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1710 Map of Crete and the Greek Islands

Insula Creta hodie Candia in sua IV Territoria divisa. - Main View

1710 Map of Crete and the Greek Islands


Eruption of a new island in the Santorini Caldera.


Insula Creta hodie Candia in sua IV Territoria divisa.
  1710 (undated)     19 x 22.5 in (48.26 x 57.15 cm)     1 : 880000


This dramatic c. 1710 map of Crete and the Greek Islands was engraved for inclusion in the atlases of J. B. Homann. In terms of the island's topography, it is largely based on the maps of Sanson from the prior century, but this older cartography frames fresh and astonishing information: the emergence of a new island, as part of the Santorini Archipelago.
Witness to an Eruption
The map includes a note - accompanying an illustration of the event - regarding the May 23, 1707 eruption of a volcano in the Santorini caldera, which resulted in the emergence of a new island, Nea Kameni. The event was witnessed by Lord Bourguignon - apparently the French consul to Crete. We have not been able to trace him, but his account was quoted in several missives describing the event.
Superbly Engraved Cartouche
The fine title cartouche is styled as a great stone pier, overflowing with bunches of grapes. To the far left is a seated, turbaned figure with a crescent-headed scepter, a reference to the island being under Ottoman control. To emphasize it, a putto presents the figure with the arms of the Kingdom of Candia. Meanwhile, Mercury/Hermes, messenger of the gods and patron of commerce, presents a purse. Neptune, god of the sea, reclines on the right side of the cartouche.
Publication History and CensusThis map was engraved sometime between 1708 and 1710 for inclusion in Homann's atlases. Certainly it was in print for the 1710 Neuer Atlas. It remained as part of Homann's repertoire, and that of Homann Heirs, well into the 18th century. The map is well represented in institutional collections in a variety of later editions.


Johann Baptist Homann (March 20, 1664 - July 1, 1724) was the most prominent and prolific map publisher of the 18th century. Homann was born in Oberkammlach, a small town near Kammlach, Bavaria, Germany. As a young man Homann studied in a Jesuit school and nursed ambitions of becoming a Dominican priest before converting to Protestantism in 1687. Following his conversion, Homann moved to Nuremberg and found employment as a notary. Around 1693, Homann briefly relocated to Vienna, where he lived and studied printing and copper plate engraving until 1695. Afterwards he returned to Nuremberg where, in 1702, he founded the commercial publishing firm that would bear his name. In the next five years Homann produced hundreds of maps and developed a distinctive style characterized by heavy detailed engraving, elaborate allegorical cartouche work, and vivid hand color. The Homann firm, due to the lower cost of printing in Germany, was able to undercut the dominant French and Dutch publishing houses while matching the diversity and quality of their output. By 1715 Homann's rising star caught the attention of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, who appointed him Imperial Cartographer. In the same year he was also appointed a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Homann's prestigious title came with a number of important advantages including access to the most up to date cartographic information as well as the 'Privilege'. The Privilege was a type of early copyright offered to very few by the Holy Roman Emperor. Though not as sophisticated as modern copyright legislation, the Privilege did offer a kind of limited protection for several years. Most all J. B. Homann maps printed between 1715 and 1730 bear the inscription 'Cum Priviligio' or some variation. Following Homann's death in 1724, the management of the firm passed to his son, Johann Christoph Homann (1703 - 1730). J. C. Homann, perhaps realizing that he would not long survive his father, stipulated in his will that the company would be inherited by his two head managers, Johann Georg Ebersberger (1695 - 1760) and Johann Michael Franz (1700 - 1761), and that it would publish only under the name 'Homann Heirs'. This designation, in various forms (Homannsche Heirs, Heritiers de Homann, Lat Homannianos Herod, Homannschen Erben, etc..) appears on maps from about 1731 onwards. The firm continued to publish maps in ever diminishing quantities until the death of its last owner, Christoph Franz Fembo (1781 - 1848). More by this mapmaker...


Homann, J. B., Neuer Atlas, (Nuremberg: Homann), 1710.    


Very good. Toning at centerfold, else excellent with a bold strike and rich original color.


Zacharakis, C. G. A Catalogue of Printed Maps of Greece 1477-1800, 1641.