Laicksteen Peter (1556-1570)

A Dutch cartographer and astronomer, who was born in 1556. Peter Laicksteen visited Palestine in 1556. Gaining a thorough insight of the Geography of the land he brought back a drawing of the Holy Land. Sharing it with his colleague Christian Sgroth, an accomplished professional cartographer in the service pf Phillip II, King of Spain, the latter drew it accurately and published it in 1570.

Laicksteen and Sgroth’s original map emphatically proves the advantage of an eyewitness report. Though designed to portray biblical history, their delineation is far from anachronistic. On the contrary, they produced a progressive map, which constitutes one of the few unique published cartographical gems from the sixteenth-century Spanish court.
Laicstein also drew a pair of imaginary maps of Jerusalem in 1544, which differed in contents – although not in the shape – of the city. One was entitled "A Map of the Ancient Jerusalem," while the other was called "A Map of the Modern Jerusalem."

These maps of Jerusalem were quite rare and are believed to be lost; they are known through copies of them made by Braun and Hogenberg, by De Jode, by Arias Montanus and by Villalpando; all of them acknowledged Laicstein's map as their source.

These maps are rich in detail, but do not allude in any realistic way to Jerusalem's landscape. On the map of ancient Jerusalem – "Antiquae Urbis" – the walls and buildings are depicted, based on Josephus as the main source, portraying the city from the time of Melchizedek, the King of Salem, to the time of the Crucifixion.

The depiction of the modern city – "Nova Urbis Hierosolymitana" – is also imaginary, and not very detailed, yet it emphasizes the muslim mosques displaying crescents.

Laicksteen died in 1570.


  1. Kenneth Nebenzahl, Maps of the Holy Land, New York: Abbeville Press, 1986.
  2. Eran Laor, Maps of the Holy Land, Eran Laor collection, 1986, New York & Amsterdam p. 180.
  3. Rehav Rubin, Image and Realty, Magnes press, Jerusalem, 1999.