This is an attractive 1750 map of France or Gaul or Gallia by Robert de Vaugondy. It covers Gallia during ancient Roman times and extends from the English Channel south as far as the Pyrenees Mountains and Hispania. It includes the modern day nations of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. It identifies several important cities and towns and uses ancient names throughout. The Roman provinces of Lugdunensis, Narbonensis, Aquitania and Belgica are also noted.
Gaul or Gallia was the ancient name of a region of Western Europe which comprises of modern day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland and Germany west of the Rhine. After the Gallic Wars of 58-51 BC, all of Gaul came under the control of the Romans. It continued under Roman control for almost 500 years before it fell to the Franks in AD 486. The Gallic Wars are believed to have been fought primarily to provide Caesar with wealth and popularity and to boost his political career rather than being a defensive action as described by Caesar. The campaigns are described by Caesar in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico.
The lower left quadrant depicts a beautifully engraved title cartouche. This map was drawn by Robert de Vaugondy in 1750 and published in the 1757 issue of his Atlas Universal. The Atlas Universal was one of the first atlases based upon actual surveys. Therefore, this map is highly accurate (for the period) and has most contemporary town names correct, though historic names are, in many cases, incorrect or omitted.
Gilles (1688 - 1766) and Didier (c. 1723 - 1786) Robert de Vaugondy were map publishers, engravers, and cartographers active in Paris during the mid-18th century. The father and son team were the inheritors to the important Sanson cartographic firm whose stock supplied much of their initial material. Graduating from Sanson's map's Gilles, and more particularly Didier, began to produce their own substantial corpus of work. Vaugondys were well respected for the detail and accuracy of their maps in which they made excellent use of the considerable resources available in 18th century Paris to produce the most accurate and fantasy-free maps possible. The Vaugondys compiled each map based upon their own superior geographic knowledge, scholarly research, the journals of contemporary explorers and missionaries, and direct astronomical observation - moreover, unlike many cartographers of this period, they commonly took pains to reference their source material. Nevertheless, even in 18th century Paris geographical knowledge was severely limited - especially regarding those unexplored portions of the world, including the poles, the Pacific northwest of America, and the interior of Africa and South America. In these areas the Vaugondys, like their rivals De L'Isle and Buache, must be considered speculative geographers. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. Vaugondy's feuds with other cartographers, most specifically Phillipe Buache, resulted in numerous conflicting papers being presented before the Academie des Sciences, of which both were members. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver.
Vaugondy, R., Atlas Universel (Paris) 1757.
Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original centerfold, with verso repair over bottom margin. Minor spotting and offsetting.
Rumsey 3353.006. Pedley, Mary Sponberg Belle et Utile: The Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers, 92.