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1854 Spruner Map of Europe during the Viking Age


Reiche der Nordmannen vom VIIIten. bis in's XIIte. Jahrdndt.
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Title:    Reiche der Nordmannen vom VIIIten. bis in's XIIte. Jahrdndt.

Description:    This is a fascinating example of Karl von Spruner's 1854 historical map of europe and the empire of the Norsemen (which means 'People from the North', eventually known as the 'Vikings') from the 8th to the 12th century. The map covers europe from Greenland to Africa and includes Iceland. An inset map along the left margin details the coasts of North America in the 10th century. The Vikings settlement spread as far as Scotland, england, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Ireland, Livonia, Normandy, the Shetland Islands, Sicily, Russia and Vinland (Newfoundland?). They are also the founders of the city of Dublin.

As a whole the map labels important cities, rivers, mountain ranges and other minor topographical detail. Political and regional boundaries are outlined in color. Relief is shown by hachures, and the whole is rendered in finely engraved detail exhibiting throughout the fine craftsmanship for which the Perthes firm is best known. Prepared by Karl Spruner for publication as plate N I in the second edition of Justus Perthes' 1854 Historisch-geographischer Hand-Atlas zur Geschichte der Staaten europa's vom Anfang des Mittelalters bis auf die Neueste Zeit.


Date:    1854 (undated)

Source:    Spruner, Karl, Historisch-geographi scher Hand-Atlas zur Geschichte der Staaten Europa's vom Anfang des Mittelalters bis auf die neueste Zeit, 1854.    

References:    Rumsey 2600.039. OCLC 4125021.

Cartographer:    Karl von Spruner (November 15, 1803 - August 24, 1892) or Spruner Karl von Merz or Spruneri was a Stuttgart born cartographer, scientist, and map publisher active in Germany during the middle part of the 19th century. Joining the Bavarian army at the tender age of 11, Spruner dedicated most of his life to military service. Spruner's superiors, recognizing his keen intellect, eventually assigned him to the army's cartographic division. Military education earned him the title of Doctor of Cartography in 1852. In 1855 he attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and, in 1883, General. Cartographically, Spruner is best known for his historical atlases, most of which were published by the Justus Perthes firm. His much admired maps studiously applied historical political geographies to contemporary physical geographies. Spruner also worked with Heinrich Theodore Menke, a well-known German mapmaker, to produce and later revise his many historical maps. In 1886, after 72 years of professional military service, Spruner formally retired. He died seven years later in Munich in on August 24th of 1892. Click here for a list of rare maps from Karl von Spruner.

Cartographer:    Justus Perthes (1749 - 1812) was one of the most important German cartographic engravers of the 19th century. Perthes began his publishing empire with the 1784 issue of the famed survey of European nobility known as the Almanac de Gotha. In 1817 Perthes switched his focus to cartographic publishing. From 1817 to 1890 the Perthes firm would issue thousands of maps for more than 20 different atlases. Along with the visionary editors Stieler, Peterman, Meyer and Spruner, the Perthes firm pioneered the Hand Atlas. He also produced a number of important wall maps and case maps. Perthes maps are admired for their steel plate engraving, incredible detail, dedication to accuracy, and fine colorization. The Justus Perthes firm continues to produce maps and atlases to this day. Click here for a list of rare maps from Justus Perthes.

Size:   Printed area measures 16 x 14 inches (40.64 x 35.56 centimeters)

Condition:    Very Good. Original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.

Code:   EuropeViking-spruner1854 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)


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