Armenia on Ancient Maps – World Cartography

Armenia on Ancient Maps – World Cartography

Ancient maps are important historical evidence. They contribute to the understanding of the political development of the ancient and modern world and reflect international relations at certain stages of development of states.

Recently, the book “Armenia in World Cartography” was republished by the initiative of the head of the Russian and Novo-Nakhichevan Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan.

Map 1. This map is called “Asia Minor, Armenia, Circassia, Syria”. It was drawn by Danish cartographer Conrad Malte-Brun (1775-1826). The map was taken from his “General Atlas” published in Paris in 1812.

On the map, Armenia is shown in its historical borders and with the names of the provinces. The outlines of Van and Urmia Lakes are close to real, and Atropatene is located on the southern bank of the Araks River within the borders of Media (Marastan or Persia). The map also contains topographical details.

Map dimensions: 20 cm x 22 cm. Personal collection, London

Map 2. This watercolor painting of Etchmiadzin was painted by British artist Sir Robert Ker Porter (1777-1842), who in 1817-1820 traveled throughout the Caucasus, Persia, and Mesopotamia.

During this period, he compiled a collection of drawings and sketches, which he entitled “Memories, maps, plans, views, and other interesting drawings of the Caucasus, Persia, and Babylon.”

The collection includes sketches and watercolor drawings of various localities. The main part of the collection is sketches of Isfahan and Persepolis. Etchmiadzin, Yerevan, Garni, Geghard, and Mount Ararat are represented in Armenian landscapes in watercolor drawings.

The Etchmiadzin illustration depicts the Etchmiadzin Cathedral with its fortified walls, with the St. Gayane Church in the background. Greater Ararat and Little Ararat are portrayed in watercolor.

Map 3. The first atlas published in Armenian was titled “Ashkharhatsuyts” (“Geography”, 6th-7th century) and was based on the data of courtier geographers of France, England, Germany, and Russia.

In 1849, the atlas was engraved on the funds of John Amir Datyan in Paris and published in the printing house of the Armenian Mekhitarist Order on the island of San Lazzaro in Venice.

The atlas contains ten maps, including maps of the Solar System, the continents, the Ottoman Empire, and Armenia. Containing detailed descriptions in Armenian, this was the first Armenian atlas to have both text and maps.

In general, the atlas maps were drawn, engraved, and painted skillfully and with taste. They are not inferior to the atlases of other European cartographers.

The penultimate map in the atlas is the map of the Ottoman Empire. This map is quite large and contains a considerable amount of information on it.

Map dimensions: 90 cm x 60 cm. British Library, London. Personal collection, London

Map 4. This map is also from the atlas “Ashkharhatsuyts.” It is the map of Armenia in its medieval borders. The map is large, detailed, and colored. It provides extensive information about the regions of Armenia.

Map dimensions: 90 cm x 60 cm. British Library, London. Personal collection, London

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