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Columbus's Point of Departure
Important early view of Cadiz, focused on the chapel of San Sebastian in the foreground with the city in the background.
The plate shows Cadiz seen across the narrow peninsula from the Atlantic. In the foreground stands the chapel of St Sebastian. A group of fishermen has been included in order to illustrate the fishing method described in the text. Also visible at the lower edge is the figure of Hercules, the legendary founder of the city, suduing the Nemean Lion - in this instance even two. On the left, as a picture within a picture, Hoefnagel shows crews being enrolled for service on the galleys by the method of casting lots, and subsequently being taken on board. A bastion is included on the right as a symbol of Cadiz's military importance.
The map appeared in Volume 5 of Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum.
Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published. His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.
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