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1844 Constantinople. Stambool

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By: SDUK

Date: 1844 (circa) London

Dimensions: 12.5 x 15.2 inches (31.8 x 38.6 cm)

This lovely map of Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, was published in 1844 by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge also referred to as SDUK.

The map shows the only city of the world to occupy territory on two continents, Europe and Asia, and it has long been called the meeting place of the east and west. The great waterway called the Bosphorus divides the two continents, flowing through what once were heavily wooded hills, joining the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. A natural moat known as the Golden Horn historically provided extra protection for large areas of the city along its shores.

Due to its strategic location Istanbul is an ancient city, dating back countless millennia. Early Greek settlers founded a city which was known as Byzas (later called Byzantium), but more ancient peoples had settled the area long before the colony appeared. Due to its strategic location, the city has been of great importance to a number of empires, including the Eastern Roman Empire under Constantine the Great in 334 CE, who renamed it Constantinople (city of Constantine). From his founding of it as the capital of the Eastern Empire till 1453 when it was captured by the Ottoman Turks under Fatih Mehmet, it was one of the richest and most highly sophisticated cities in the world.

The Ottomans had long tried to take the city, and when Mehmet the Conqueror finally succeeded, he tried to prevent his troops from destroying any of its countless architectural edifices. He had been impressed by the city’s beauty, enamored from childhood.

This map depicts the city as it appeared in the mid-19th century. The Ottoman Empire had been losing ground and strength, and the map concentrates primarily on extant historical sites, including some from Byzantium, and others of the Ottoman grand era, many of which had been converted from their prior Byzantine purposes. It also depicts Ottoman government buildings and ports.

The SDUK was founded in 1828 by Henry Peter Brougham, an idealistic British nobleman. The aim of the society was to promote self-education and egalitarian sharing of knowledge by providing instruments of learning such as maps and various other publications. Despite being affiliated with London University and various major publishing houses, the Society ultimately failed to achieve its goal as the publications were too costly for the targeted middle to lower class echelons of British society. At the same time, its publications were not grand enough or fine enough to appeal to the aristocracy.

Condition: This map is in A condition with outline hand coloring on clean paper with some light toning along the outer margins.

Inventory #12197

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