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Description

Scarce map of the British Isles in Roman times, based upon the manuscript map of the 18th Century British forger, Charles Julius Bertram.

Bertram was a 23 year old Englsh language teacher at the Royal Marine Academy in Copenhagen when he began corresponding with the noted 18th Century British antiuarian William Stukeley, regarding his discovery of a manuscript by "Richard of Westminster." Stukeley identified it as Richard of Cirencester (14th Century). The manuscript purported to be a history of Roman Brittain and included an ancient map of the British Isles.

The manuscript and map were first published in 1757. While initially accepted as authentic, by the middle of the 19th Century, the map and manuscript had been determined by the Northumberland historian John Hodgson to have been a clever forgery, although Bertrand, who died in 1765, was successful in passing off the fake during his lifetime.

The Stukeley-Bertram map combines two of the most fascinating and underappreciated map collecting topics, fakes and early reproductiions of unobtainable manuscript maps. This is one of the instances where a forgery of a medieval manuscript map enjoyed a lengthy run of legitimacy, before being debunked, a debate which was every bit as spirited in the late 18th and early 19th Century as the modern debate in America over the legitimacy of the Vinland map. Viewed in context, the maps are a unique artifact and marvelous insight into a period of history when Britain was actively discovering and publishiing its own pre-history.

Condition Description
Minor foxing.