Treasures of the National and University Library of Slovenia
Freilaender, Peter: Quinta Europae tabula, around 1520
In the 2nd century, Ptolemy, an astronomer, a mathematician, geographer and physicist, who lived the city of Alexandria, published his extensive Geography (Geography hyfegesis), in which he assessed the size of the Earth, described its surface, and marked about 10,000 known locations along the latitude and longitude. In Geography, he published 27 maps of the then known world.
A very rare drawing from the original of Ptolemy’s maps is the oldest cartographic illustration kept in the Map and Pictorial Collection of the National and University Library. Peter Freiländer, a Vienna University professor, who was the first owner of the book, depicted the map around 1520.
Sambucus, Joannes: Illyricum, Vienna, 1572
Hungarian Joannes Sambucus (1531-1584) practiced medicine, law, languages and philosophy. He was a professor in Bologna, Paris and in Vienna, where he became a councillor to the Emperor, court historian and court physician. He was not a cartographer; he remade and repaired either modern or outdated maps. He prepared a map of Illyricum, which is a supplement and correction of the older map made by Hirschvogel.
In 1573, it was printed in the third edition of the Theatrum orbis terrarum of the famous Dutch cartographer A. Orteli. He collected the best maps of the time and in 1570 published the first atlas, a collection of maps the world. The book was quickly sold out, and was reprinted several times in the following years. These editions comprise the earliest regional maps of the Slovenian territory.
Ilyricum brings a considerable advancement in terms of representation of our land: waters are shown in an original way; Sambucus’s display of relief is particularly original.
The map also comprises many settlements marked by castles and churches. The local names are written in italics that was introduced in cartography by Gerhard Mercator.
Mercator, Gerhard: Karstia, Carniola, Histria et Windorum Marchia, around 1589
An important turning point in the development of cartography is the work of Gerardus Mercator (Gerhard Kremer) (1512–1594), a mathematician, astronomer and cartographer who paved the way for mathematical cartography with scientific approaches. In 1569, he gained worldwide reputation for his map of the world on 18 sheets – it is done in the so-called Mercator projection, named after him. It is still used today for air and sea navigation.
At the same time, he started preparations for his own extensive collection of maps, which he planned to name Atlas. The individual parts of this important cartographic collection were published from 1585; as he died in the early December 1594, he did not live to see publishing of the complete publication. Already in the following year, his son and heir Rumold published a collection of 107 maps with some additional sheets. The most important Mercator’s work is titled “Atlas” which was the author’s own idea and decision. Since then, the term “atlas” has become an established generic name of map collections.
Vischer, Georg Matthaeus: Styriae Ducatus Fertilissimi Nova Geographica Descriptio, 1678
Georg Matthäus Vischer (1628-1696), the Austrian topographer and cartographer became engaged in cartography on the orders of the provincial nobility. He made large maps of the Upper Austria (1667), the Lower Austria (1670) and Styria (1678). For all three lands, he also made topographies with copper plates of cities, squares, monasteries and castles.
Map of Styria was published on twelve sheets of the format of 37, 7 x 45 cm, in the approximate scale of 1: 172,800, after Vischer had "travelled all over the country and visited, saw and depicted all castles, manors, church estates, monasteries and churches, towns, markets, villages, mountains and valleys, forests, waters, valley borders - on the whole, all corners of the country necessary for making a real regional map" (quote from landed gentry’s letter of safeguard).
The map shows the territory south of Salzburg to Carinthia and Carniola with the Slovenian part of Styria. The map has extremely luxurious emblems, allegories and various scenes.
Andreas Trost, a copperplate engraver, carved the glorious chariot with the coats of arms of the Styrian provincial representatives. Above them, there is the Styrian provincial coat of arms in the decorative medallion.
Valvasor, Janez Vajkard: Carniolia, Karstia, Histria et Windorum Marchia, 1689
Valvasor (1641-1693), a polymath, a topographer, a member of the British Royal Society in London, was aware of the shortcomings of the existing cartographic presentations of Carniola; they were created without any direct surveys, observations and field measurements. In Chapter 14 of the second book of The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, he wrote about his ambition of creating a large map of Carniola, based on his own measurements and inquiries: “…. I have measured the country everywhere with my viatorio astrolabio because I wanted to create a large geographical map. Next time, I will put it in front of eyes of a curious reader if God will give me life, and if time will allow me to produce it - until now, I have been short of time."
Death overtook him; however, his cartographic legacy is very important. For decades, his maps served mapmakers as basis and source in making maps of our country. He illustrated the geographical image of the well-described Carniola region.
Map of Carniolia, Karstia, Histria et Windorum Marchia published in The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola is to some extent a renewal of a map from 1681. Valvasor used the data on geographical forms from older maps that he completed with new, in general more accurate data, which were the result of his own measurements and observations in the field. To the reader The Glory, he illustrated the geographical image of the well-described Carniolia region.
. It is important to know that being an expert of the Lake Cerknica, he delimited its oversized image. Valvasor had professional literature, geodetic instruments and cartographic equipment.
Documents in Valvasor's legacy indicate that he had a Jakob's cross, measuring rods, a spherical ring, compasses, a declination compass, a double diopter with busola, quadrants, a pedometer and reduction compasses.
Homann, Johann Baptist: Tabula Ducatus Carnioliae Vindorum Marchiae et Histriae, 1715
In 1702, J. B. Homann founded his own workshop and began preparing maps for his atlas. The first was published in 1707. His Grosser Atlas of 126 maps from 1716 is especially known. Homann made more than 200 maps, created partly after Dutch, partly after French examples. They are distinguished by clear drawing techniques, artistic decoration and illuminated after a special method of surface colouring. He was appointed royal geographer thanks to his numerous activities. After 1730, Homann's successors founded the Homann Officina, a cartographic company. Until the 19th century, it published atlases with Homann’s maps. It lead the field in the production of maps in Germany.
Homann made the map of the Duchy of Carniola with the Slovenian March and Istria according the Valvasor’s data.
The rich baroque ornament includes: the coat of arms of the Duke of Carniola, a representation of a naked child with a mercury barograph (at that time, the Idrija mercury mine was at the height of exploiting its potential), an allegory of war with the Turks and the personalisation of Carniola with olive branch in hand.
Florjančič, Janez Dizma: Ducatus Carnioliae Tabula Chorographica, Ljubljana, 1744
The first »Slovenian« cartographer after Valvasor was Janez Dizma Florjančič de Grienfeld (Joannes Dismas Floriantschitsch de Grienfeld) (1691 – circa 1757). His father was a well-known member of the Academia operosorum. By education, he was a theologian, serving in the Stična Cistercian monastery.
His wall map of the Ducatus Carnioliae Tabula Chorographica (Topographic map of the Duchy of Carniola) in the scale of 1: 100,000, published in 1744, was the most accurate map of the country at that time.
Florjančič's measurements were very accurate; this is evidenced by the fact that he wrote about Triglav, the highest mountain of Carniola:” …it rises to a vertical height of 1399 Parisian six-time shoes above the Ljubljana horizon” – which is in fact 162 metres more than the right height”.
It is especially worth mentioning that the name Triglav (Terglou) is mentioned here for the first time in a published work for public. The names of the places are written in dialect, partly in German, or were even bilingual – thus, they are a rich source for historical and linguistic studies.
Around personified Carniola are coats of arms of noble families, supporting the preparation of the map, as well as the provincial coat of arms. Under Carniola’s feet, there are objects that remind of the times of the Turkish invasions.
A nude cherub is holding a sign of the planet Mercury in his hand; a miner in the costume with a mercury manometer refers to the mercury mine in Idrija.
Freyer, Henrik: Special-Karte des Herzogthums Krain, 1843
Henry Karel Freyer, a pharmacist, a botanist and a curator of the Provincial Museum in Ljubljana, is the author of the Kranjska map, printed on sixteen sheets, published from 1843 to 1846 in Vienna by the H. F. Müller Artistic Publishing House.
The map in an approximate scale of 1: 115,000 is based on the Austrian General Staff map from 1834. Freyer collected material for the map during his botanical, biological, geological and geographical observations and exploration of Carniola. Rivers brooks and roads, paths and cart tracks are very precisely mapped out, as well as the line of the South Railway, extending up to Ljubljana.
The map is very important due to its Slovenian-German local names. He marked the place first with a Slovenian name, which he even emphasized with the writing, and then he added its German name, sometimes in brackets. . The places are drawn very accurately; where there are no settlements, there are signs for small villages and solitary farms with their names.
From the book Treasures of the National and University Library
Exhibition: Renata Šolar and Žiga Cerkvenik
Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, 2017