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Beautiful Example of Speed's Map of Saxon Britain

England/ Scotland/ Anglo Saxon History.  SPEED, J.  [London, 1676Britain As It Was Devided in the tyme of the Englishe=Saxons especially during their Heptarchy. 15 x 19 ¾ inches.  Fine hand color; re-cornered lower left & right, no loss of engraved surface, overall very good.                                                      

            A very attractive example of this retrospective map of Saxon England, Scotland and eastern Ireland, flanked by portraits of Saxon kings of the 5th through 7th centuries.  The monarchs to the left are those of the pre-Christian era, while those on the right are depicted receiving Christianity or being martyred for its sake.  Sebert can be seen in the second panel down on the right re-consecrating the temples of Apollo and Diane; they would become St. Paul’s, London, and St. Peter’s, Westminster.  Ethelbert at top right is seen receiving instruction from St. Augustine. Both W. Blaeu and J. Jansson produced copies of this map.

The English verso text recounts the history of the period that is presented by map, often called the Heptarchy, and describes the various kings. The Heptarchy Period was the time of consolidation following the Anglo Saxon conquest of southern England, approximately from 500 to 850 A.D.  (The word heptarchy itself refers to the seven kingdoms that would eventually combine to form the Kingdom of England in the 10th century.)  

Cf. Shirley, R. Early Printed Maps of the British Isles, no. 317.


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