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Tuesday 20 September 2022

Jost Amman’s woodcut, “A Naval Battle Between the Carthaginians and the Romans”, 1572

Jost Amman (aka Jost Ammon) (1539–1591)

“A Naval Battle Between the Carthaginians and the Romans”, 1572, woodcut illustration to Livy’s (aka Titus Livius) (59 BC–AD 17), “Titi Livii Patavini Romanæ historiæ principis libri omnes qvotqvot ad nostram ætatem peruenerunt …” (aka “Scenes from Livy, representing the principle events of Roman history in a skilful and lifelike manner and elucidated by Philip Lonicer in succinct verses” [TIB]; “Icones Livianae”), published with imperial privilege in Frankfurt am Main by Sigmund Feyerabend (aka Sigismund Feyrabend; Sigmund Feierabend) (1528-1590) in 1572/1578. This impression is from page 686 (based on the Latin text verso) but the same woodcut was used as an illustration to page 316 (see &

Note that the title of the woodcut changes according to its contextual use: “A Naval Battle Between the Carthaginians and the Romans” (Livy XXI.34–6) (TIB 20.3.60 [367]; vol. 20 [Part 1], p. 376); “A Naval Battle Between the Romans and the Tarentines” (Livy XXXVI.36) (TIB 20.3.79 [367]; vol. 20 [Part 1], p. 386).

Woodcut on fine laid paper with letterpress text verso, trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (support sheet) 25.7 x 28.4 cm; (sheet) 11.1 x 15.3 cm; (image borderline) 10.9 x 15.1 cm.

Initialled in plate with the artist's monogram in reverse: (on shield in sea at lower centre) “AI”.

TIB 20.3.60 (367) (Jane S Peters 1985, “The Illustrated Bartsch: German Masters of the Sixteenth Century: Jost Amman”, vol., 20 [Part 1], New York, Abaris Books, p. 376, cat. no. 3.60 [367]).

Condition: a strong and well-printed early impression showing minimal signs of wear to the printing plate, trimmed around the image borderline and laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper providing larger margins. Beyond minor strike-through of the text verso, the sheet is in an excellent condition for its considerable age with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this remarkable woodcut showing an amazing Roman naval battle scene—note the artist’s fascination with small details like the stitching on the billowing sail at left; mindful that each “dot” of the portrayed stitching had to be meticulously cut around in wood so that it would print as a black dot—for AU$268 (currently US$179.57/EUR179.45/GBP157.06 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this amazing German woodcut from the late Renaissance showing a naval battle with a Roman ship complete with (sigh) cannons, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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