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1779 Santini Map of Persia (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan)

Carte de l'Empire de Perse. - Main View

1779 Santini Map of Persia (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan)



Carte de l'Empire de Perse.
  1779 (dated)     20 x 25 in (50.8 x 63.5 cm)     1 : 4200000


This is a beautiful example of Paolo Santini's 1779 map of Persia. It covers the Persian Empire from the Black Sea south as far as the Persian Gulf and east as far as Kashmir and Punjab in India, including the modern day nations of Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India. The map identifies numerous towns, villages, deserts, mountain ranges, river systems and a host of other topographical features.

During this time, Persia was passing through the waning years of the short lived Zand Dynasty, which ruled from the capital city of Isfahan – identified here as Ispahan. The death of Karim Khan, the founder of the Zand Dynasty, in 1779 led to civil war. In a few short years, in 1794, Aga Muhammad Khan overthrew Loft Ali Khan, the last Shah of the Zand Dynasty, and relocated 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.

The map includes a beautifully illustrated title cartouche in the upper right quadrant. This map was based on the earlier map by Jean Baptiste D'Anville and was redrawn by P. Santini in 1779, to be included in his Atlas Universel dressee sur les Meilleures Cartes Modernes.


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. More by this mapmaker...


Santini, P., Atlas Universel Dressee sur les Meilleures Cartes Modernes, Venice (1784)    


Very good. Minor wear and toning along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.


Rumsey Alai, C,. General Maps of Persia 1477 - 1925, E67.