Geographic Description of the Travels of the Apostles and the Journeys of Paul, Together with the Countries and Empires Where They First Preached the Gospel


This striking map created in 1642 by Nicolaes Visscher (1618‒79) shows the eastern Mediterranean and environs in the first century AD and the journey of the Apostle Paul from Jerusalem to Rome in 60–61. Nine panels surrounding the map depict major scenes from the life of Paul and the journey, including his being blinded on the road to Damascus, his baptism, his escape from Damascus, shipwreck off the island of Malta (also illustrated on the map), and his appearance before the Emperor Nero in Rome. Each panel is a composite containing two or three scenes from the apostle’s life; annotations link the scenes to the appropriate Bible verses. The map was engraved and hand colored to display the administrative and political divisions of the period. Numerous cities, towns, islands, and regions are labeled, including Memphis, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Babel, Tripoli, Constantinople, Athens, and Rome. The seas are decorated with sailing ships and a compass rose. Members of the Visscher family were important art and map dealers in Amsterdam for about 100 years, beginning in the early 17th century. The Visschers worked primarily as art dealers, but they were also publishers who produced individual maps and compiled atlases to order. Their works are noteworthy for their fine engraving, the accuracy of the maps, and the beautiful illustrations.

Last updated: January 17, 2017