the southern route
The way through the southern Baltic is the only one of the three routes that only lead over land. It passes through larger cities such as Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius and Riga and was attractive to diplomatic travelers and scholars because of the cultural sights and collections they could visit along the way. It is the only route that passes through many parts of the territory of modern Estonia.
The maps chosen for this route begin with a larger view of Europe as a whole and then successively zoom in to individual points along the way. The selection of historicized maps and the occasional unique or hand drawn specimen allow glimpses of the historical and spatial situation on the route. Having reached the cultural region of Wolfenbüttel, a number of special highlights are presented, among them Goslar as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Herzog August Bibliothek, which was praised as the eighth wonder of the world in the 17th century.
„And the distance to Tallinn being not much less than 300 German miles, a long journey, taking the land route through Prussia and Livonia, even if there were no other hindrance, nor one such to arise en route, with such a wench, one would still have to calculate 3 whole months for the trip’s completion – from here to Tallinn – even though the travelling were to go altogether happily and well, and thus, one could hardly estimate to reach Tallinn before the month of November.”
From: Landgr. Philipps von Hessen Antwort dem Schwedischen Secret. Christo Schieffer ausgestellt in der Vermähl.-Sache seiner Tochter mit Kön. Erich XIV. In: Göttingisches Historisches Magazin von C. Meiners und L. T. Spittler, Vol. 3 (1788), p. 703-740.
A copper engraving depicting Europe adorns the title page of this town atlas issued by Dutch publisher Frederick de Wit. De Wit’s atlas includes older town maps from the publishing houses of Blaeu and Janssonius. In addition to Oldenburg, this book of Europe’s most illustrious towns and cities contains maps of Osnabrück, Lüneburg and Hildesheim – all of them on the territory of modern Lower Saxony.
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Frederick De Wit
Aus: Theatrum praecipuarum totius Europae ubium
Amsterdam [um 1698]
Nova Et Exquisita Descriptio Navigationum Ad Praecipuas Mundi Partes
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Nicolas de Nicolay[S.ll], 1544
Copper engraving, 88 x 57 cm
French geographer Nicolas de Nicolay (1517-1583) travelled through most of Europe and the Near East. His knowledge of the Baltic, however, was rather sketchy, as his map of Europe from 1544 shows. It names the Baltic Sea as Sea of Ice (Mare glaciale) and shows a coastline that is only approximately accurate when it comes to the southern shores between Denmark and Prussia.
This map of Europe is oriented to the West and consists of two parts. The larger part stretches north to the Gulf of Finland but does not show all of the Baltic. A smaller scale map of northern Europe to the right of the larger map includes Spitsbergen and Greenland. Following the style of older Portolan charts, the map’s focus is on coastlines and seaports.
Waßende Graade Paskaardt Vertonende alle de Zeekusten van Europa
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Dirk Rembrantsz van Nierop, Jacobus Robijn
Copper engraving, 74 x 58 cm
Livland nach der Eintheilung Heinrich des Letten und zu den Zeiten der Bischöffe u. Ordensmeister bis 1562
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Wilhelm C. Friebe, Johann W. Krause[Riga, Leipzig], 
Copper engraving, 47 x 69 cm
The genre of thematic maps showing a specific historical time or period emerged as early as the Renaissance. At first, cartographers focussed on classical antiquity. During the 18th century, they started to produce maps of medieval and early modern times. This map represents an attempt by Livonian teacher Wilhelm Christian Friebe (1761-1811) to depict the political situation of the northern Baltic region during the High Middle Ages based on the Livonian Chronicle by Henry of Latvia (ca. 1181/88-after 1259). Friebe published several works on Baltic history and economy. The map’s frame is as interesting as the map itself. In its lower left corner, Johann Wilhelm Krause (1757-1828), later professor of Economics and Architecture at the University of Dorpat, portrays the Baltic native population as rough warriors who, in the lower right corner, have to submit to a Christian bishop and members of a military order. Accordingly, the allegory of Justice present in the Cartouche finds the cross to weigh heavier than “Rights of the Nation”.
In 1747, the Nuremberg publishing house of Homann issued this map of Courland and Semigallia, a duchy under the dominion of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. While the map was published under the name of architect Johann Christoph Barnickel of Mitau (ca. 1700-1746), it was actually created by pastor Adolph Grot (1676-1726) from Courland, who travelled the region from 1718 to 1725. Both cartouches show the duchy’s coat of arms and express contemporary views of what was supposed to be typical of Courland: Rich crops of cereals, abundant fishing grounds and wild nature.
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: […] Homann
Copper engraving, 47 x 34 cm
Regni Poloniae Magnique Ducat. Lithuaniae Nova et exacta Tabula
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Johann Baptist Homann
Copper engraving, 55 x 47 cm
Homman’s map of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth shows the entire Baltic region up to the Gulf of Finland. The shores of the Baltic Sea is depicted from the mouth of the River Oder to Saint Petersburg. The northern Baltic with Estonia did not belong to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth but to Sweden. Therefore, the map only shows its outlines while the lands themselves are not coloured.
At first glance, this map of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth appears to be of Dutch production. In the 17th century, the Netherlands were the centre of European cartography. Several competing workshops, however, were wont to republish their maps repeatedly, as often as possible. This may have served business interests but it was detrimental to the maps’ quality. In contrast, French cartography proved to be much more innovative. Thus, it is not by accident that Justus Danckerts (1635-1701), scion of an Amsterdam dynasty of cartographers, did not produce his own map but rather relied on the model of one by French royal geographer Guillaume Sanson (1633-1703).
Regni Poloniæ et Ducatus Lithuaniæ Voliniæ, Podoliæ Ucraniæ Prussiæ et Curlandiæ descriptio
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Justus Danckerts
Copper engraving, 48 x 57 cm
Potentissimo Borussorum Regi Friderico Wilhelmo Maiestate, Fortitudine Clementia Augustissimo Hancce Lithuaniam Borussicam
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Johann F. Betgen, Homannsche Erben
Nuremberg 1735 [published 1782]
In the early 18th century, the Nuremberg publishing house of Johann Homann (1664-1724) and his heirs was one of the leading firms in the production of maps. This map represents a combination of a larger-scale map of a region on the one hand and a city map on the other. The Memel district (today: Klaipeda in Lithuania) forms the northern tip of Prussian territory. In 1735, King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia gave Gumbinnen its town charter and settled Protestant refugees from Salzburg there.
Only one copy of the oldest printed map of Poland is still extant. It is held by the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. The map was printed in Antwerp in 1562. It only shows Poland’s core territory and the area immediately south of it. Western Prussia and the Baltic coast are not depicted, even though the region around the mouth of the River Vistula had, at that time, long been a part of the Kingdom of Poland. In the upper part of the map, the neighbouring regions of Pomerania, Prussia and Lithuania are named. In the South, Silesia and Moravia are only identified as belonging to Poland by subsequent colouring, while Mazovia and Warsaw remain uncoloured. The reasons for this are unknown
Poloniae Recens Descriptio : Cum Privilegio Regis
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Hieronymus Cock
Copper engraving, 56 x 45cm
Special-Charte vom Herzogthum Pommern : nebst den angränzenden Ländern von Mecklenburg der Ucker- und Neumark Westpreußen und Netzdistrict / Nach den besten Zeichnungen und Karten entworffen
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: W. Brüggemann, Adam Gottlieb Schneider
Copper engraving, 44 x 70 cm
This map provides a detailed depiction of Pomerania. Between 1648 and 1815, the region was divided between Sweden and Prussia. In addition to several lines of communication, the map also shows individual businesses. In 1780, Adam Gottlieb Schneiders (1745-1815) founded a book-trading company with a focus on the arts. It was his marriage to Maria Johanna Stellwag, who had inherited the art dealer’s shop Weigel, that made this business venture possible. Schneiders published several maps. This “Special-Charte” is based on a number of drawings and maps, as well as contemporary statistical and topographical descriptions of regions: the „Ausführliche Beschreibung des gegenwärtigen Zustandes des Königl. Preußischen Herzogthums Vor- und Hinter-Pommern“ (Comprehensive description of the current situation of the royal Prussian Duchy of Western and Eastern Pomerania) by Ludwig Wilhelm Brüggemann (1743-1817), court preacher at the palace church in Wittenberg, and the “Schwedischpommersche Staatskunde” (Description of the Swedish-Pomeranian state) by Thomas Heinrich Gadebusch (1736-1804), professor of Public Law at the University of Greifswald.
This undated hand drawn map shows the territory of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin between the third partition of Mecklenburg in 1701 and the Malmö Treaty of 1803, with which Sweden returned Wismar to the duchy. The map does not include the town of Ludwigslust between Neustadt, Grabow and Eldena. Luwigslust was established as a ducal residence in the middle of the 18th century. The map provides information on lines of communication and settlements. Numerous place names in the western part of the region have been added by hand subsequently. The level of detail, however, is not on par with that of the most important contemporary maps of the duchy, which the Berlin Academy of Sciences issued in 1764.
Situations-Carte von dem Hertzogthum Mecklenburg[zwischen 1700 und 1800?]
hand drawing, 45 x 58 cm
Peraccurata S. Romani Imperii Tabula : comprehendens Regiones vulgo Sub Nomine Germaniæ Nuncupantes
Cartographer/Engraver/Publisher: Nicolaes Visscher, Gilliam van der Gouwen
Amsterdam [between 1683 and 1702] Copper engraving, 56 x 71 cm
Amsterdam cartographer and publisher Nicolaes Visscher (1618-1679) produced considerable numbers of maps and atlases. His map of the Holy Roman Empire provides a highly accurate representation of the coastline from the Netherlands to Prussia. The map’s colouration illustrates Germany’s division into several so-called Imperial Circles. The western part of modern Lower Saxony belonged to the Westphalian Circle (coloured rose), while the eastern part, together with Holstein and Mecklenburg, formed the Lower Saxon Circle (coloured green). Pomerania, on the other hand, was part of the Upper Saxon Circle (outlined in yellow).