Alain Manesson Mallet; 1630-1706.
Precious little is known about this author, safe for having
been a military engineer serving the French king Louis XIV.
His claim to fame comes from his very successful "Description
de l'Univers", a pocket size thick geography book in five
volumes, replete with encyclopedic details, historical data,
scores of illustrations (landscapes, decisive battle scenes,
towns, forts, harbors, .), and quite a few simple maps.
The book was published between 1683 and 1688. However, reprints
were made later with german text (1686 and 1719).
Of note also his "Les travaux de Mars" in 1672 on the art
of fortification, and "La géométrie pratique" in 1702, a massive
study in geometry, trigonometry, planimetry and land survey.
This small bird eye map (3 7/8" X 5 11/16") was designed and
printed for the "Description de l'Univers".
It shows a stunning view of the city (derived from the much
larger 1671 depiction by Arnold Montanus), seen from the harbor
On the left: the Morro mighty fort with its light house. Across
the channel: the Puntal fortress. Between the two, a chain
blocks access to the anchorage. The town is shown to contain
large buildings and churches.
The atmosphere is tense: a foreign fleet is blockading the
harbor and shelling the town, at least one building is on
French text on verso.