Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 076


Text (translated from the 1579 Latin, 1580/1589 German, 1581 French, 1584 Latin, 1587 French & 1588 Spanish edition)

76.1. {1579L{FLANDERS

76.2. The extreme part of Europe, opposite England and Scotland, {1580/1589G, 1584L & 1588S have instead{the British Isles}1580/1589G, 1584L & 1588S instead} surrounded by France, Germany and the Ocean, is by the inhabitants called lower Germany. But the French and all strangers call it by the name of Flanders. But indeed, Flanders is not so large. For even if Flanders, as it is properly called was larger in former times, it is <now> bounded by Brabant, Henault, Artois and the Ocean. They divide this into three parts, namely the Dutch, the French and Imperial Flanders, which last part (because it never acknowledged any superior next to the Prince of Flanders) they also name Flanders proper. Dutch Flanders has these cities: Gent, Bruges, Yperen, Cortrijck, Oudenard with Pammele, Nieuwport, Furnas, Bergen, Sluise, Damme, Bierflet, Dixmud, Cassel, Dunkerke, Greveling, Borburch, and Hulst. French Flanders: L'isle, Doway and Orchies. And Flanders Imperial or proper: Aelst, Dendermond, Geertsberg and Ninoven.
76.3. The principal rivers are Scheld, Lys and Dender. Most of the region is pasture ground, especially towards the West. It breeds fair oxen, and most excellent and warlike horses. It abounds with butter and cheese, and yields wheat in abundance. Most of the inhabitants are merchants, and of flax (of which in Flanders they have plenty, of excellent quality) and wool (which is brought to them from Spain and England) they make great quantities of linen and woollen cloth, which they export far and wide.
76.4. This Province of Flanders has 28 walled cities, and 1154 villages, next to fortresses, castles and noblemen's houses. Among which Gent is the greatest city. Erasmus of Rotterdam in his Epistles writes about it in the following manner: I am of the opinion (he says) if you look all over the Christian world, that you shall not find a city comparable to this, either in size or strength, or in civil government and kindness of the people. So far for Erasmus.
76.5. It measures in circumference three Dutch miles. It is watered by three rivers, which divide it into twenty inhabited islands. In multitude and beauty of its houses, Bruges surpasses almost all the cities of the Netherlands. It had such a famous market in former times that (says Iacobus Marchantius) the name of Flanders obscures all the regions around it. Yperen lies at the river of Yperlee, very convenient for Fullers. By <its> clothing <industry> it grew in former times to a huge size, until the English and the men of Gent besieged it, destroyed the large suburbs, and diminished <its significance>.
76.6. As the saying goes, Milan as a Dukedom surpasses the Christian world. So does Flanders as an Earldom. It has certain prerogatives. For its Prince considers himself Earl of Flanders by the grace of God, which is a proper title in the style of Kings. For it <= this title> is given (says Meierus) to no Duke, Marquis or Earl {1580/1589G has instead{one}1580/1589G instead} in the Christian world, but only to him of Flanders, while others usually add By the clemency, or By the assistance of God, &c. He had in former times various officers for the King only, namely his Chancellor, his Master of the horse, his Chamberlain and his Cup-bearer, as well as two Marshals and ten {1580/1589G, 1584L & 1588S have instead{twelve}1580/1589G, 1584L & 1588S instead} Peers, as in France. The <coat of> arms used to be a escutcheon in Azure, divided by five Cross-bars of gold with another small red escutcheon in the middle. Now it is a black lion in a golden field, which, some think, he took for his <coat of> arms, together with the other Dutch Princes when they set forth on their expedition towards Syria in the company of Philip of Elzas. For at that time the princes of Flanders, Lovaine, Holland, Lutzenburg, Limburg, Brabant, Zeland, Frisland, Henault &c. changing their ancient <coats of> arms, adopted for themselves lions of various colours.
76.7. The greater part of Flanders was from the beginning under the protection of the French Kings. But now it is at liberty, and fully independent, being released by Emperor Charles the fifth, Earl of Flanders, who in the treaty of Madrid entirely shook off this <= the French> yoke. This region has been described most diligently by Ludouicus Guicciardine, and most learnedly by Iacobus Marchantius. You may also read the ten volumes by Iacobus Meierus on Flanders' affairs}1579L}.

<Since the texts of the 1581 French and 1587 French edition are considerably different from that given above, we provide a separate translation of this edition below>

76.8. {1581F & 1587F only{Flanders.

76.9. Planders is famous for being the best Earldom of all Christianity. Its borders are provided by Brabant, Haynault and Artoys, being stretched out on the other side along the sea, between the rivers Escaut in the East, and the Aa in the West. This land of Flanders is nowadays divided into three parts, called Flemish Flanders, French Flanders, and Imperial Flanders, by many called the true Flanders, since they know no other lord than the Earl of Flanders.
76.10. In Flemish Flanders you have these cities: Gand, Bruges, Ypre, Courtray, Oudenarde with Pamele, Nieuport, Vuerne, Winocsbergue, Sluys, Damme, Biervliet, Dixmude, Cassel, Duynkercke, Grauelinge, Borbourg & Hulst. In French Flanders there are L'Isle, Douay & Orchies. In Imperial
Flanders there are Alost, Denremonde, le Mont St. Gerard & Ninoue. The area of Flanders contains altogether 28 cities enclosed by walls and 1104 villages, not counting its Fortresses, castles, and Mansions of the nobility.
76.11. Its prime rivers are: the Escaut, the Liz and the Denre. It is a good, rich and fertile land, full of pasture, mostly towards the West, nourishing many cows and horses, fit for war. Butter and cheese there is in great abundance. The corn that grows in abundance is very good. Its inhabitants apply themselves to trading merchandise, making linen which is produced in great quantities, and also drapes of wool obtaind from Spain and England, which they sell to foreign countries.
76.12. The Capital of this country is called Gand, which is considered one of the greatest cities of Christianity. It has a circumference of about three miles. It has three navigable rivers, namely the Escaut, the Lieue, and the Liz, which come together within its walls and which divide it into 20 islands, which are connected and brought together by 98 bridges. It is a city with much commerce, well populated, strongly situated with a Castle which Emperor Charles the Fifth built there, who was also born in this city in the year 1500.
76.13. This city always has lions, which it feeds, and sometimes they have cubs. Bruges surpasses all other cities of this low land. It has beautiful wide streets beautiful buildings and pretty women. In all, it is quite a pleasant city and allows you to see how it was earlier, namely a city with so much tradeas there was none in these Northern regions (according to Aloysius Cadamostus of Venice). There is still a staple of all wool which is imported into this land, both from Spain and from England.
76.14. In Ypre there there is the fairest and largest market (as Lodovicus Guicciardin writes) of all the cities of this country and it has a building called the Hall which is excessively large. There is <also> a great market at Caresme, where they sell Drapes and Sayes which are made all through the year in great quantities. In L'Isle, situated on the river Duele, a lot of saye and lace is made. The inhabitants are diligent and rich because of the continuous stream of merchandise passing through it, so that it is nicknamed Little Antwerp.
76.15. Douay on the river Scarpe is an excellent city, ornated with beautiful fountains. Recently, a University has been established here. But it is superfluous to give a description of all cities, because this has already been done by my good friend Lodouic Guicciardin. Whoever desires to know all the peculiarities of this Earldom of Flanders should read what he has written. This country of Flanders should pay homage to the French King, but Emperor Charles the Fifth has delivered or liberated it from that <obligation> and appropriated it to himself in the treaty of Madril between his Majesty and the King of France}1581F & 1587F only} Marcel van den Broecke .

Bibliographical sources


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