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J. & R. Ottens: Carte Marine de la Mer Caspiene

Map: RUS2570
Cartographer: J. & R. Ottens
Title: Carte Marine de la Mer Caspiene
Date: 1723
Published: Amsterdam
Width: 23 inches / 59 cm
Height: 35 inches / 89 cm
Map ref: RUS2570
Superb example of Ottens' variant of the first scientific survey of the Caspian Sea.

The original survey was performed by Carl Vanverden, a Dutch mariner in the employ of the Russian Navy under Peter the Great. Vanverden had been especially commissioned into the Navy for this purpose and in partnership with S. I. Soimonov, between 1719-21 they produced the first scientific survey of the Caspian Sea. A version of this manuscript was presented to the French Academy of Sciences by Peter the Great where it was accessed by Guillaume de L’Isle who integrated into his atlases, thus making it the standard template for maps of the Caspian for several decades. Vanverden is credited on the cartouche on the upper left, dedicating the map to Peter the Great.

Like several other mapmakers, Ottens gained access to de L’Isle’s version of the survey rather than the original manuscript but he added several features to his version of the map. The actual cartography follows de L’Isle’s map faithfully, with most of the detail concentrated on the west coast of the Caspian. The eastern coast was obviously inaccessible to the surveyors, hence its much sketchier appearance. Where Ottens differs from the de L’Isle version of the map is in the addition of three panoramas onto the map. On the lower border, he has added a panorama of Astracan (modern Astrakhan), a large vignette of the coastal city of Tercki (now modern Tarki, a part of the city of Makhachkala in Dagestan) has been added to the upper centre together with two vignettes of the city of Derbent, in modern Dagestan. These are in the lower right corner and centre right. The latter two settlements were claimed and conquered by Peter the Great from the Persians during the Russo-Persian War of 1722-3, while Astrakhan was used as a marine base for the same war.

The map is on two sheets joined in fantastic full wash original colour. [RUS2570] (BC)