Comenius' map of Moravia is a generally known and used designation of a cartographic work. The singular, however, mistakenly gives the impression that all preserved specimens came from one edition. It is not so, and the individual prints differ from each other substantially. During the ensuing one and half century a number of maps were derived from the original work, some of them do not even bear the name of the author, upon whose work they are based.
The oldest reprints of Comenius' map of Moravia are usually dated 1624, that is, to the first years of the Thirty Years War. In Moravia, one of the historic Czech lands, the Emperor Ferdinand II was regaining power after the defeat of the rebellion of Protestant Estates, in which not only Comenius, Bishop of the Unity of the Brethren, actively participated, but also dedicatee of the map and rebel leader Ladislav Velen of Žerotín. The map, originally prepared as a supplement of the work on the history of Moravia, which has not yet been preserved, thus unexpectedly gained considerable military and political significance. With detailed drawn content (including, for example, important fords across rivers) it was to become the basis for the development of Danish troops, in whose ranks the former provincial governor Ladislav Velen of Žerotín fought.
The map was for its great accuracy and precision published in a variety of forms for more than a century. There are 101 editions registered so far from 12 engravings altogether. Some editions have been preserved until today in large quantities, others are rare and hardly appear on the market. The Moravian State Library owns a valuable set of Comenius' maps and through this exhibition offers the public insight not only into the history of cartography, but also into 17th century Moravia in general: into the layout of settlements, directions of roads or previous names of villages and towns. The basis for the preparation of this review was the publication by Milan Václav Drápela: Monumenta delineationum Moraviae Auctore I. A. Comenio - J. A. Komenského mapa Moravy a její odvozeniny.
Abraham Goos' Engraving - First Plate (KMM P)
Probably the oldest edition, dating according to Milan Vaclav Drápela from 1624 at the latest, is unfortunately not available at the MZK. It came from the workshop of Dutch cartographer and map publisher Abraham Goos. Later reprints known of this first copperplate from the year 1664 are now archived in the map collection of the Institute of Geography at Masaryk University in Brno and in the University Library in Wrocław. It differs, however, from copies printed from Goos' second plate merely in details.
Abraham Goos' Engraving - Second Plate (KMM P)
This engraving is, for the public at large, a synonym for Comenius' map of Moravia. The printing plate prepared by the Dutch engraver Abraham Goos between 1626 to 1627 was used in the period 1627-ca to1713. It is characterized by bands of vedute at the top margin of the map, which depict the towns of Polná (at that time temporarily belonging to Moravia), Olomouc, Brno, and Znojmo. So far we know about 6 editions of this map that were published in the atlases of Visscher's family and their successor Peter Schenk.
First edition of Visscher's map, version from 1627 (resp.1630) (KMM A1.1)
The fold of drapery with the title and other minor details assign the map to Goos' plate. The date of publishing in the impressum in the lower right corner shows signs of obvious re-engraving the original dating to 1627. The publisher was a Dutch cartographer and owner of a major workshop focusing on the publishing of maps by Claes Janszoon Visscher (1587-1652), also known by the latin form of his name Nicolaus Joannes Piscator. It is the oldest print of the Comenius map stored in the collections of the Moravská zemská knihovna. It was acquired along with several other Comeniana pieces in 1901.
First edition of Visscher's map, version from 1633 (KMM A1.3)
Later print of the same map dating from 1633.
First edition of Visscher's map, version from 1645 (KMM A1.4)
Another version of Visscher's edition dating from 1645.
First edition of Visscher's map, version from 1664 (KMM A1.5)
Version from 1664 already published by Nicolaes Visscher Sr. (1618-1679), son of Claes Janszoon, who assumed the workshop after his father's death.
Second Visscher's Edition (KMM A2)
The second, undated edition of Vischer's map was probably prepared by the third member of the Visscher family, Nicolaes Jr. (1649-1702), some time after 1680. On this occasion the impressum was entirely re-engraved.
Schenk's Edition (KMM A3)
This is an updated edition, without precise dating of Peter Schenk Sr. (1660-1718/1719) or Jr. (1698-1775). Peter Shenk Sr. was co-owner of the Visscher's publishing house and Peter Shenk Jr. purchased part of the plates from Visscher's heirs.
Jodok Hondia's Engraving (KMM B)
This plate was engraved at the latest in 1629 by Jodok Hondius Jr. (1594/95-1629) and used for printing between the years 1630 and 1672. Hondius belonged to a group of Dutch cartographers, engravers, and publishers of maps, linked by mutual relational bonds - this plate was done according to a draft by his cousin Abraham Goos (KMM A). Jodok Hondius died shortly after the completion of this work and his brother sold the engraving to their competitor - Willem Janszoon Blaeu. Willem Janszoon Blaeu included it regularly from 1630 in his editions of atlases, whose popularity caused the appearance of a large number of variants of prints from this plate, which differ only in nuances on the front faces of the maps but also in printed texts on their reverse side.
First Blaeu's Edition (KMM B2a)
Willem Janszoon Blaeu (also called Caesius, 1571-1638) was not only an energetic publisher of maps and globes, but also a leading cartographer, astronomer, and mathematician of his time. This pupil of Tycho Brahe, was famous, among others, as a publisher of nautical maps and became the official cartographer of the mighty Dutch East India Company, which laid the basis for the Dutch colonial domination in Southeast Asia. The map is characterized by the title cartouche, which was brought over to some other printing plates.
First Blaeu's Edition (KMM B2c)
A variant of the same map with a Latin text on the reverse side.
Second Blaeu's Edition (KMM B3a)
Blaeu's second edition, which differs from the previous one with a different reference meridian.
Henrik Hondia's Engraving (KMM C)
Around the year 1633 Henrikus Hondius engraved a new printing plate based on the work of Abraham Goos (KMM A). Henrikus Hondius was, together with his brother-in-law Joann Janssonius, the main initiator of publishing Mercator's atlases after 1623. Jodokus Hondius, author of KMM B, was Henrik's brother. The edition was designed especially to be included in the atlas, and was as such preserved, like the previous one, in a large number of variants differing by the text on the reverse side of the map.
Hondia's Edition (KMM C1e)
The earliest known edition published by Hendrik Hondius himself, a variant with the German text on the reverse side.
Hondia's Edition (KMM C1a)
Same edition as above only without the text on the reverse side.
Janssonius' Edition (KMM C2c)
The edition of Joann Janssonius (1588-1664), a leading publisher of maps, atlases, and globes related to the Hondius' family and the main competitor of Blaeu's family, is the second oldest adjustment of printing plate KMM C. The specimen kept in the Moravská zemská knihovna is provided with a Latin text on its reverse side.
Edition of Johann Janssonius-Waesberger, Moses Pitt, and Stephen Swart (KMM C3a)
After the death of Johann Janssonius his son in law Joannes (III) Janssonius van Waesbergen (1616-1681) published, along with the London publishers Moses Pitt (1639-1697) and Stephen Swart, a new print from the same plate. The map was most likely published around 1680.
Edition of Gerard Valk and Petr Schenk (KMM C4a)
Along with part of Janssonius' plates, the engraving of the map of Moravia came into the possession of brothers in-law Gerard Valk (1650-1726) and Peter Schenk Sr. (1660-1718/1719) who printed from it after 1683, most likely as the last ones.