Quaresmio Francesco (1583-1656)

A missionary and orientalist, Quaresmio was born in Lodi, Italy on April 4th, 1583.

Becoming a Franciscan in 1598, he left for Palestine in 1616 and was appointed Superior of all Franciscan houses in the holy land (1618-1619).

He wrote several books among which noteworthy are: "Jerosolymae afflictae..."(Milan 1631), in which he appealed to Philip IV of Spain to organize a campaign to reconquer the Holy Land. The book constitutes a comprehensive survey of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. "Historica theologica et moralis Terrae Sanctae" (Antwerp 1634-1635), an account of his travels in the holy land, including a map of the city.

This map presents the city from diagonal bird's-eye perspective and depicts Jerusalem in a realistic manner based upon first-hand information resulting from his long serving in the city. Yet, although the map is reliable and quite accurate depicting the city and its structures, the mountainous landscape of the Judean hills surrounding Jerusalem is quite rendered.

This map of Quaresmius is a realistic one, that portrait Jerusalem in the early seventeenth century, by creating a mixture of contemporary reality and historical theological image in the same map.

The map has a detailed legend, which include chiefly Christian holy sites and their associated traditions, with considerable attention to Pilgrimage sites in the environs of Jerusalem, ignoring the Muslims and Jews and the daily life of the city.

Quaresmius died in Milan at the 25th of October 1656.

Sources:

  1. "Quaresmius" The New Catholic Encyclopedia, XII, New York 1967, pp.12-13.
  2. Rehav Rubin, Image and Realty, Magnes press, Jerusalem, 1999, p.52, 62, 63, 67, 99-102.