1730 Homann Map of the Kingdom of Prussia

Regnum Borussiae: Gloriosis auspicÿs Serenissimi et Potentissimi Prin Friderici III. Primi Borussiae Regis, March. et Elect. Bran. inauguratum die 18. Ian. A. 1701. Geographice cum vicinis Regionibus adumbratum a Ioh. Baptista Homanno Norimbergae Cum Privilegio Sac: Caes: Maijestatis. - Main View

1730 Homann Map of the Kingdom of Prussia


Celebrating the First King of Prussia.


Regnum Borussiae: Gloriosis auspicÿs Serenissimi et Potentissimi Prin Friderici III. Primi Borussiae Regis, March. et Elect. Bran. inauguratum die 18. Ian. A. 1701. Geographice cum vicinis Regionibus adumbratum a Ioh. Baptista Homanno Norimbergae Cum Privilegio Sac: Caes: Maijestatis.
  1728 (undated)     19 x 22.5 in (48.26 x 57.15 cm)     1 : 730000


This is Homann's 1728 map of the Kingdom of Prussia, produced to commemorate the day (January 18, 1701) on which Elector Friedrich III of Brandenburg, Crowned himself King Friedrich I in Prussia in Königsberg. The map displays the borders of the Kingdom in Prussia at its inception, presents a portrait of the new king framed by an ornate allegorical cartouche.
A Closer Look
The map reaches from the Baltic Sea to as far south as Toruń on the Vistula River, and spans from the Duchy of Pomerania in the west to part of the Duchy of Samogitia in the east. The region here marked Prussiae Regnum constituted Eastern Prussia; this includes what is now the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia, and the northeastern portions of Poland (here termed collectively 'Prussia Polonica.') These are divided on the map into the regions Circulus Hockerlandiae, Circulus Natangiensis and Circulus Sambiensis. The map also includes the Pomeranian Voivodeship, and the regions of Mirachowo, Puck, Człuchów, Świecie, Tuchola, Żukowo, Chełmno Voivodeship, Michałowo, and the Malbork Voivodeship.
A Baroque Allegorical Cartouche
The Baltic Sea is filled here with an elaborate cartouche teeming with imagery. It is centered on a portrait of Frederick III, the Electorate of Brandenburg and King of Prussia; his motto 'Suum Cuique' appears at his head. To the left, a quartet of putti support the arms of the Kingdom of Prussia; at the right, with its attendant cudgel-bearing, helmeted putti are the arms of the Prince-Elector of Brandenberg. To the right of Frederick's portrait is a map representing the Electorate of Brandenberg in Germany, which remained his domain and would be the western part of the new Kingdom of Prussia. The new king is here attended on the left by Minerva (goddess of wisdom-in-war); Hermes, (messenger of the gods and patroin of commerce) hovers to the right. Above Frederick, a crown is suspended jointly between the allegories of Fame and Modesty.
Publication History and Census
This map's printing history is convoluted. We have identified this map in no fewer than six separate plates engraved over the course of the eighteenth century, either by Homann and his heirs. The first of these was engraved as early as 1707; we see it appearing in Homann atlases dated 1710 and 1716. An copy of this map, to a second plate, is dated 1724 by the Bibliotheque National de France. The present example, which we are classifying as a third plate, is the first to include Homann's Imperial privilege; this leads us to date it roughly at 1728. A fourth plate replaces the portrait of Frederick III with that of his heir, Frederick William I. This, too, is held by the Bibliotheque National de France, whose dating of 1724 is suspect; we have seen what may be two separate states of this plate, the second of which is the first to include notable geographic improvements, primarily in the eastern extremes of the map. Rumsey's collection has two further versions of the map, dated 1754 and 1788, with a new cartouche lacking either a portrait or a privilege. The map appears to be well represented in institutional collections in its various iterations, but it is difficult to determine specific versions from catalog listings. The map appears on the market from time to time.


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. and J. C., Atlas Novus, (Nuremberg: Homann) 1728.    


Very good. Faint toning at centerfold. Original wash and outline color.


OCLC 315375414. Not in Rumsey.