2021, vol. 9, no. 4. Idrisov Yu.M., Khanmurzaev I.I.

2021, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 768-790

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22378/2313-6197.2021-9-4.768-790


Yu.M. Idrisov 1, I.I. Khanmurzaev 2
1 Daghestan nonprofit foundation “Historical Park ‘Russia – My History’”
Makhachkala, Republic of Daghestan, Russian Federation

2 Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Daghestan
Federal Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Makhachkala, Republic of Daghestan, Russian Federation

Abstract: Research objectives: To conduct a detailed comparative analysis of the toponymic source known as “Hand Drawn Portolan of the Caspian Sea (1519)” by Vesconte Maggiolo, and ascertain the range and chronology of its sources.
Research materials: At the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there were a few navigational maps – portolan charts – created in Italy which contained rather precise outlines of the coastline of the Caspian Sea. The present Portolan excels all earlier items in terms of precision of the depicted topographical realities of the region. The quality of the map we are examining was surpassed only in the seventeenth century after Peter I’s hydrographic expeditions. The high level of shoreline’s precision also strongly suggests that the map was based on authentic topographic input. Maggiolo’s map contains 136 geographical names.
Results and novelty of the research: For the first time ever in domestic scholarship, we conducted a comparative historical analysis of the hand drawn portolan chart of the Caspian Sea. We also proved the correlation of some toponyms of the West Caspian region with the Timurid and local sources that covered the military campaigns of Amir Timur in the region. In our view, the “Hand Drawn Portolan Chart of the Caspian Sea (1519)” created by Vesconte Maggiolo is one of the most notable among similar works. It finds many common features with the portolan from the island of Lesina, but also contains some common elements with the Mallorca cartographic school and Fra Mauro, Egerton MS 73, and Egerton MS 2083. This research allows us to extend and systematize our understanding of Italian cartography in relation to the Caspian region. It also details or adds some facts about the presence of Europeans in this region during the Golden Horde era. Based on this topographic and toponymic analysis, we furthermore come to a conclusion that the portolan in question is derived from a protograph created in the first half of fifteenth century, reflecting the realities of the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Keywords: Vesconte Maggiolo, portolan, maps, Caspian Sea, place names, Genoese, Venetians, Franciscans, Saray, Caucasus, Iran, Azerbaijan, coast of Kazakhstan, coast of Turkmenistan, Fra Mauro, sources, protograph

For citation: Idrisov Yu.M., Khanmurzaev I.I. “Hand Drawn Portolan of the Caspian Sea of 1519” by Vesconte Maggiolo: A Source of Historical Geography for the Caspian Region. Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie=Golden Horde Review. 2021, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 768–790. DOI: 10.22378/2313-6197.2021-9-4.768-790 (In Russian)

Acknowledgements: We would like to express our gratitude to Roman Hautala (Senior Research Fellow at the Marjani Institute of History of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences), A.V. Dzhanov (Senior Research Fellow of the National Reserve “Sophia Kievskaya”), Professor Sh.M. Mustafayev (Deputy Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan), as well as to A.R. Ibragimov (IT-manager) for the provided technical support.


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About the authors: Yusup M. Idrisov – Cand. Sci. (History), Lecturer-guide of the Daghestan nonprofit foundation “Historical Park ‘Russia – My History’” (31, Imam Shamil Ave., Makhachkala 367015, Republic of Daghestan, Russian Federation); ORCID: 0000-0001-5326-9298. E-mail: markes06@mail.ru

Ismail I. Khanmurzaev – junior researcher of the Department of Oriental Studies, Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Daghestan Federal Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (75, M. Yaragskiy Str., Makhachkala 367030, Republic of Daghestan, Russian Federation); ORCID: 0000-0003-0645-3978. E-mail: xanmurzaev@yandex.ru

Received  July 30, 2021   Accepted for publication  November 2,2021
Published  Online December 29, 2021