This is a fine example of the 1791 Bocage plan of a typical ancient Greek gymnasium. The gymnasium or palestra usually consists of a central court surrounded by colonnades and various rooms used for bathing, storage, etc. It was typically used as a training facility for competitors in public games as well as a place for socializing and intellectual pursuits. Prepared by M. Barbie de Bocage in 1791 to illustrate the Travels of Anacharsis.
Anacharsis was a Scythian philosopher who travelled from his homeland on the northern shores of the Black Sea to Athens in the early 6th century BCe. Apparently he made a great impression on the Greeks, who considered him a forthright, outspoken 'barbarian. He is considered a forerunner of the Cynics.
Jean Denis Barbie du Bocage (1760 - 1825) and his son Jean-Guillaume Barbie du Bocage (1795 - 1848) were French cartographers and cosmographers active in Paris during late 18th and early 19th centuries. The elder Barbie du Bocage, Jean Denis, was trained as a cartographer and engraver in the workshops of mapmaking legend J. B. B. d'Anville. At some point Jean Denis held the post of Royal Librarian of France and it was through is associations with d'Anville that the d'Anville collection of nearly 9000 maps was acquired by French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The younger Barbie du Bocage, Jean-Guillaume, acquired a position shortly afterwards at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, in time, became its head, with the title of Geographe du Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres.
Barbie du Bocage, J. D., Recueil de Cartes Geographiques Plans, Vues, et Medailles de l'Ancienne Grece, Reelatifs au Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis., (Paris, Chez Sanson et Compagnie), 1791.
Very good. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso. Dark clean impression.