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1786 Schraembl and Anville Map of Persia (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan)


Erster Theil der Karte von Asien welche die Turkei, Arabien, Persien Indien diesseits des Ganges und einen Theil der Tatarei enthalt.
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Title:    Erster Theil der Karte von Asien welche die Turkei, Arabien, Persien Indien diesseits des Ganges und einen Theil der Tatarei enthalt.

Description:    This is a highly detailed 1786 map of Persia and Arabia by the Austrian cartographer F. A. Scharembl. Representing the upper sheet of a larger map covering India, Persia and Arabia, this map, centered on Persia, covers from the Sea of Azov and Istanbul (Constantinople) to the Gulf of Oman to eastern India. Schraembl derived this map from the influential French cartographer J. B. B. d'Anville's similar map of 1751, which here has been re-engraved, updated, and translated into German. If offers excellent coverage of the central Asian portions of the Silk Route naming the centers of Samarkand, Bukhara, Lop Nor, and others.

As this map was being prepared, the eastern portions including Turkey, Arabia, and most of the modern day Middle east, were under the waning hegemony of the Ottoman empire. In Arabia, the first 'Saudi State' had already been established in 1744 and, though owing nominal allegiance to Istanbul, dominated much of the central Arabian Peninsula. The presumably more valuable costal lands and river valleys of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) remained under direct Ottoman suzerainty.

Persia at this time was itself experiencing the waning years of the short lived Zand Dynasty who ruled from the capital city of Isfahan – identified here. In a few short years, 1794, Aga Muhammad Khan would overthrow Loft Ali Khan, last Shah of the Zand Dynasty, and relocate the capital to the new city of Tehran. The subsequent era, the Qajar Dynasty, witnessed numerous military conflicts with the rising powers of Imperial Russia and the loss of much of Persia's territory.

Schraembl prepared this map in 1786 for inclusion in his monumental Allgemeiner grosser Atlas. Though many of the maps in this atlas are dated 1786 the atlas itself was not complete until 1800, when it was published in Vienna. A lavish production, the Allgemeiner grosser Atlas was expensive and proved difficult to sell, resulting in a low publican run and considerable scarcity relative to other European atlases of the period. This is the northern sheet of the larger map representing plate no 12. In Schraembl's  Allgemeiner grosser Atlas .


Date:    1786 (undated)

Source:    Schraembl, K. A., Allgemeiner grosser Atlas, (Vienna), 1800.    

References:    Phillips, P.L. (Atlases) 694-31.

Cartographer:    Franz Anton Schraembl (1751-1803) was a Vienna based cartographer working in the later part of the 18th century. Schraembl was partnered with Joseph von Reilly. His great work, the Allgemeiner Grosser Atlas was started in 1786. This ambitious atlas was to be based upon only the most up-to-date cartographic information available. Schraembl derived his maps from the work of cartographers like D'Anville and explorers such as Cook, Roberts, and others. The atlas was finally finished in 1800 but, possibly restricted by its high production cost, enjoyed only relatively minimal circulation. Click here for a list of rare maps from Franz Anton Schraembl.

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 31 x 17 inches (78.74 x 43.18 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 8250000

Condition:    Very good. Northern sheet of larger 2 sheet map. Some wear and toning along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Minor spotting here and there. Left half of map exhibits creasing along the length of map. Blank on verso.

Code:   Persia-schraembl-1786 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)

Tags:    D'Anville , Schraembl , Silk Route , Ottoman Empire , Zand Dynasty

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