"The Great and Terrible Flood," January 1651

from Multimedia Library Collection:
Art & Graphics

Broadsheet from woodcut: "The Great and Terrible Flood," January 1651.

This broadsheet provides a graphic representation of the devastation caused by a massive flood along the rivers Danube, Neckar, Main, and Rhein in January 1651. Less than two years after the end of the Thirty Years’ War, victims of the flood drowned or, having climbed trees and onto rooftops, starved or froze to death. The woodcut shows how houses, churches, and entire crop fields were destroyed as water enveloped the landscape. It is accompanied by a poem that describes how "violent waters" destroyed a bridge in the Westphalian city of Mörß (now Moers) and broke through "one hundred places" along a dyke in Arnheim (now the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands). There is also mention of flooding along the Danube in Nuremberg and the Neckar River in Hendelberg (now Heidelberg). Given the horror surrounding the event, the author calls upon his readers to "fall to their knees" and repent.

With kind permission of the Bavarian State Library. Broadside catalogue, call number: Einbl. II,22

This selection of historic, richly handcrafted illustrations from the Bavarian State Library database depicts environmentally relevant historic places and events. The collection includes:

  • all broadsides (16th to 18th century) from the group "Einbl";
  • Bavarian ordinances (16th to 18th century, "Kloeckeliana" collection);
  • Handwerkskundschaften (journeymen's identity papers) from the "Stopp" collection; and
  • zoological broadsides from the "Faust" collection.