Turkish Empire


This detailed map of the Turkish Empire at the height of its powers was produced in Amsterdam by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571‒1638) in about 1635, when the Ottoman territories included the Balkans, Anatolia, the Levant, and parts of Hungary, Ukraine, North Africa and Arabia. The map centers on the eastern Mediterranean (marked Mare Syriacum, or Syrian Sea) and northern Arabia, and it extends from Italy in the west to the Black Sea and Caspian Sea in the north, the Persian Gulf in the east, and the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden in the south. A student of celebrated Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, Blaeu was first known as an astronomer and maker of globes and other instruments before he became famed as a cartographer and publisher. He began producing maps and charts in the first years of the 17th century. A considerable rivalry developed between Blaeu and fellow Amsterdam cartographers and partners Johannes Janssonius and Jodocus Hondius, the younger. When Hondius died in 1629, his widow nevertheless sold the Mercator-Hondius copperplates to Blaeu rather than passing them to the firm of Hondius and Janssonius. Blaeu adapted and used these plates in his first atlas, the Atlantis Appendix, published in 1630, and in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum sive Atlas Novus (New map and atlas of the world), published in 1635, of which this map formed part. A decorative title cartouche shows a seated sultan with two supporters flourishing weapons. Two sailing ships appear in the Arabian Sea above a scale in German common miles. Text in Spanish on the verso is on the early history of the Turkish Empire. Willem Janzoon died before the completion of his next great project, realized by his son Joan Blaeu (1596‒1673). This was the Atlas Major (or Maior), the largest and most splendid of 17th-century world atlases, published in 1662, in 11 volumes with almost 600 double-page maps and more than 3,000 pages of text.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Joan Blaeu, Amsterdam


Title in Original Language

Tvrcicvm imperivm

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : black-and-white ; 39 x 49.8 centimeters


  • Scale approximately 1:11,000,000

Last updated: October 30, 2017