Copper engraving with 19th Century outline hand colour, printed on 12 sheets with each sheet dissected into 10 sections and mounted upon 19th Century linen, each section bearing pastedown manuscript labels to verso; map housed within 19th Century decorative card box with later pastedown typed label (Very Good, map sections overall clean and bright, sheets produced with uneven printing quality due to the original technical difficulties of the press, some weak lines replaced with old manuscript in ink, box with light marginal wear), each of the 12 sheets: 46 x 64.5 cm (18 x 25.5 inches); if sheets joined would form a map approximately 184 x 193 cm (72.5 x 76 inches).
This monumental map of Carniola (most of today’s western Slovenia), historically an integral duchy of Habsburg Inner Austria, and neighbouring lands, represents the ambitious merger of Enlightenment scientific discovery and provincial rococo artistry. The Ducatus Carnioliae Tabula Chorographica is the result of the priest, geographer and astronomer Janez Dizma Florjančič’s many years of pioneering reconnaissance across his native land, the product of which was engraved in grand form and initially published in 1744 in Ljubljana by the local printer Abraham Kaltschmidt. The map immediately became (and remains to the present day) the most important and highest quality cartographic document in the history of Slovenia and has the distinction of being by far the largest and most elaborately decorative map published anywhere in Southeastern Europe up the time. The map remains a critical source for scholars as it provides the earliest complete and broadly accurate overview of the region during the pre-industrial age, adorned with a vast wealth of information on settlement patterns, transportation systems, the locations of churches and archaeological sites, as well as the delineation of political boundaries (indeed the map is still cited by lawyers in property and international boundary disputes). The map remained the only broadly accurate map of the region from many decades, and the few examples that existed were universally prized.
Importantly, the present map is the only known surviving example of the second issue of the work, which was published in 1782 from Kaltschmidt’s original copper plates, on the orders of the Parliament of Carniola, under the auspices of Žiga Zois, Carniola’s wealthiest tycoon and foremost patron of scientific discovery. While the 1782 edition has long been cited in authoritative literature, until now, not even a single example was thought to exist to modern times. The third, and final issue of the map was published in 1799; importantly all the issues were published in only very small print runs, and the map was always considered rare.
Around a generation after the present issue was published, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Inner Austria and went to great efforts to locate an example of the Florjančič map, which he wanted to use as a tool to consolidate his occupation of the region. Alas, the most powerful man in Europe was never able to acquire an example of the map that sits here before us today!
The large wall map is printed on twelve large sheets, and while the technical quality of the engraving is provincial, the work is artistically ambitious with elaborate pictorial representations and rococo imagery, producing a beautifully unique visual effect. The map takes in all of the Duchy of Carniola, which centred on the capital ‘Laybach’ (Ljubljana), extends from the slopes of the Julian and Karawanke Alps, in the north; down to edges of the Pannonian Plain in the south and east; and over to the Karst Region, above the Adriatic, in the west. The Hapsburg controlled port of Trieste and the Julian Marches, lie further west, while a good part of Istria is shown to the southwest. Areas of Croatia, including Zagreb and the great fortified city of ‘Carlstadt’ (Karlovac), are show to the south, while Styria is located to east and Carinthia lies across the Alps to the north.
While the map is titled in Latin, and many physical features are also given in that language, much of the text and the toponymy are given in German, the official business language of the Habsburg Empire (even as most of the people in the greater area spoke Slovenian, Croatian and Istrian dialects, etc.). The map provides a highly detailed, and for the era,
amazingly accurate prospect of the region, with features shown pictorially. The numerous ranges of mountains and hills are shown roughly in perspective to their elevations, while all the major rivers, lakes and swamps are charted. The table entitled ‘Explicatio Signorum’, surrounded by elaborate imagery, identifies the symbols used throughout the map to designate cities, town and villages of various sizes (with the larger settlements being show in outline with their old walls and fortifications); the locations of bishop’s seats and parish churches (of which the region had an amazing density); Ancient Roman temples; iron and quicksilver mines; mineral springs and post offices. Importantly, for historians, the present map is the earliest document to show all this
information graphically in a single view. The map features all of the region’s natural wonders including the ‘Czircknitzer-See’, Lake Cerknica, the famous ‚’disappearing’ lake; the ‘Maria See’, Lake Bled, today Slovenia’s most popular tourist site; while some areas features notes in Latin, such as one describing Mount Triglav, the region’s highest peak.
Importantly, in the upper right corner, the map features a large inset containing one of the most iconic historical map and views of Ljubljana, entitled ‘Plan und Prospect von der Haupt-Stadt Laybach’, contained with an elegant Rococo frame; a key below identifies 39 sites around the city.
In the upper left quadrant, the map features a lengthy note to the reader describing the geography of the region. The main title, in the lower right corner, features the arms of the region’s eight leading noble families, amidst a pageant of decorative splendour.
Janez Dizma Florjančič Maps Carniola The present map is the work of Janez (or ‘Ivan’) Dizma Florjančič de Grienfeld (German: Joannes Disma Floriantschitsch de Grienfeld, 1691 – 1757), a Carniolan priest, geographer, astronomer, mathematician and cartographer. A man of enormous intellectual curiosity, Florjančič built his own observatory and wrote valuable treatises on the measurement of time and the relationship between the sun, planets and the moon; two of his greatest manuscript texts are today preserved at the National and University Library of Slovenia. However, his true passion was exploring all of Carniola on foot or by horse, while travelling from parish to parish. Along his routes he made innumerable sketch amps, which given his superb talent for mathematics and draughtsmanship, he fashioned into the first broadly accurate map of Carniola. Given the complex geography of the region, the sheer physical and technical difficulty of this undertaking cannot possibly be exaggerated. It must be noted that Florjančič was inspired to make a grand general map of Carniola by the late Johann Weichard Valvasor (1641-93), the region’s most revered scholar and the author of Die Ehre deß Hertzogthums Crain [The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola] (1689), hitherto the seminal work on the natural history and geography of the region. Valvasor noted on serval occasions that he wanted to make such a map, but never got around to it, as he was always “too bogged down” with his other projects. A popular and politically connected member of the clergy (he eventually became the archdeacon of the large and wealthy Stična Abbey), he was able to raise the vast funds necessary to have his manuscript map of Carniola published locally; it was unprecedented for such a large and sophisticated graphic work to be printed in the region; it is fair to say that, in this context, the project was shockingly ambitious. In 1744, the map was engraved onto twelve copped sheets by the local printer Abraham Kaltschmidt. Only a small print run of what would have been an astoundingly expensive issue was made, aa examples would have been reserved exclusively for noblemen, senior church officials, civil administrators and military officers.
Enter Žiga Zois Fast forward almost 40 years. Žiga Zois (German: Sigmund Zois Freiherr von Edelstein, 1747 – 1819) was an astoundingly wealthy landowner and mining tycoon who was the region’s greatest patron of the arts and sciences during the Enlightenment Era, as well as a distinguished natural scientist in his own right. Zois inherited an immense estate from his father in 1777, but delegated the running of the family’s business empires to professional managers, while Zois spent 100% of his time on his academic interests. From his grand mansion in Ljubljana (which still survives), he hosted intellectual salons and was the main backer of all the region’s great scientists, notably Belshazar Hacquet. Zois had an insatiable appetite for geography and any natural science discoveries were to be made in Carniola and the surrounding areas, and his research and patronage was responsible the first modern scientific studies of karstology and the nature of the Julian Alps. Zois was passionate about the mapping of Carniola, an interest which would soon come in handy.
It is recorded in literature that in 1782, the Parliament of Carniola required additional examples of the Florjančič map, which remained the only broadly accurate map of the duchy. The problem was that very few of the maps, printed in 1744, could be traced. Fortunately, all twelve of Abraham Kaltschmidt’s original copper plates used for printing the map survived in very good condition (which was remarkable given that the high value of copper; the majority of such plates were melted down shortly after their initial use!). However, printing fresh examples of the map from such large plates was then well beyond the technical capabilities of any established publisher in Carniola. The Parliament asked Zois, who showed a keen interest in the project, for financial and technical assistance.
In response, Zois was able to acquire two large wooden rollers for printing the map from Kaltschmidt’s original plates, and it is recorded tin literature that a small number of examples were run of by this method in Ljubljana in 1782 for the exclusive use of the Carniolan Parliament.
Until now, no examples of the 1782 ‘Zois’ issue of the Florjančič map were known to survive. The present map thus represents a new discovery, shedding light upon the complicated publishing history of Slovenia’s most important cartographic work.
The present Zois issue of then map, when compared to the 1744 issue, is of noticeably cruder printing quality. While Kaltschmidt’s plates remained in fine condition, the improvised press developed by Zois did not apply sufficient or even pressure to produce a uniform, professional quality engraving, as such some of the sheets of the present map are lightly engraved, while others are are printed in a deep black tone. Beyond that, the original plates were unaltered in the Zois issue, save for one key detail; the date of ‘1744’, located to the bottom left of the title cartouche (in the composition’s lower right corner), is here removed, with a crudely scratched blank area left in its place. As such, the present example can now be classified as the true ‘second state’ of the Florjančič map.
In 1799, the ‘third state’ (and final issue) of the Florjančič map was published (which was incorrectly cited in some literature as being the ‘second state’, due to the lack of awareness of the true second state of 1782). This plate for this state was unaltered from the 1782 issue, save for fact that the date ‘1744’ had been re-engraved over the same place where it was removed in former issue (although the numerals were re-engraved in a different fashion); plus, the date ‘1799’ has been added in the foreground to the left.
Enter Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte was known to have a particular passion for cartography, especially when it came to acquiring the best maps of the regions he planned to invade. It is recorded that Napoleon was well aware of the Florjančič map, including the 1782 and 1799 issues, and went to great efforts to obtain any example of the map when he successfully invaded Carniola and the surrounding areas in 1809 (so creating the French occupational entity of the Illyrian Provinces, of which Ljubljana was the capital). Amazingly, Napoleon never have manged to obtain an example of the map.
It seems that Žiga Zois remained in possession of Kaltschmidt’s original copper plates (and likely some of the surviving examples of the 1782 and 1799 issues of the maps!). While Zois was careful not to antagonize Napoleon, he was no fan of the French occupation and certainly would not have voluntarily given the French emperor access to one his region’s most valuable intellectual products. Moreover, Zois was far too wealthy and influential for even Napoleon to mess with, and so it the copper plates survived the Napoleonic Wars war unscathed. This was extraordinary, as the French Army was known to obsessively scour the countryside of all of the occupied territories in search of copper to be converted into ammunition; many of Europe’s finest printing plates perished this way!
Amazingly, all twelve of Kaltschmidt’s original copper plates for the Florjančič map survive to the present day, in the collections of the Slovenian National Museum. We have personally viewed the plates and can confirm that they remain in stellar condition. Importantly, they show the revisions made for the production of the 1799 (and final) issue from the plates.
The present example of the map is printed on mid-to-late 18th Century paper stock, bearing all the hallmarks of the intermediate state between the 1744 and 1799 issues. It probably survives to this day only because the twelve sheets were at some point in the 19th Century coloured in outline and mounted upon fresh linen, and then housed within a protective box. Indeed, many of the examples of the Florjančič map would have perished as they were often joined and mounted upon a single large backing and rolled, exposing them to damage, or were left as scattered separate sheets.
A Note on the Rarity of Editions
The present 1782 ‘Zois’ issue of the Florjančič map is seemingly a unique survivor, as all examples were until now thought lost. Beyond that, we are aware of only a single surviving example of the 1799 edition, held by the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna).
The 1744 edition is a great rarity, even in Slovenia, and we are not aware of any examples as have ever been offered on the market internationally. We are aware of 6 institutional examples, held by the Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica (NUK, the National and University Library of Slovenia, possessing 2 examples); the British Library; the Library of Congress: the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden.
References: Cf. [Re: 1744 Edition:] Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica (NUK, National and University Library of Slovenia): (2 examples) G Z 282.6/219 and G20745 / OCLC: 781107633; British Library: Cartographic Items Maps * 27820.(4.) / OCLC: 556833254; Library of Congress: G6875 1744 / OCLC: 5673785; Bibliothèque nationale de France: FRBNF40745377 / OCLC:
494964026; Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden: COLLBN Port 121 N 94 / OCLC: 865470837. [Re: 1799 Edition:] 1799 Edition: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) Kartensammlung FKB C.47.3a-m. Branko Reisp, Florijančičev veliki zemljevid Kranjske iz leta 1744 = Floriantschitschs (Florijančičs) grosse Karte von Krain aus dem Jahre 1744. Deželopisna karta vojvodine Kranjske, (1995); Jože Žontar, Neznana pisma Žige Zoisa, Kronika, Year 2, no. 3 (1954), pp. 188-191 (especially page 189).