. Jerusalem is dominant, represented as a circular walled city overlooked by the Mount of Olives, with Bethlehem nearby on the right. Egypt and Gaza are in the lower right corner; the port of Jaffa is at the bottom center; the walled city of Acre ("Accon") is to the left of Jerusalem; and Damascus is at the upper left border. Crudely illustrated Biblical scenes include Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea (lower right), Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai (upper right corner), spires of the submerged cities of Sodom and Gomorrah protruding from the Dead Sea (upper right), the Baptism of Jesus (upper center), and the Crucifixion (below Jerusalem). Compass directions are indicated by eight "wind-blowers" at the edges of the map.

III. Jerusalem the Holy

For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. [Isaiah 2:3]

On a crude altar in Jerusalem, Abraham, Patriarch of three great monotheistic religions, undertook to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, in accordance with God's command. When an angel of the Lord interceded, Abraham substituted a burnt offering, a ram, for his son [Genesis 22:13]. This Biblical event, a fundamental part of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, was the first of many to be associated with Jerusalem (see object 1). The site of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac was Mount Moriah, later chosen by King David for his altar and by King Solomon for his Temple. The platform on which Solomon built his Temple encompassed Mount Moriah and has come to be called the Temple Mount. This structure was enlarged when the Second Temple was rebuilt by Herod (37 BC), abandoned after the destruction of the Second Temple (AD 70), and restored when the Dome of the Rock was built (AD 691).

For Jews, the significance of Jerusalem is evident in the books of Prophets and Psalms. Jerusalem is named more than 750 times in the Bible, and Zion is mentioned 180 times. Zion, the pre-Israelite fortress of Jebusite Jerusalem [2 Samuel 5:7; 1 Chronicles 11:5] has become synonymous with Jerusalem and the Jewish nation as a whole. The holiest Jewish site is the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, formerly called the Wailing Wall.

For Christians, Jerusalem is the scene of key events in the life of Jesus, especially the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Via Dolorosa, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are among the holiest sites in Christendom.

For Muslims, Jerusalem is the site of the Prophet Muhammad's ascension to heaven from the rock es-Sakhra, after a miraculous night journey from Mecca on his legendary horse el-Burek. The hoof print of el-Burek is said to be visible on the rock, now enclosed within the Dome of the Rock. This magnificent mosque and the nearby Mosque of el-Aqsa are the principal remaining shrines on the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as el-Haram esh-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). This is the third most important holy site in Islam, after the Kaaba in Mecca and the Prophet's tomb in Medina.



West Roxbury, Mass., ca. 1900
Colored Lithograph, 43.7 x 67.4 cm
Kyram Collection

This colorful print depicts the traditional view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, with Jesus weeping over the city. It was produced by an American Syro-Maronite church belonging to a Roman Catholic sect based in Lebanon, and was apparently designed as a souvenir for pilgrims. Christian, Islamic, and Jewish holy sites are shown.



Spanish, 1527-1598
From: Biblia Sacra, Hebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, & Latine . . .
Antwerp, 1572
Engraving, 37.3 x 47.4 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: the sanctum sanctorum

This imaginary view of King Solomon's Temple appeared in the "Polyglot Bible," the text of which was in four languages: Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, and Latin. Based on vague Biblical descriptions [1 Kings 6,7; 2 Chron. 3,4; Ezekiel 41], the structure is portrayed as rectangular in shape with a series of courtyards and an innermost Temple proper. Overall, the depiction is more grandiose than the Bible suggests. The artist follows the custom of his time, portraying the architecture in a familiar Italian Renaissance style.



El Haram Esh Sharif
Survey of Palestine, 1944
Reduced photocopy (original 98.4 x 68.6 cm.)
Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

This is a large scale plan of el-Haram esh-Sharif, Arabic for Noble Sanctuary or Noble Enclosure, known in English as the Temple Mount. Place names are given in English and Arabic. Ground plans of the two principal Islamic shrines are depicted, the octagonal Dome of the Rock at left center and the rectangular El-Masjid el-Aqsa at the bottom left. The map's decorative border design is taken from sixteenth-century tiles in the Dome of the Rock.



French, 1831-1885
The Western ("Wailing") Wall, ca. 1875
Collodion print, 22.2 x 26.3 cm
Kyram Collection

Judaism's holiest shrine, commonly thought to be a remnant of King Solomon's Temple, is actually part of a later Temple Mount. The surviving wall was built in the first century BC by Herod the Great when he enlarged the Temple Mount, burying the original structures in the process. Nevertheless, the Western Wall retains its holy status because of its symbolic connection with Judaism's original House of the Lord and its sanctification by centuries of fervent prayer.



Greek, fl. 1870s
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, ca.1875
Collodion print, 22.3 x 28.3 cm
Kyram Collection

According to Christian tradition, Emperor Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the site where his mother, Empress Helena, discovered the true cross and the tomb of Jesus in AD 326. Over the centuries the structure has been partly destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions. The present church plan is largely the result of extensive reconstruction by the Crusaders in 1149. However, the base of the original Constantinian rotunda and part of the entrance are still preserved.



French, 1831-1885
The Dome of the Rock, ca. 1875
Collodion print, 18.5 x 26.3 cm
Kyram Collection

The Dome of the Rock, also known as the Mosque of Omar and in Arabic as Qubbat es-Sakhra, was built by caliph Abd el-Malik near the end of the seventh century AD Because of its traditional association with the Prophet Muhammad's ascent to heaven, it has been, through most of its existence, one of Islam's holiest shrines. In the twelfth century, however, it was converted into a Christian church by the Crusaders, who renamed it Templum Domini and placed a golden cross over its dome. After Saladin recaptured Jerusalem in 1187, he rededicated the Dome of the Rock as a mosque. The structure has undergone many repairs and decorative additions through the centuries, but its basic design has remained substantially unchanged and it stands as one of the greatest achievements of Islamic architecture.

IV. Jerusalem the Beautiful

Ten measures of beauty descended to the world; nine were taken by Jerusalem and one by the rest of the world. [Babylonian Talmud: Kidushin 49b]

"Perched on its eternal hills," wrote Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad (1867), "white and domed and solid, massed together and hooped with high gray walls, the venerable city gleamed in the sun." "So Small!" he remarked, ". . . why, it was no larger than an American village of four thousand inhabitants . . ." He mused further: "The thoughts Jerusalem suggests are full of poetry, sublimity and more than all, dignity." Having entered the gates and wandered through the streets, he observed, ". . . Jerusalem is mournful and dreary and lifeless. I would not desire to live here." But after visiting the Holy places, he left Jerusalem and concluded that ". . . all that will be left will be pleasant memories of Jerusalem . . . a memory which money could not buy from us."

As Mark Twain's sentiments indicate, Jerusalem has occupied a special place in the hearts and minds of many peoples through the ages. Without its strong religious associations, this small and remote city would have held little attraction for travelers, authors, or artists. Powerful spiritual yearnings served as a magnet for religious pilgrims who provided the earliest portrayals of the city. Religious inspiration, always a potent influence in art, probably accounts for the fact that Jerusalem has been portrayed more often than virtually any other city. Jerusalem's status as a paragon of beauty is celebrated in King Solomon's Song of Songs: "Thou art beautiful, O my love . . . comely as Jerusalem" [6:4].

Few artists undertook the long and hazardous journey to Jerusalem during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Most resorted instead to descriptions in Holy Scriptures, historical accounts, and travelers' narratives, supplemented by their own imaginations. The resulting portrayals were, with a few notable exceptions, mixtures of second hand observations and inspired fantasy.

The most popular view of Jerusalem is from the Mount of Olives, overlooking the city from the east and providing an unobstructed view of the Temple Mount and other holy sites. In his book Those Holy Fields, the Reverend Samuel Manning wrote: "This is the view over which Jesus wept, when he beheld its beauty."



Published by Palphot Ltd., late twentieth century
Color photograph, 27.0 x 98.0 cm
Kyram Collection

The Mount of Olives is a natural observation point that has for centuries been favored by artists and pilgrims, and more recently by tourists and photographers. In this modern color photograph the appearance of the Temple Mount and the old walled city is not much different from that seen on old drawings and paintings (see object 18). The horizon, however, is altered considerably by tall buildings of the modern city.



Dutch, 1652-1726
From: Reizen van . . . door Klein Asia . . . en Palestina
Delft, 1698
Facsimile engraving, 28.2 x 125.3 cm
Kyram Collection

De Bruyn was one of the most accomplished artists to visit the Holy Land before the nineteenth century. He came as a traveling artist rather than a pilgrim and his depictions are historically valuable because of their accuracy. This view was sketched during the period of Ottoman rule when foreigners were regarded with suspicion and the making of "graven images" was prohibited. De Bruyn avoided detection by pretending to be picnicking with two Franciscan Fathers who stood guard while he made his drawings.



French, 1654-1722
IERUSALEM Comme elle est a présent
Paris, ca. 1700
Engraving, hand colored, 34.1 x 51.7 cm
Kyram Collection

Although it is from the same vantage point and was published at about the same time as de Bruyn's view (object 18), this engraving presents a significantly different image of Jerusalem. Whereas de Bruyn's is a first-hand eyewitness drawing, Aveline's is an imaginary image based on an earlier imaginary rendering, itself derived from a fifteenth-century pilgrim's sketch. Points of interest are numbered and identified in accordance with Christian tradition. Illustrations such as this, though outdated and inaccurate, conformed with descriptions of the city's beauty and fulfilled the needs of armchair pilgrims.



Scottish, 1796-1864
JERUSALEM du cote du Nord
From: The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia
F. Stroobant, Brussels, ca. 1845
Lithograph, 27.0 x 39.0 cm
Kyram Collection

Some of the most celebrated on-site drawings of the Holy Land were made by the Scottish artist David Roberts in 1838 and 1839. His view of Jerusalem from the north provides a majestic vista of the city with its domes and minarets, and the surrounding hills and valleys.

V. Jerusalem: The Pilgrim City

Walk about Zion, and go round about it . . . [Psalms 48:13]

In a sense, Abraham's journey to the Promised Land was the first religious pilgrimage. Among the places he visited was Salem, the future site of Jerusalem. With the bringing of the Holy Ark to Jerusalem by King David and the erection there of the Temple of the Lord by King Solomon, Jerusalem became the focus of Jewish pilgrims seeking to comply with the Biblical injunction: "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose" [Deuteronomy 16:16]. Through the centuries, Jews dispersed throughout the world have engaged in pilgrimages to their Holy City.

Christian pilgrimage received a considerable stimulus in the fourth century AD when Empress Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, identified the traditional sites associated with the life and death of Jesus. The sites themselves and the magnificent churches and shrines erected over them have attracted Christian pilgrims in large numbers since that time, as have the holy sites from the Old Testament.

One of the Five Pillars of the Islamic faith is the hajj, an obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca. Nevertheless, Jerusalem is known in Arabic as el-Quds ("the holy one"), and the city is home to some of the most important Islamic shrines. Foremost among them is the Dome of the Rock, the magnificent mosque sheltering the rock from which Muhammad is believed to have ascended to heaven. The Temple Mount upon which it stands, along with the great Mosque of el-Aqsa, is reverently called el-Haram esh-Sharif, "The Noble Sanctuary."

Early pilgrimages from Europe to Jerusalem were long and difficult journeys. The flow of pilgrims was influenced by many circumstances including travel facilities, wars, epidemics, and political, religious, and economic conditions. Accounts of these journeys are rich sources of information regarding historical events, geography, fauna and flora, and various cultures, religious practices, customs, and languages. Pilgrims' itineraries and maps were sometimes distorted by inaccurate observation, hearsay, deliberate exaggeration or fabrication, or religious preconceptions. They nevertheless provide valuable insights into the history and topography of Jerusalem and surrounding regions. Because of Muslim and Jewish prohibitions against "graven images," the majority of maps were by Christian pilgrims.




German, ca. 1440-1497
German, fl. ca. 1460-1490
Untitled map of Palestine and view of Jerusalem
Mainz, 1486
Woodcut, 27.4 x 128.4 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: Jerusalem, in center of image, oriented to the west

This is the earliest printed map of the Holy Land based on contemporary eyewitness sources. It appeared in the first illustrated travel guide to the Holy Land, written by Bernhard von Breydenbach, a Deacon of the Mainz Cathedral. Breydenbach's account is based on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1483, accompanied by Erhard Reuwich, an accomplished Dutch artist who made on-site sketches for later use as woodcut illustrations.

Oriented to the East, the map presents a panoramic depiction of the region extending from Damascus and Tripolis in the north to the Red Sea and Alexandria in the south. Many biblical sites are portrayed, together with other features of interest to travelers and pilgrims, such as the Pyramids of Egypt and locations where indulgences could be obtained. At the lower left, pilgrims are disembarking from a ship at the harbor of Jaffa.

Inserted into the central portion of the map is a large and detailed view of Jerusalem oriented to the west, as seen from the Mount of Olives. This view differs from the rest of the map in both scale and perspective, and should be viewed separately. Although this map was made at a time when Jerusalem was under Islamic rule, the holy sites are designated by their Christian names. The Dome of the Rock ("Templum Salomonis") is seen at the center, with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ("Templum gloriosum Domini Sepulchri") above and to the right; a hospice for pilgrims stands between the two shrines. These and many other sites are depicted with unusual accuracy stemming from firsthand observation, in contrast to the more common renditions based on vague scriptural descriptions or pure imagination. Accordingly, the map was extraordinarily useful to pilgrims and was widely copied.



Dutch, 1587-1652
From a Dutch Bible
[Amsterdam?], 1642
Engraving, hand colored, 30.2 x 40.8 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: Calvary, with Visscher's graphic pun on his name, at lower-left

The practice of illustrating Bibles with maps began early in the sixteenth century. By the seventeenth century, Bibles typically contained maps illustrating five traditional subjects: the Patriarchs; the Exodus; the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the Promised Land; Christ and the Gospels; and, the Wanderings of Saint Paul. Some mapmakers, such as the eminent Visscher family of Amsterdam, added a plan of Jerusalem. This is the first such plan, an imaginary bird's-eye view of the ancient walled city with east at the top. The Second Temple, Mount Zion, and Herod's Palace are among 40 sites identified. A vignette at the lower right depicts the anointment of King Solomon, and another at the lower left portrays the Crucifixion. The fisherman in the lower left corner represents a visual signature of the mapmaker, whose Dutch name "Visscher" is equivalent to the English "Fisher."



  23. D. HAINES
American, fl. 1815-1833
Philadelphia, 1828
Lithograph, hand colored, 58.5 x 146.5 cm
Osher Collection

Although this map was made more than 300 years after that of von Breydenbach (object 21), they have much in common. Both are panoramic maps of the Holy Land from Damascus to Alexandria, oriented to the east, with inset views of Jerusalem and depictions of many Biblical sites. The Haines map, however, is considerably more detailed. It presents an encyclopedic portrayal of the geography and events of the Old and New Testaments, with graphic scenes and extensive explanatory texts. At the top center there is a large plan of Jerusalem, clearly derived from Visscher's (object 22). In the lower left corner there is view of Jerusalem from the east, with Jesus approaching the city on Palm Sunday. This map exemplifies the power of a well designed map to transmit information by using a combination of images and words; by itself, it could serve as a comprehensive guide for the pilgrim or Bible student.



Historical Pub[lishin]g. Co. Litho., Philadelphia, 1890
Colored lithograph, 22.5 x 309.5 cm
Kyram Collection
Detail: The Crucifixion

This dramatic scene is taken from The Cyclorama, an enormous three-dimensional panorama of Jerusalem on the day of the Crucifixion. It was created in Munich between 1878 and 1882, and has been on view since 1895 in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, near the city of Quebec in Canada. The tableau is of monumental size, measuring 46 feet in height and 361 feet in circumference. The lifelike character of the display creates the illusion of being a spectator at the historic event, a quality that is captured in the illustration.


VI. Jerusalem: The Center of the World

This city of Jerusalem I have set in the midst of nations, with other countries round about her. [Ezekiel 5:5]

Since Jerusalem was located near the middle of the known world of antiquity, it naturally occupied a central position on early world maps. During the Middle Ages, strong religious influences caused some mapmakers to deliberately place Jerusalem at the exact center or "navel" of the world, in accordance with Biblical descriptions. This format was not widely adopted until the thirteenth century, following the Crusades and the consequent popular identification of Jerusalem as a primary spiritual center. With the advent of the Renaissance, new discoveries and improved geographic concepts changed the extent and shape of the known world and rendered Jerusalem-centered maps obsolete.



German, 1545-1606
Die gantze Welt in ein Kleberblat ...
From: Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae ...
Magdeburg, Germany,1581
Woodcut, 25.8 x 36.5 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: The New World, at lower-left
Detail: Jerusalem

This curious map appeared in a late sixteenth-century rendition of the Bible in the form of an illustrated travel book. It reflects outmoded medieval theologic-geographic concepts, placing Jerusalem at the center of the world and at the intersection of three continents.

The format of the map is an imaginative adaptation of the cloverleaf design taken from the coat of arms of Hannover, the author's native city. In a mixture of fantasy and geography, the continents of the Old World are compressed into the three petals, and England and Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden) are portrayed as islands in the northern ocean. The Red Sea separates Asia from Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea fills the angle between Africa and Europe. A glimpse of the New World is seen at the lower left. The all-encompassing ocean is embellished with a mermaid, a Triton, several sea monsters, and a ship.



English ca. 1160-1235
Untitled world map ["the Ebstorf map"]
Ebstorf, Germany, ca. 1235
Modern reproduction: Terra Sancta Arts Ltd., Tel-Aviv, Israel
Kyram Collection

This is a reduced and retouched reproduction of the largest known medieval world map, made at or for the Benedictine abbey of Ebstorf in about 1235. The original, measuring almost 12 feet in diameter, was destroyed in an air-raid on Hannover, Germany, during World War II. It was a classic mappamundi, a type of medieval world map or map-painting whose chief purpose was to teach Christian history to the faithful. Such maps attempted to summarize and locate major events in religious and secular history and convey a wide variety of spiritual, ethical, and scholarly information including natural history, myth, and legend. They served as visual encyclopedias within a Christian framework set against a geographic backdrop; geographic accuracy was, accordingly, of secondary importance. The author's home territory was often disproportionately enlarged, and the size of other regions was dependent on their historical or religious importance and the amount of information to be inscribed on them. These maps were commonly circular in shape with east at the top, although other geometric forms and orientations were used. As noted earlier, Jerusalem was placed at the center of these large mappaemundi of the late Middle Ages.

The religious purpose of the Ebstorf map is clearly evident: the world is depicted as the body of Christ. Christ's head is at the top (east) adjacent to Paradise. His arms embrace the world and its people; even the monstrous races of Africa are gathered in and saved by His left hand. Jerusalem is at the navel of the world, and is depicted as a square walled city enclosing an image of the risen Christ.

A disproportionately large Middle East occupies the central portion of the map, with Asia above (east), Africa to the right (south), and Europe at the lower left (northwest). Places and episodes from the Old and New Testaments are prominently depicted. In addition, contemporary geographic features including roads and scenic areas are portrayed, indicating that the map was designed to meet secular as well as religious needs of travelers.



English, fl. ca. 1260-1305
Descriptio Orosii de ornesta mundi sicut interius ostenditur
Lincoln, England, ca. 1290
Original manuscript on vellum, 165 x 135 cm
Printed reproduction by Wychwood Editions, Oxfordshire, England
Osher Library Collection

This is a reproduction of the Hereford map, so-called because it has served as an altarpiece in Hereford Cathedral for the past seven hundred years. It is the largest (5.4 x 4.4 feet) and most detailed of the surviving mappaemundi. Made about 50 years after the Ebstorf map, it is similar in concept though smaller than its now-destroyed precursor. Like the Ebstorf map, the Hereford map is circular in shape with east at the top and the walled city of Jerusalem at the center. Asia is at the top, Africa to the right, and Europe at the lower left; an apparent scribal error has transposed the names of Africa and Europe. The principal cities of Europe are depicted, along with the major trade and pilgrim routes.

The Holy Land is greatly enlarged, occupying about one-sixth of the world's surface. Numerous Biblical sites and events are depicted, many of them also seen on the Ebstorf map; they include the Exodus, the wanderings of the Israelites, Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai, the Tower of Babel, Noah's ark on Mount Ararat, the stable at Bethlehem, and the Crucifixion. At the very top, Christ sits in judgement, and angels conduct the saved to heaven and the sinners to hell.

Monstrous races -- dog-headed men, headless men with facial features on their chests, men with single legs or four legs, and other strange humanoid beings -- are portrayed along the southern border of Africa. Described by such classical writers as Herodotus and Pliny, these bizarre creatures were entrenched in medieval lore as descendents of Adam and Noah and thus deserving of salvation.

In the lower left corner Augustus Caesar is seen issuing an edict calling for a survey or registration of the entire world. This has been interpreted as referring to the census that caused Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem. However, a border inscription refers to a world survey initiated by Julius Caesar shortly before his death. The scene of the three surveyors receiving the decree from Augustus is consistent with the recorded history of that monumental project, since it was largely completed during the reign of Augustus.



Austrian, fl. 1448
Untitled circular world map
Constance (Konstanz), Germany, 1448
Facsimile of manuscript on vellum; map diameter 42.5 cm
Original in Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Rome
Osher Collection

This map represents a transitional type between medieval and Renaissance maps. It is circular in form, but is oriented to the south rather than the east. More important, there is more emphasis on geographic accuracy and less on transmission of historical and religious information. An inscription at the bottom explains that the map was drawn according to Ptolemy's scientific principles, using a uniform scale and a framework of longitude and latitude. One consequence of this approach is that the map is not centered on Jerusalem, but on a nearby point in the interior of Asia Minor.

Additional features of interest are the depiction of earthly Paradise as a large walled city at the eastern edge of Asia, the use of red color to indicate Christian cities and black for Islamic cities, and an inscription over the southern tip of Africa suggesting that monstrous races reside in the antarctic region.


VII. Jerusalem: From Town to Metropolis

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all ye that love her! Join in her jubilation, all ye that mourn for her. ... For thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like a flowing stream ... Ye shall find comfort in Jerusalem ... [Isaiah 66:10,12,13]

From its earliest settlement some 5,500 years ago, Jerusalem's history has been marked by periods of prosperity and rapid growth interrupted by calamities and near-obliteration; it has survived 25 conquests and 17 destructions. Three thousand years ago the City of David had about 2,000 inhabitants living in an area of 10 to 12 acres. The city's population and area more than doubled during the reign of King Solomon (ca. 961-922 BC), and reached 25,000 and 125 acres, respectively, before the destruction of 586 BC. By the time of the Roman destruction of the city in AD 70, its area had grown to about 425 acres and its population had peaked at about 60,000, a level not exceeded for more than 1,800 years. Jerusalem's most explosive growth occurred in the past two centuries, from a population of less than 9,000 in 1800, to 60,000 in 1905, 164,000 in 1946, 267,000 in 1967, and 580,000 today. Its area now exceeds 45 square miles.

Jerusalem has undergone many changes during its control by a series of governments -- from ancient Israelite, Babylonian, and Roman, to Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman, and British. Repeated destruction and reconstruction have left distinctive imprints. Some of these are apparent in surviving monuments, shrines, and buildings of varying ages and architectural styles; others have been discovered and preserved by archaeological excavation. As Jerusalem has grown into a modern metropolis, it has had to meet the challenge of preserving its rich heritage while meeting the needs of its citizens.



Spanish, 1552-1608
From: Explanationes in Ezechielis et apparatus urbis ac templi Hierosolymitani
Roma, 1604
Engraving, 63.8 x 75.4 cm
Osher Collection
Detail: Solomon's Temple
Detail: The City of David

Villalpando was a Jesuit architect and scholar whose imaginary map of ancient Jerusalem was based on Biblical accounts. In the belief that Solomon's Temple was the symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem to come, Villalpando created a detailed pictorial reconstruction and plan of the Temple patterned after the prophet Ezekiel's visionary description. A miniature version of his plan appears at the bottom center of the map. Several other Biblical sites are depicted within the city, including a circular City of David (upper left). Roman encampments and Biblical monuments are seen outside the walls.

Villalpando's scholarship was widely respected and his conceptions of Solomon's Temple and ancient Jerusalem were accepted and copied for more than a century.



Spanish, 1552-1608
From: Augustin Antoine Calmet, Het Algemaen groot historisch . . . Word-boek van den gantschen H. Bybel
Leyden, 1727
Engraving, hand colored, 30.5 x 44.5 cm
Kyram Collection

This reduced version of the preceding map appeared in a Dutch text more than a century after the original. Little has been changed except for the smaller size and translation of names from Latin to Dutch.



Spanish, 1552-1608
Probably from a Dutch Bible, ca. 1730
Engraving, hand colored, 30.3 x 46.2 cm
Kyram Collection
Detail: Plan of Solomon's Temple
Detail: Elevation of Solomon's Temple

In this late version of the Villalpando map, the streets of Jerusalem have been built up and 60 sites have been numbered and identified. Paneled border illustrations portray King Solomon, the high priest, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and altars and furnishings of the Temple. At the top center, Solomon's Temple is portrayed as a classical revival palace of grandiose and visionary proportions, in contrast to Villalpando's simpler portrayal at the bottom center of the map.



German, fl. ca. 1850-1855
From: Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion
Boston, 1853
Wood engraving, 31.3 x 50.4 cm
Kyram Collection
Detail: Solomon's Temple

This bird's-eye view presents an imaginative pictorial reconstruction of Biblical Jerusalem. The exact time period is not fixed; traditional sites and scenes from both Old and New Testaments are portrayed. Solomon's Temple, depicted in the style popularized by Villalpando, dominates the city. A large number of religious and historical sites are delineated, and a detailed legend identifies them by number, noting those that are pre-Christian or apocryphal. This illustration is one of many produced in response to a high level of interest in Jerusalem during the mid-nineteenth century. The artist, known for his city views, portrayed the architecture and overall appearance in a style more characteristic of a modern city than a Biblical town.



Dutch, 1653-1722
De Stadt JERUSALEM als zy hedendaeghs bevonden wordt
From: Kanaan
Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 1717
Engraving, 20.0 x 32.9 cm
Kyram Collection

This traditional bird's-eye view of Jerusalem from the east is based on an on-site drawing made in 1578. It presents an accurate picture of the city as it appeared after the walls were rebuilt by Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566), the same walls that surround the Old City today. Numbered legends at the bottom identify 45 holy sites and historical landmarks.



English, 1836-1905
English, 1821-1910
From: William Smith, Atlas of Ancient Geography, Biblical and Classical
London, 1874
Lithograph, hand colored, 43.5 x 57.5 cm
Kyram Collection
Detail: The ancient and medieval cities of Jerusalem
Detail: Mount Moriah
Detail: Upper City

The first scientifically accurate map of Jerusalem was made by Sir Charles W. Wilson of the British Royal Engineers, who conducted the Ordnance Survey in 1864-65. This is a reduced version of Wilson's map, with superimposed delineations of the ancient sites (in red); the City of David, Mount Moriah, the Upper and Lower Cities, and Bezetha are identified. The ancient (first and second) walls are shown in red, and the third (Suleiman's) wall in black. The few existing modern buildings outside the walls are shown, along with several cisterns for storing rainwater, an important resource in a water-short city. Wilson's map marks an important milestone in the exploration and mapping of Jerusalem, and still serves as the basis for reliable maps of the city.



35. F. J. SALMON
The Survey of Israel
Tel Aviv, 1936/75
Printed tourist map, 69.9 x 58.4 cm
Kyram Collection

This is a twentieth-century counterpart of the early pilgrim maps and guides already seen. It is a tourist map of the Old City and its environs, originally produced during the British Mandate in 1936, and updated by the Survey of Israel (Ministry of Labour, State of Israel) in 1975. The walls and gates, holy sites, residential quarters, and other places of interest are shown and indexed.



Haifa, 1969
Colored lithograph, 50.0 x 98.0 cm
Kyram Collection

This is a modern bird's-eye view of the entire city of Jerusalem. Its extraordinary detail conveys the vibrant and dynamic character of the unified city during the surge of development that followed the Six Day War (1967), symbolized by the construction crane at work (indicated by the arrow). A national park surrounds the Old City wall, and municipal parks are scattered throughout the city. Public buildings including the Knesset (Parliament), the Israel Museum, and the Hebrew University are located in a complex of parks west of the city center (at left).





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