Palestine Divided into 12 Tribes
18th Century Homann Holy Land Map
Holy Land Map




Inset Detail

Detail of inset map

Map Detail

Detail of main map

Johann Christoph Harenberg (1696-1774) (after)
Palaestina in XII Tribus divisa, cum Terris Adiacentibus denuo revisa & copiosior reddita Studio Johannes Christoph Harenbergii
[Palestine Divided into the 12 Tribes of Israel, with Bordering Lands, Newly Revised
by Johann Christoph Harenberg]

J.B. Homann Heirs, Nuremberg: c. 1750
Hand-colored copperplate engraving
17.5 x 20.5 inches, image
21 x 24 inches, overall

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Map of the Holy Land divided into the areas of the 12 tribes of Israel. Beneath the cartouche is an illustration of two spies of Moses returning to the tent camp of the Israelites bearing an oversized cluster of grapes, representing the fruits of the Promised Land. Above it are renderings of the front and back of an ancient Hebrew shekel coin. An inset map upper left shows other former divisions of Palestine, such as Phoenicia and Samaria. A key in the lower left gives the scale in various mileage systems (German, French, Arabic, Turkish and Jewish). According to the cartouche and French translation in the upper margin, the map was revised and augmented by the cartographer Johann Christoph Harenberg. It is dedicated in the upper right to Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg. The map was included in the Homann Heirs Major Atlas Scholasticus (1752). The Jewish National and University Library of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, has two copies of it in its collection of Holy Land maps (see References below).

Johann Baptist Homann, a former Dominican monk, became a celebrated cartographer of 18th century Nuremburg, Germany, producing maps and celestial charts (generally in atlases), and globes of high quality both in their geographic accuracy and aesthetic appeal. According to map expert R.V. Tooley: "The most important and prolific map-makers in Germany in the 18th century were the Homann family (1702-1813). The founder and principal member was Johann Baptist Homann. He set up his headquarters in Nuremberg and quickly dominated the German market. Nor did he confine his efforts to his homeland, but produced general atlases covering the whole world."

After settling in Nuremburg in 1688, Johann Baptist Homann was employed as a map engraver before founding his own firm in 1702. Homann’s geographical, celestial, and astronomical maps were published in a variety of states throughout the 18th century, which are generally difficult to distinguish from one another. Most of his geographical maps first appeared in Atlas Novus [New Atlas] (1714) and his celestial maps, produced in collaboration with Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr, were issued as part of various publications before being published as a collection posthumously by his heirs, most notably as Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis et in Eodem Stellarum Omnium Phoenomena Notabilia, issued as 30 plates in 1742.

Homann’s geographical maps were frequently republished by the Homann heirs throughout the 18th century, most notably in Atlas Geographicus Maior (c. 1780) and Atlas Homannianus, (Amsterdam, 1731-1796). Homann was initially succeeded by his son, Johann Christoph Homann (1703-1730), then by his friend Johann Michael Franz (1700-1761) and stepsister’s husband Johann Georg Ebersberger (1695-1760). The company continued operations under different names until 1848.

Titled in French top margin: Carte de la Terre Sainte divisée selon les Douze Tribus D’Israel revue et augmentée par Mr. Jean Christoph Harenberg. Prevôt et Professeur. Publiée par les Soins des Heritiers de Homann. l’An 1750 [Map of the Holy Land divided among the Twelve Tribes of Israel revised and augmented by Mr. Johann Christoph Harenberg. Provost and Professor. Published under the Auspices of the Heirs of Homann, in the Year 1750].

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. Vertical center fold as issued.


Dekker, Elly, et al. Globes at Greenwich: A Catalogue of the Globes and Armillary Spheres in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. London: Oxford University Press and the National Maritime Museum, 1999. p. 327.

“Johann Christoph Harenberg.” Holy Land Maps from the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, Jewish National and University Library. (29 July 2008).

Tooley, R.V., Maps and Map-Makers. New York: Bonanza Books, 1949. p. 27.

van Gent, Robert Harry. “The Atlas Coelestis (1742) of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr.” 23 April 2003. (15 September 2004).

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