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Antique Map of Russia: Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio Auctore... by: Abraham Ortelius,1584
Antique Map of Russia: Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio Auctore... by: Abraham Ortelius,1584 | VERSO
Load image into Gallery viewer, Antique Map of Russia: Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio Auctore... by: Abraham Ortelius,1584
Load image into Gallery viewer, Antique Map of Russia: Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio Auctore... by: Abraham Ortelius,1584 | VERSO

1584 Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio...

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Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae Descriptio Auctore Antonio Ienkensono Anglo edita Londini 1562 & dedicata illustriss D. Henrico Sydneo Wallie presidi.

By: Abraham Ortelius

Date: 1584 (Published) Antwerp

Dimensions: 13.75 x 17.25 inches (35 x 44 cm)

This bold and unusual map by Abraham Ortelius is based on the observations made during diplomatic and mercantile missions undertaken by English statesman, explorer and tradesman Anthony Jenkinson, one of the first western Europeans to travel widely throughout the territories of the Russian Empire. The map covers a wide area of the Russian Empire in the mid-16th century, from the Gulf of Finland above which Ivan IV (the Terrible) is pictured on a throne inside a magnificent tent, and the Black Sea to the south, to the east just beyond Samarkand in the southeast and Colmack in the northeast.  

Jenkinson himself mapped the territories he visited, and Ortelius expanded and enlarged upon the information provided by him. Certain details from the accounts of Marco Polo’s Travels were also used in creating this map, which is filled with myriad vignettes illustrating flora and fauna, traditions and costumes of local indigenous peoples of the broad expanse. Ortelius also took pains to describe many of the scenes on the map with Latin text describing in detail their meaning. Major cities, towns and settlements and fortified sites are pictured. 

Text In the upper right corner describes religious practices of peoples in that region, stating that they worship a red pennant on a pole. To the west men are prostrating before a statue resembling Mary holding Jesus, which could represent Christian practices as Rus’ accepted Christianity in the 9th century CE. One of the more curious vignettes of the map depicts religious traditions and burial customs of indigenous peoples of present day Kyrgyzstan. Trees obviously played a major role in their lives, as their priest or shaman is shown presiding over his flock from a tree, and the burial custom of the locale is shown to be hanging the dead from limbs of trees.  

Numerous camels dot the expanse, some in the wild with others in scenes depicting nomads and camels camped with elaborate tents. Tashkent, current capital of Uzbekistan is depicted. Below it is ancient Samarkand, which Tamurlane the Great made his imperial capital, described in Latin as the ancient Tartar Metropolis, declared by Tamurlane himelf to be the most important and most wondrous city in the world.

Jenkinson and the Muscovy Company

Jenkinson made four separate trade missions to Russia, and was so accomplished as England’s first ambassador to Russia as to be granted safe passage throughout Russia’s territories by Ivan IV (the Terrible) himself. His acumen and diplomacy were such that he was able to firmly establish the initiated trade relations with Ivan on behalf of the Muscovy Company and Elizabeth I.  Indeed, at one point Ivan discussed with him the possibility of marriage to Elizabeth were he to lose the Livonian war in which he was engaged.

The trade relations established with Russia in 1551 continued until the 1917 Revolution, with the original Muscovy Company maintaining a trade monopoly until 1698. The Company has continued to function in various capacities to this day. Following the Revolution, it became a charitable organization in Russia.

The building constructed in the mid-16th century as headquarters for the Company, and as the first English Embassy in Moscow, still stands on the street Varvarka in the centre of Moscow.  It is now a museum just a few steps from Red Square, the Kremlin, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the ancient trading row bordering Red Square, now occupied by elegant upscale boutiques.

Spanish text on the verso provides additional information.

Condition: This hand colored map is in A- condition. The centerfold has been reinforced with archival material on the verso. Some slight thinning of paper in places near the centerfold. Slight fading of text in the upper right cartouche.

Inventory #12050

1932 S. Halsted St. #200 Chicago, IL 60608  |  Phone: (312) 496 - 3622

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