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Details 1716 Homann Map of Sweden at the End of the Age of Greatness
1716 (undated) $600.00

1720 Homann Map of Sweden at the End of the Age of Greatness

Regni Sueciae in omnes suas Subjacentes Provincias accurate divisi Tabula Generalis edita à Ioh. Bapt. Homanno Noribergae. - Main View

1720 Homann Map of Sweden at the End of the Age of Greatness


The Swedish Empire, Crumbling.


Regni Sueciae in omnes suas Subjacentes Provincias accurate divisi Tabula Generalis edita à Ioh. Bapt. Homanno Noribergae.
  1720 (undated)     19.25 x 22.5 in (48.895 x 57.15 cm)     1 : 3200000


This is Johan Baptist Homann's map of the Kingdom of Sweden, bringing what was the dominant mapping of Sweden and its neighbors up-to-date with the events of the Great Northern War. Homann starts - almost certainly - with Frederic de Wit's 1680 Regni Sueciae but adds detail and placenames that did not exist prior to the 1700–1721 Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia, and particularly before the 1703 capture of the island of Kotlin by Russia from Sweden, the 1703 Russian capture of Nyenskans, and the foundation of the city of St. Petersburg. Also marked is the town of Schlisselburg, formerly Oreshek, which was captured by Russia in 1702 and renamed by Peter the Great during his administrative reforms. An earlier iteration of this map appearing in a 1716 example of the Atlas Novus includes Petersburg and Kronschloss (formerly Kotlin) but does not name Schlüsselburg. That placename would be included in Ingermanland Governorate in 1710 and would in 1727 become part of Sankt-Petersburgsky Uyezd. Many city names have been underlined in an old hand, and, in some cases, placenames have been added. For example, the Finnish city of Wekelax (Veckelax) has had inscribed above it the name 'Fridrichsham.' The city, as originally named on the map, had been burned by the Russians in 1712. Following the peace of 1721, the city was rebuilt, and renamed after Sweden's new King Frederick I.
The Great Northern War
This map was produced during the 1700–1721 Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia and captures a period in which Sweden was losing ground in the conflict - particularly in the region of the Gulf of Finland, and the city of St. Petersburg. The dotted, engraved border between Russian and Swedish territory is preserved here from (most likely) De Wit's 1680 Regni Sueciae Tabula Generalis, which showed the extent of Sweden's acquisitions as of 1654 or thereabouts. But the original wash and outline color here highlights areas which were, at best, contested - and many of which were, by the time this map was published, securely Russian. Livonia, Ingria, and Karelia are here no longer Swedish, and although surrounded and colored in the red associated with Swedish Finland on the map, the newly founded city of Petersburg is clearly marked. Despite early victories in the Northern War, by the time this map was published there was little to be celebrated by the Swedes.
The Allegorical Cartouche
In the lower right is an attractive cartouche. Two putti display the Swedish three-crowned arms, and a winged victory, or fame, blows her horn overhead. Ares and Minerva look on from the side, having not yet entirely forsaken Sweden (despite Charles XII's crushing 1709 defeat at Poltava, which almost certainly predated this map). We confess bafflement at the child with a plate of fish in the foreground.
Publication History and Census
The cataloging of this map is wildly inconsistent in terms of its dating. Many libraries list it with a date of 1702, despite the clear presence of the city of Petersburg. This is not credible: in 1703 Peter and Paul Fortress had only just been laid down. Tsar Peter would move his capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, and the very first plan of the city would not be published until 1717.

Moreover, the waters are muddied by the existence of no fewer than five maps, printed from four different plates, all with the same title, all attributed to Homann, although several of these appear to be pirated maps, copying the Homann down to its Imperial Privilege. The earliest credible date we associate with one of these is 1715. An example of that map in a second state appears in a 1716 Homann atlas. Our example is likely to have been colored shortly after the 1721 peace and is unlikely have been printed prior to 1717. The map would appear to be well represented in institutional collections, but given the pig's breakfast presented by the inconsistent cataloging of this map, it is impossible, short of the examination of each cataloged example in person, to determine the prevalence of one plate of this map over another.


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...

Anders Bure (August 14, 1571 - February 4, 1646) was a Swedish mathematician and cartographer. He is considered the father of Swedish cartography. He was the son of the parish priest Engelbertus Laurentii and Elisabeth Andersdotter Burea, descendant of the long-established Bureätten family. His immediate family included diplomats and government officials. His education is obscure, though he is mentioned as an office clerk in 1602. His duties in the following years involved recording royal genealogical and historical works, involving him in the highest echelons of Swedish society. He also participated in diplomatic assignments, including missions to both Russia and Finland. His cartographic contributions improved the mapping both of the northern parts of Sweden, and the kingdom as a whole. His six-sheet 1626 Orbis Arctoi represented the first real improvement to the mapping of the northern parts of Europe since the Olaus Magnus map of the previous century: this map would provide the basis for virtually every European map of Scandinavia to follow in the 17th century. In addition to these achievements, he was the first person recorded to use the decimal system in Sweden. Learn More...


Homann, J. B., Atlas Novus, (Nuremberg), c. 1716 - 1720.    


Very good. Contemporary wash color. Lower margin extended, not impacting printed image.


cf. Rumsey 12499.181. OCLC 165631355.