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Proceedings of the ICA
Journal topic
Articles | Volume 3
06 Aug 2021
 | 06 Aug 2021

Cartographic circles: maps of Hungary as the Habsburg-Ottoman military border in the 16th century

Zsolt Győző Török

Keywords: processual map history, Renaissance cartography, military cartography, propaganda

Abstract. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire became an all-European military problem after the 1526 battle of Mohács and the fall of the Kingdom of Hungary A huge zone of defence was constructed between the Habsburg and Ottoman powers, dividing the former country. The first map of the country (Lazarus, 1528) was printed to serve Habsburg, imperial and Christian propaganda. The printed maps in the first half of the 16th century were compiled by humanist scholars (Lazius, 1556), and their representations of the stage of the Turkish wars were circulated in European atlases (Ortelius, 1570). Although proper military maps were rare in the Renaissance, the systematic, military-purpose mapping of the border fortifications indicates a Habsburg military cartography. The cartographic workshop of the Angelinis, an Italian family of military architects in Vienna, produced systematic collections of plans, views and chorographic maps in the 1570s. Map historians rarely consider the transfer of cartographic information between different modes and audiences. In this paper, the exchanges between Renaissance humanistic, military and commercial mapping are studied by map examples. Emphasizing the functional and representational changes the cartographic processes implied we focus on the connections between the contemporary, public and printed and the secret and manuscript cartographies. To expand the scope of the study a cross-cultural example, the representations of the 1566 siege of Sziget on Venetian prints and Ottoman topographical miniatures are compared. The Ottoman-Habsburg conflict, the series of the Turkish wars in Rumelia in 16th century exemplifies an appropriate context for the early-modern cartography of Hungary as a transitional and contested war zone.

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