ATLAS RUSSICUS mappa una generali et undeviginti specialibus vastissimum Imperium Russicum cum adiacentibus regionibus [repeated in French].
$40000 / ≈ €34769
The first complete printed atlas of Russia. Jacques Nicolas Delisle, brother of Guillaume Delisle, was invited by Peter the Great to survey the vast empire of Imperial Russia. Initially accompanied by his step-brother Louis, in 1726 the two Parisians journeyed to Russia (now under the reign of Catherine I) to start their surveys. At first Delisle also worked with Ivan Kirilov, with whom he co-founded the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences. However, the two men did not always see eye to eye, and Kirilov went on to produce an incomplete atlas which was published in 1734, before the French team had finished their surveys. Kirilov died in 1737, eight years before the eventual publication of Delisle's atlas. The Atlas russicus is effectively in two parts: the first covering European Russia in 13 numbered maps (scale 1, 1.527.000), the second covering Siberia in six maps. scale (1: 3.360.000). On map 19 "Ostium fluvii Amur " the extreme point of Alaska and the Aleutian islands.
The Russian Academy of Sciences was created in 1724 in St Petersburg. It was not only intended to coordinate and produce science but also to aid in solutions to practical problems. Many foreign scientists were invited to participate. Joseph Nicolas de l' Isle was invited to head the department of geography and came in 1726. The making of the first atlas Russicus , not surprisingly considering the size of the country, took a long time. New bearings in trigonometry had to be taken all over the country. Existing cartographic material had to be obtained and analyzed. On his return to Paris in 1747, Delisle was able to construct his own observatory in the palace of Cluny, the same observatory later made famous by French astronomer Charles Messier.
Among the Russian scientists that worked on the atlas was Kirilow, the man who published the first map of Russia in 1734. The best known expedition that fed data into the Atlas Russicus was the great Northern Expedition (1735-1743) . Gmelin, Muller, Krshnininnikow, Krasilnikow and Steller were among its participants.
Except for reliable data printing facilities were needed. The Academies engraving shop was set up in 1728 with staff as Ellinger, Unversagt, Zubov and Rostovtsev. Eventually in September 1745 the atlas was printed in St Peterburg in Russian, Latin and German. "Send out to various governments.. the atlas met with great praise everywhere" (Bagrow).
Reference : Ralph E. Ehrenberg, "Mapping the World" (Washington D.C., 2006), 135, Phillips 3109., Bagrow-Castner II, pp. 177-253, Goldenberg + Postnikov, Development of Mapping Methods in Russia in the 18th century, in IMAGO MUNDI XXXVII, 63-80, Nitsche-Stender 141, Lexikon der Kartographie 688, Teleki, Atlas zur Geschichte der Kartographie der japanischen Inseln pl. 17,1 (pl. 19 of the atlas), Niemeyer, Rußlands Aufbruch in die Moderne – Peter der Große und die Entwicklung der russischen Kartographie, Bonn 1991, 5 + illustrations.
Reference: Philips, atlases 3109. Bagrow, 1975, chapter 10. Postnikov, 1996
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