1735 Cantemir Map of Istanbul / Constantinople

A Plan of Constantinople. - Main View

1735 Cantemir Map of Istanbul / Constantinople


By a Moldavian Prince.


A Plan of Constantinople.
  1734 (undated)     14 x 18.25 in (35.56 x 46.355 cm)


A scarce 1734 map of Istanbul / Constantinople and the Bosporus, issued to accompany Nicholas Tindal's publication of Demetrius Cantemir's History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire.
A Closer Look
Coverage embraces Istanbul and its environs, including the full Bosporus, in the late 17th century, when the Ottoman Empire was at its height. 157 locations are identified and numerically keyed to a table in the upper right. These are interesting and broad in scope, ranging from palaces and gardens to markets, mills, and prisons. Of note, number 83 identifies the port of Cantemir's ship, and number 101 marks the location of his palace, which is further illustrated via an inset view in the lower right.
Publication History and Census
This map was issued to illustrate Demetrius Cantemir's History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire, in Nicholas Tindal's English translation. Cantemir composed this work in Latin, but it remained unpublished and circulated in European intellectual circles through manuscript copies until it was translated and published in London by Tindal (1734). The engraver is unknown but may have been Richard William Seale, who engraved extensively for Tindal. A second edition, indistinguishable, was published in 1754. This map is scarce. We see just two examples in OCLC, part of the collections at the British Library and Universitaire Bibliotheken Leiden. A third example is located in Turkey.


Demitrie Cantemir (October 25, 1673 - August 21, 1723) was a Moldavian prince, historian, and polymath active in Moldavia and Istanbul. Cantemar served as voivode of Moldavia (March-April 1693 and 1710 - 1711). During most of the interim period (1687 - 1711), he lived as hostage or 'envoy' in Constantinople, though graciously in a private palace (illustrated here). There he learned Turkish and studied Ottoman history at the Patriarchate's Greek Academy. During this period, he composed his best-known work, the History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire (originally in Latin, Historia Incrementorum Atque Decrementorum Aulae Othomanicae). This volume circulated throughout Europe in manuscript for years, before N. Tindal translated and published it in London in 1734. It remained the seminal work on the Ottoman Empire up to the middle of the 19th century; notably, it was used as a model for Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Current scholarship has criticized Cantemir's sources as dubious. With Ottoman approval, he returned to power in Moldavia in 1710. His reign was marked by attempts to stabilize and modernize his principality. In 1711 he aligned Moldavia with Russia in the Russo-Turkish War (1710 - 1711), hoping to secure independence from the Ottomans. However, the alliance was unsuccessful, and after the Battle of Stănilești, Cantemir was forced into exile in Russia under the protection of Tsar Peter the Great. He died in 1723 in Dmitrovsk, Russia. More by this mapmaker...

Nicolas Tindal (November 25, 1688 - June 24, 1774) was a British scholar and translator active in the early - mid 18th century. Tindal was born in Plymouth, England, the son of a Rector and Vicar. He studied as Exeter College, Oxford, from which he received a degree in 1713. His most significant work is his English translation and continuation of Paul de Rapin's multi-volume History of England, bringing it currently to the reign of George II (1727 - 1760). Nonetheless, he also translated other historical texts and his contributions have since been recognized as foundational in the study of British history. Learn More...


Cantemir, Dimitrie, History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire, translation by N. Tindal, (London: James, John, and Paul Knapton) 1734.    


Average. Edge wear. Some discolorations. A few minor repaired edge tears. Fold wear.


Mihai Eminescu, Hărţi [73]. OCLC 557781150.