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Antique Maps of Greece & the Balkans

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Munster Greece
Sebastian Munster. From his edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. Woodcuts. Ca. 11x 14, except as noted. Very good condition. Decorative woodblocks on verso attributed to Hans Holbein.

A series of maps based upon the work of Claudius Ptolemy were paired by Munster with his own modern maps from the 16th century. In the Second Century A.D. Ptolemy was the librarian at Alexandria, the greatest center of learning in the Classical world. Ptolemy wrote two major works, the Almagest, an account of the heavens, and the Geographia, the first atlas of the world. The latter consisted of Ptolemy's compilation of all known geographic information, including instructions for how to make maps. Rediscovered in the middle ages, the Geographia had a huge impact on the awaking western European mind. Ptolemy opened up to view large parts of the unknown world to an audience just starting to explore beyond its narrow horizons. His structure for making maps, with longitude and latitude, and his usual northern orientation for the maps, became the standard from then right up to the present. Such was the impact of Ptolemy's work that even in the sixteenth century, a millennium and a half after it was produced, when Ptolemy's geographic conceptions were known to be wrong, maps based on these conceptions were issued time and again.


Maps by Gerard Mercator. From the Mercator-Hondius Atlas. Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, 1613. Engravings. Original hand color. Very good condition. Latin text on verso.

Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) ranks as one of the greatest cartographers in history, not only for the extremely fine maps he produced, but also for the innovations which he introduced into cartographic science, including the "Mercator projection." Through his constant accumulation of new geographic and cosmological data, Mercator was able to produce the most accurate and current maps of his day, which unlike most of his contemporaries' maps were mostly original work. His maps not only are excellent cartographically, but they are aesthetically superb as well, with beautiful cartouches, silken seas and other exquisite ornamentation. Mercator intended to produce a complete description of creation, heaven, the earth and the seas, a project he was only beginning when he died. Such was his influence that the title he chose for this projected work, "Atlas," has now become the generic name for all collections of maps.

Jodocus Hondius (1563-1611), who shared a vision similar to Mercator's, took up Mercator's ambitious project after the latter's death, purchasing Mercator's plates in 1604 and publishing a series of editions of the Mercator-Hondius Atlas, beginning in 1606. This series of constantly updated atlases reflected Hondius' continued pursuit of geographical knowledge and craftsmanship in order to produce a superior work.

Delisle Greece
Guillaume Delisle. "Graeciae Antiquae Tabula Nova." Paris: Quai de l'Horloge, October 17, 1707. The bottom two-thirds of a beautiful, classic map. Sheet measures 18 x 26. The top third is cut off. Fine printing and attractive contemporary color.

The title cartouche with its mythology, architecture and historical personages is a fine work of art to itself while the brightly colored islands to the south of Greece are well printed and colored. Here is abundant witness to the great work done by this senior Delisle whose family members continued to publish classical and new maps as late as 1768. $250

John Cary. "Turkey in Europe." London: J. Cary, 1816 . 11 1/4 x 9 1/8. Engraving. Original hand color. A few light spots in margins. Otherwise, very good condition.

A striking map of Greece and the Balkans by John Cary. Historically cartographic dominance has followed economic and military dominance, and the period at the beginning of the nineteenth century saw Great Britain dominant in all three areas. The British maps of this period were of excellent quality, with crisp engraving and lovely hand coloring. Topographic information tended to be quite current and well presented. Of the British cartographers at this time, John Cary was amongst the most respected. $125

SDUK maps. London: SDUK & Baldwin & Gradock, 1829-32. 14 3/4 x 13 1/8. Engraving by J.& C. Walker. Original outline color. Very good condition.

From a series of detailed maps produced by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). This English enterprise was devoted to the spreading of up-to-date information and the enhancing of understanding. The map of Athens includes a diagram of the Acropolis and illustrations of the former complex as well as panoramic drawings of the city.

Thomas Ewing. "Turkey and Greece." From Ewing's New General Atlas. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, ca. 1830. 8 7/8 x 7. Engraving by J. & G. Menzies. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A rare map from Thomas Ewing's New General Atlas. Ewing issued a number of editions of this fine quarto atlas in the first part of the nineteenth century, containing attractive maps of countries around the world. Published in Edinburgh, the maps were precisely engraved by J. & G. Menzies, who were noted engravers who worked for a number of publishers. The maps contain good detail and careful hatching to graphically represent topography. The hand coloring adds a nice flourish to these maps, which are good examples of British mapmaking at a time when it dominated the cartographic world. This map of Ireland is particularly attractive. $55

Carey & Hart: Greece 1844
Henry Tanner. "Greece." From Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1844. 11 3/8 x 14. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A map of Greece by the great American cartographer, Henry Schenck Tanner. Beginning at the end of the second decade of the nineteenth century, Tanner, produced his important American Atlas, the finest American produced atlas to the time. The American Atlas was a huge success and this inspired Tanner, in 1834, to produce his Universal Atlas, of more manageable size. This atlas contained excellent maps of each state, focusing on the transportation network, including roads, railroads and canals. All details are clearly presented and these include towns, rivers mountains, political boundaries and transportation information. In 1844 Carey & Hart issued an updated edition of the Tanner atlas. These maps were later purchased by S. Augustus Mitchell, and then Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., but maps from the early Carey & Hart edition are quite rare. This is a typical example of the maps from that atlas, with excellent and current information. $150

Colton: Greece 1866
"Colton's Greece and the Ionian Republic. New York: G.W. and C.B. Colton, 1866. 13 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

The Colton firm produced informative and decorative maps out of New York in the mid nineteenth century and this map of the Balkans is a fine example of their work. Printed two years after Great Britain ceded the island of Corfu, this map shows the most up-to-date borders of the nation of Greece. $65

"Turkey in Europe, Greece, Roumania, Servia, Montenegro, &c." From Black's General Atlas of the World. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1879. 22 1/2 x 16 5/8". "Engraved and colored" by J[ohn] Bartholomew, actually lithographed in colors.

One of a series of precisely detailed maps of the world from one of the leading British mapmaking firms of the nineteenth century. Adam and Charles Black issued atlases from the 1840s through the 80s, keeping their maps as current as possible. This handsome map is a splendid example of their output. $55

Mitchell: Turkey in Europe/Balkans
"Map of Turkey in Europe. Illustrating the Berlin Congress Treaty, July 1878." From Mitchell's New General Atlas. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1880. 19 1/2 x 14 1/8. Lithograph. Original color. Very good condition.

By the 1870s, the major powers in Europe were concerned about the threat to their balance of power caused by Russian expansion, pan-Slavism, and the weakening of the Ottoman Empire, especially "Turkey in Europe." These powers met in Berlin in 1878 and, led by Bismarck, tried to divide up the Balkans into a more stable configuration. This map shows the results of that treaty, illustrating the nations created under it as well as the lands returned to Turkey from Russia, which had previously taken them by the Treaty of San Stefano. It was, of course, not at all successful, and in a few decades this tinderbox of a region lit the fuse which led to the explosion of World War I. The map includes an inset map illustrating the portion of the treaty which affected the possession of Armenia, as well as a map showing the relation of Cyprus to the adjacent coasts. $75

Chartier: Grece 1881
Maps by Desbuisson & A.T. Chartier. From Géographie Universelle Atlas-Migeon. Paris: J. Migeon, 1881. 10 7/8 x 15. Engravings. Original hand color. Very good condition.

Two maps of Greece and the Balkans from J. Migeon's Géographie Universelle. The maps in this atlas were drawn by Desbuisson and Chartier, "Ingénieurs-Géographes," and they were reviewed by Vuillemin, a geographer who was a member of the Société de Géographie de Paris. Thus the maps contain very accurate information, precisely presented. Besides their geographic interest, the maps are quite attractive, with lovely original color and with some containing charming vignettes of the region depicted. While the French did not dominate cartographic publishing in the nineteenth century, as they had done in previous eras, the quality of these images shows that they continued to issue very fine maps. An interesting note is although Thessaly and Epirus are still represented as part of "Torquie D"Europe, the regions stage an uprising against Turkey in 1878 and by the year of publication were acquired by Greece.

"Turkey in Europe, Greece." Philadelphia: William M. Bradley & Bro., 1884. 22 1/2 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A precisely detailed double map from the Philadelphia publishing firm of William M. Bradley & Bro. While Philadelphia was no longer the main center of cartographic publishing in North America by the late nineteenth century, many fine maps were still produced there, as is evidenced by this map. The top section is "Turkey in Europe" and Greece fills the bottom half. Inserts of the northern part of Romania and the islands of Crete, Corfu, Paxo, Cerigo, Anaphi, and Amorgos are also included. $50


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