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John Speed: The Turkish Empire

Map: MEAST4170
Cartographer: John Speed
Title: The Turkish Empire
Date: 1665
Published: London
Width: 20 inches / 51 cm
Height: 15 inches / 39 cm
Map ref: MEAST4170
This is one of John Speed’s masterpieces, engraved in Amsterdam and published in his 'Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,' the first English language collection of maps from different parts of the world. It is also the only printed “figure” map of the Ottoman Empire with illustrated borders.

Geographically, the map shows the Empire at its largest, stretching from the Balkans to the borders of Persia, covering Anatolia, the Caucasus, North Africa and Arabia; the Persian Gulf is named the “Arabian Gulf” a nomenclature that appears only rarely in early 17th century maps.

The illustrated borders show the diversity of the Empire with illustrations of Greeks, Arabs and Egyptians among others. The right border shows their wives. The upper border shows miniature panoramas of major cities in the Empire.

English text on verso. Image available on request. Old colour.