Map of the Turkish Empire


This map shows the Ottoman Empire as it appeared in the early 17th century. It details Ottoman territories in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and includes Persia, Transcaucasia, Ethiopia, and other surrounding lands. Topographic features, place-names, and populations are definitively marked, although the nomenclature of the time differs markedly from that used today. The Red Sea is termed the Sea of Mecca, for example, and the Persian Gulf is called the Sea of Alcatif. The map sometimes has been identified as a part of Atlas sive Cosmographicae Meditationes de Fabrica Mundi et Fabricati figura (Atlas of the world: finely engraved and drawn), produced by Jodocus Hondius following the work of Gerard Mercator. There is no evidence on the map itself to sustain that identification, nor is a date of publication supplied. Ottoman lands are hand-colored in red, except for the European territories. The vivid coloring is not contemporary with the production of the map and was probably added in the 19th century after Greece and the Balkan lands, which are not colored, were freed from Ottoman rule. Different lettering denotes different geographic and ethnographic features. Italics are generously used, and geometric shapes and shading are used to indicate mountain ranges and maritime littorals. The title cartouche indicates that Hondius, the supposed creator, based his map on Mercator’s projection. The cartouche itself is of interest for its cameo portrait entitled “Sultan Mahumet Turcorum Imperat” (Sultan Muhammad Emperor of the Turks), probably meant to represent Sultan Mehmed II (1432−81), known as Mehmed the Conqueror.

Publication Information

Jodocus Hondius, Amsterdam


Title in Original Language

Turcici Imperii Imago

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : hand colored ; 34 x 47 centimeters

Last updated: February 18, 2015