Maps : Oppidum Cantebrigiae


<p style='text-align: justify;'><b>Cambridge, Richard Lyne, 1574.</b></p><p style='text-align: justify;'>This is the earliest known complete map of Cambridge. The map can occasionally be found bound into a book by John Caius, <i>De antiquitate Cantebrigiensis Academiæ</i>, in which he was attempting to argue that Cambridge was an older University than Oxford. Richard Lyne’s map has the distinction of being the earliest depiction of a town known to have been engraved on copper by an Englishman.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Drawn in the form of a bird’s-eye view, the map concentrates on the central area where the college buildings dominate, though the representations are not entirely accurate. This is even truer of the non-collegiate buildings which are drawn in a rather standardised manner. Nevertheless, it gives a good impression of Cambridge at the time, and could be used to navigate the city even today!</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>At the top right is a description of the town in Latin, in which particular attention is drawn to the King’s Ditch – ‘now found convenient for the cleansing of dirt from the streets, and for washing filth into the Granta’. It ends with a suggestion that the bringing of fresh water into the Ditch by the diversion of a brook would be an achievement ‘grateful to posterity’.</p>

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