By: Hessel Gerrits / Willem Janszoon Blaeu
Date: 1613 / 1635 (circa) Amsterdam
Original Size: 16.75 x 21.5 inches (42.5 x 54.6 cm)
This is a reproduction of an authentic antique map of Russia with an insert plan of Moscow and a view of Archangelsckagoroda. The map was originally engraved by Hessel Gerrits in 1613 and later reissued by Willem Blaeu beginning in 1634.
Hessel Gerrits created this influential map of Russia from a compilation of manuscripts brought back from Russia by Isaac Massa, who lived in Russia from 1601 - 1609. During that time, a promising young Czar of Russia named Fedor Godunov II was murdered when he was 16 years old. That period of Russian history was known as the time of troubles. The plan of Moscow was based on Czar Fedor’s draft. It would become the most reproduced map of Moscow for about 100 years, used by Braun & Hogenberg, Matthaus Merian, and Gabriel Bodenehr, just to name a few. Finally, the view of Archangelsckagoroda (Archangel) is important as it was Russia’s only northern port until the founding of St Petersburg in 1703.
The map depicts hundreds of villages and cities, forests, and river systems. Near the center of the map, a “great wall,” known as the Zasechnaya bar is depicted running from the Volga River to just east of Lithuania. The Zasechnaya bar was system of fortifications, used by Russia to protect against the invasion of Mongol-Tatar and Crimean troops, as well as a foothold in the attack on opponent. The Caspian Sea is quite misshapen as very little was known of the region, particularly the eastern side. The map is adorned with sailing ships, two compass roses, three figures in Russian attire, and a decorative title cartouche.
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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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