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1749 Anville Map of the Parthian Empire


L'Empire des Parthes, pour l'Histoire des Empereurs Romains.
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Price: $250.00
Title:    L'Empire des Parthes, pour l'Histoire des Empereurs Romains.

Description:    This is a scarce 1749 map of the Parthian or Arsacid Empire by J. B. B. D'Anville. Centered on the ancient Arsacid Empire in ancient Persia or Iran, it covers from Cyprus and Ankara in modern day Turkey east as far as the Indus River in modern day Pakistan and from the Sea of Azov south to the Gulf of Oman. Throughout, the map notes important towns, cities, rivers, lakes and other important topographical features.

The Parthian Empire or Arsacid Empire, named after its founder Arsaces I of Parthia, was an important political and cultural power that existed between 247 BC and 228 AD. In the mid-3rd century, Arsaces I, who was then the leader of the Parni tribe, defeated Alexander the Great's successors, the Seleucids, and conquered the region of Parthia. Known as the Parthians after their conquest of the region, they went on to conquer large portions of the Middle East and southwest Asia. At its height, the Empire at its height extended from eh Euphrates to the Indus Rivers, covering modern day Iran, Iraq and large portions of Afghanistan. Its control of the Silk Road trade route made it an important center for trade and commerce. The Parthian Empire was eventually defeated by Ardashir I, a Sassanid prince and ruler of Estakhr in Fars (Persia), in 222 AD. Ardashir revolted against the Arsacids and killed Artabanus IV, the last ruler of the Parthian Empire, in 224 AD, thus beginning the Sassanid era.

This map was based on the work of Jean Baptiste Louis Crevier. Engraved by Guillaume Delahaye and created by J. B. B. D'Anville in 1749.


Date:    1749 (dated)

Cartographer:    Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697-1782) was perhaps the most important and prolific cartographer of the 18th century. D'Anville's passion for cartography manifested during his school years when he amused himself by composing maps for Latin texts. There is a preserved manuscript dating to 1712, Graecia Vetus, which may be his earliest surviving map - he was only 15 when he drew it. He would retain an interest in the cartography of antiquity throughout his long career and published numerous atlases to focusing on the ancient world. At twenty-two D'Anville, sponsored by the Duke of Orleans, was appointed Geographer to the King of France. As both a cartographer and a geographer, he instituted a reform in the general practice of cartography. Unlike most period cartographers, D'Anville did not rely exclusively on earlier maps to inform his work, rather he based his maps on intense study and research. His maps were thus the most accurate and comprehensive of his period - truly the first modern maps. Thomas Basset and Philip Porter write: "It was because of D'Anville's resolve to depict only those features which could be proven to be true that his maps are often said to represent a scientific reformation in cartography." (The Journal of African History, Vol. 32, No. 3 (1991), pp. 367-413). In 1754, when D'Anville turned 57 and had reached the height of his career, he was elected to the Academie des Inscriptions. Later, at 76, following the death of Philippe Buache, D'Anville was appointed to both of the coveted positions Buache held: Premier Geographe du Roi, and Adjoint-Geographer of the Academie des Sciences. During his long career D'Anville published some 211 maps as well as 78 treatises on geography. D'Anville's vast reference library, consisting of over 9000 volumes, was acquired by the French government in 1779 and became the basis of the Depot Geographique - though D'Anville retained physical possession his death in 1782. Remarkably almost all of D'Anville's maps were produced by his own hand. His published maps, most of which were engraved by Guillaume de la Haye, are known to be near exact reproductions of D'Anville' manuscripts. The borders as well as the decorative cartouche work present on many of his maps were produced by his brother Hubert-Francois Bourguignon Gravelot. The work of D'Anville thus marked a transitional point in the history of cartography and opened the way to the maps of English cartographers Cary, Thomson and Pinkerton in the early 19th century. Click here for a list of rare maps by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville.

Size:   Printed area measures 14 x 11 inches (35.56 x 27.94 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 9860000

Condition:    Very good. Minor wear along original fold lines. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.

Code:   EmpireDesParthes-anville-1749 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)

Tags:    Anville , Crevier , Parthian Empire

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