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The plan of Jerusalem (left) shows the biblical city rather than the medieval one. The homes (‘domus’) of King Solomon, Pontius Pilate and St Anne and the area occupied by the Holy Sepulchre (‘sepulchrum domini’) and the Temple are indicated, but not the places of worship that later occupied these sites.
The sparseness of the Jerusalem plan, which had passed from Christian control some 125 years earlier, contrasts with the detail shown for Acre (right). This last bastion of the crusaders had succumbed to Islam within living memory in 1290, and it is depicted as a Christian stronghold. The fortified harbour, the arsenal, the castle (‘castellium’) and soldiers’ lodgings (e.g. ‘hospitium hospitalis’) are indicated as are the parts of the walls and town that were in the custody of the different nations (e.g. ‘turrius anglorum’) and of the crusader orders (e.g. ‘custodia templariorum’).
What were early topographical views used for? Former British Library maps curator James Elliot explains the origins of town plans, ‘picture maps’ and bird’s eye views.