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Doegen, MatthiasKöntorf bei Dramburg (Pommern) 1605 – 1672 Berlin
Architectura militaris moderna. Varijs Historijs, tam veteribus quam novis confirmata, et praecipuis totius Europae munimentis, ad exemplum adductis exornata.
Amsterdam, Louis Elzevier, 1647
folio (300 × 195 mm), (278) ff. signed *2 (*)2 A–G4 *4 H–M4 *2 N–Z4 Aa–Bb4 *4 Cc–Zz4 Aaa–Vvv4 and paginated as usual (8) 1–56 (8) 57–96 (4) 97–200 (8) 201–504 (24), plus twenty-nine inserted engraved folding plates (lettered A–Z, Aa–Ff) and forty folding engraved plans of fortifications. The engraved title-page is included in the registration and one engraving is printed with the text (p.28).
provenance early ink ownership stamp on title and last page (initials dap surmounted by bishop’s cap).
Contemporary manuscript index supplied on two folios bound at end. A few leaves lightly browned or spotted, but altogether a clean and very well-preserved copy.
bound in contemporary vellum over boards, gilt frame on covers, morocco lettering-piece, speckled edges.
First edition of a manual of military architecture treating both permanent fortifications and field defence, in which occurs the first historical account of the genesis of bastions.
Matthias Dögen studied mathematics at the university of Frankfurt an der Oder and sciences at Leiden, entered the service of the Admiralty at Amsterdam, and in 1641 became the agent there of Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg. He became convinced that geometry can provide perfect, invincible fortifications. This manual is his only published work and on it rests his reputation, since the oft-repeated claim that he built fortifications at Spandau is now disputed. The book subsequently was printed in German and French translations (both also at Amsterdam).1
The book features a frontispiece engraved by Theodor Dirck Matham (1606–1676) and two series of plates, geometric figures with details of fortifications or apparatus used in building, and a sequence of topographical plans. The most attractive plans are those of cities bordering on water, such as Breda, Mannheim, Antwerp, Geneva, and Ostende. The plans of Stralsund, Küstrin, Wolfenbüttel, and Spandau are said to be based on manuscript materials.2 Six of the topographical plates were used two years later, in 1649, for Blaeu’s town book of The Netherlands.
references Alphonse Willems, Les Elzévir. Histoire et annales typographiques (Brussels 1880), no. 1047; Architekt und Ingenieur: Baumeister in Krieg und Frieden, catalogue of an exhibition held at Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel 1984), no. 318 (title-page reproduced); Alessandro Biral, Paolo Morachiello and Antonio Manno, Immagini dell’ingegnere tra quattro e settecento: Repertorio bibliografico (Milan 1985), pp.65–66, 176–179 (three engravings reproduced); Martha D. Pollak, Military architecture, cartography & the representation of the early modern European city. A checklist of treatises on fortification in the Newberry Library (Chicago 1991), no. 15; British Architectural Library, Early printed books, 1478–1840: Catalogue of the British Architectural Library Early Imprints Collection: Volume 1: A–D, compiled by Nicholas Savage, Gerald Beasley, Alison Shell, and John Meriton Coast (London 1994), no. 894
1. An unpublished Italian translation is mentioned by Mariano d’Ayala, Bibliografia militare italiana antica e moderna (Turin 1854), p.97.
2. Peter Meurer, ‘Das Festungsbuch des Matthias Dögen (Amsterdam 1647)’ in Speculum Orbis 2 (1986), pp.103–116. Cf. essay by Michèle Virol on CESR database ‘Architectura / Les Livres d'Architecture’ (link).