Map of the Caspian Sea and the adjacent territories

    Map of the Caspian Sea and the adjacent territories

    Holland, Amsterdam


    Mapmakers and editors: Joachim Ottens, Renier Ottens

    Paper; etching, сutting, watercolors

    57 х 65.5 cm (size of the sheet)


    The horizontal sheet features a map covering the areas surrounding the Caspian Sea, among them – Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bokharan and Khiva khanates, Turkmenia and etc. Cities and communities are indicated, among them: Erevan, Baku, Derbent, Samarkand, Yaik and etc., as well as all large trade ports and major roads.

    In the center various names of the Caspian Sea in Latin are listed that were commonly used by different nations: ancient Greeks called it Hyrcanian or Caspian Sea, Russians called it the Khvalyn Sea, Iranians called it Colzum, Arabs called Khazar Sea and Turks called it Kuchuk-Deniz. Most of these names are derived from the works of the earliest Roman geographer Pomponius Mela.

    The location of the Caspian Sea is unusual in this map: the wind rose pictured in the very center is oriented horizontally whereas traditionally the north is oriented vertically.

    The bottom right edge of the map is decorated with an elegant figurative cartouche with a picture of the Imperial Eagle and inscription in Latin: “Nova ac verissima Maris Caspii ante hac maximum fere partem nobis incogniti, ac Regionum adjacentum Delineatio, Juffu Invictissimi Principis Petri Alexii Fil. Magni Russorum Imperatoris immense labore et maximis sumptibus facta, atque ex Autograph in lucem edita per Reinerum Ottens Geographum Amstelaedam”.

    A small cut-in with the inscription in Dutch is on the bottom left side: "Gedrukt t' Amsterdam by de Wed. I. Ottens op de Nieuwen Dyk in de Werelt kaart." [it is indicated that the map was published by the widow of map-maker I. Ottens who died in 1719].

    Scale: German miles, Russian versts.

    The subscriptions and inscriptions are in Dutch and Latin.


    The first detailed (though not quite correct) map of the Caspian Sea was compiled by German scientist and traveller Adam Oleari in 1674. Owing to the campaigns of Peter I the research of the Caspian Sea became systematic and comprehensive. The results of this research, in particular, were used by Joachim Ottens (1663-1719) and his sons, Renier and Joshua – the Dutch publishers and mapmakers who worked in the period between 1680 and 1790.