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Ottoman-Habsburg Wars (1521-1791)

Images from eight wars fought between 1570 and 1718


Siege of Tunis, 1574

La uera descrittione del sito della Citta de / Tunisi et della Goletta sua fortezza, con / il nouo forte fatto dalli Turchi nell 'assedio / di essa nel mese d'Agosto i574

1574 or later

Etching and engraving; printed on paper; ink framing lines of Mount Type A drawn onto the sheet; gilt edges left, bottom and right | 34.2 x 39.4 cm (image) | RCIN 721072

A view of the siege of Spanish-held Tunis by the Turks, commanded by Kiliç Uluç Ali Paşha (1519-21 June 1587) and General Sinān Pasha (1506-3 April 1596) from the middle of July 1574, resulting in the capitulation of the city by the Italian general, Gabrio Serbelloni (1509-80) on 13 September. Ottoman-Habsburg Wars (1526-1791). Oriented with south-west to top (the arrow of the cardinal points indicates that north is to the top and O[stro] or south is to bottom; however, west P[onente] is shown to the right and east [a cross] points to the left.)

A fortification on 'Sicli' (present-day Île Chekli) is depicted in the stagnant Lake of Tunis, with its marked out navigable mile-long channel to the city. The Turkish troops can be seen firing on the fortress of Goletta, which was commanded by Puerto Carrero who, instead of defending it, handed it over to the Turks on 25 August. In the right foreground the Turkish army has formed up behind the water tower. (See also the description to RCIN 721071.)

The addition of the text, bottom right, may have been either an afterthought - made after the sea area was dotted in and a ship wholly or partly engraved (top right of the text), and the framing line is faint or, more likely, it is a re-worked plate formerly of another image which has been imperfectly erased.

Another example of this view is in the Newberry Library Cartographic Collection (Novacco 2F 65 (PrCt) ).

  • Anonymous (cartographer)

  • Watermark: A shield with the letter 'F' over three hills

    Condition: one fold line; brown discolouration; foxing. Verso: brown ink stains on verso; not trimmed

  • 34.2 x 39.4 cm (image)

    34.7 x 39.9 cm (platemark)

    41.2 x 55.0 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    La uera descrittione del sito della Citta de / Tunisi et della Goletta sua fortezza, con / il nouo forte fatto dalli Turchi nell 'assedio / di essa nel mese d'Agosto i574. [top right, in a rectangular panel, engraved over erased text]

    Additional text:

    [bottom right, in a rectangular panel:] Di Palermo alli 3 d'Agosto 1574. Questa mattina è uenuto da Trapani Ernando Gomes il quale e partito dalla Goletta alli 29 del passato e rifferisce / che nella Goletta ... [there follows a brief account of the siege and capture of Tunis by the Turks].


    George III heading: Tunis 1574.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [bottom right, black pencil:] 1574. (Verso) [top left, red pencil:] 1/65; [top left, black pencil:] II/69.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Tunis Descrittione del sito della Citta de Tunisi et della Goletta sua Fortezza con il nuovo forte fatto dalli Turchi nell’ Assedio di essa nel mese d’Agosto 1574.

  • Subject(s)

    Tūnis, Tunisia (36°49ʹ08ʺN 10°09ʹ56ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    F. Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world in the age of Philip II,  vol. II, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London 1995, p. 1137

    M. McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 2719

    R.V. Tooley, ‘Maps in Italian atlases of the sixteenth century, being a comparative list of the Italian maps issued by Lafreri, Forlani, Duchetti, Bertelli and others, found in atlases’, Imago Mundi III, 1939, pp. 12-47, no. 563

Page revisions

  • 14 March 2024