This large size map of Batavia, was published in Amsterdam in the year 1681. This decorative map of the old Dutch Capital City on Java is a so-called bird's eye view, decorated with ships and a view of the city from the sea. Extensive key in the lower right corner of the map names the canals, walls, rivers and important buildings of the city. This unique and detailed map published almost 350 years ago, gives a fascinating look at the Indonesian capital on Java in colonial times. This map is rare on the market and a gem in every Indonesian antique map collection.
Published by the Italian historian Gregorio Leti (1630-1710) and based on the earlier map of Batavia published by Clement de Jonghe in 1650. The plate was acquired by the prolific Dutch map and chart maker Frederik de Wit sometime after 1681, and published in his Townbook of Europe, Theatrum Praecipuarum Totius Eurpoae Urbium tam ichnographice Delineatarum ….. t’Amsterdam, by Frederick De Wit in Amstrdam in 1693. Although entitled the Townbook of Europe, De Wit did include plans of four cities outside Europe including Constantinople, Jerusalem, Goa and Batavia at the end of the atlas. Batavia was the last map, numbered 132 (Koeman, Wit 28, Vol. III, page 210).This edition was published in 1690 by Gregorio Leti (BAT K21 in Brommer). The imposing view of Batavia from the sea was originally engraved by Johannes Vingboons probably around 1650 as a commission from William Blaeu for whom he worked.
Gregorio Leti (1630–1701) was an Italian historian and satirist from Milan, who sometimes published under the pseudonym Abbe Gualdi, L'abbé Gualdi, or Gualdus known for his works about the Catholic Church, especially the papacy. All of his publications were listed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
The nephew of the Bishop of Acquapendente in Umbria, Leti was educated in a Jesuit school, but later became a Protestant. He resided in the court of Louis XIV of France and in 1680 that of Charles II of England, who commissioned him to write a history of England. Leti had access to the library of the Earl of Anglesey, which numbered over 5,000 volumes, as well as that of Bishop Gilbert Burnet. He wrote the first ever proper life of Elizabeth I of England, which includes many romantic embellishments about her youth and her mother, Anne Boleyn. Nevertheless, he may have used documents he found in the English libraries. Leti was also elected a member of the Royal Society.
After the publication of a collection of anecdotes which offended Charles II, Il Teatro Britannico, Leti fled England in 1683 for Amsterdam, where he became the city historiographer in 1685. He died in Amsterdam in 1701.
Leti's biography of Pope Sixtus V has been translated into many languages, and contains an anecdote similar to the infamous "pound of flesh" from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. The Catholic Encyclopedia calls Leti "mendacious and inexact" and is also critical of works described as derivative of Leti's "anti-papal histories." Mosheim, a Lutheran church historian, called Leti "inaccurate and unfaithful." According to Thomas Trollope, "his inexactitude as an historian is notorious." Even secular writers have characterised his biography of Sixtus V as "resting on very slight authority." Among his critics, Leti is sometimes referred to as the "Varillas of Italy."