A Remarkable Atlas of Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia.
Engraved title-page in Hungarian and Latin, key map and 59 other hand colored single sheet copperplate engraved maps with original outline color. Folio. Sheets Loose in morocco backed silk portfolio, lightly worn and faded.
Rare Atlas of Hungary, issued in serial, with maps prepared over a number of years between 1796 and 1811. The full title of the atlas is:
Gergely, András, ed. Magyarország története a 19. században (The History of Hungary in the 19th Century). Budapest: Osiris, 2005.
Görög, Demeter. Magyar Átlás, az az Magyar, Horvát és Tót országok vármegyéji szabad kerületei és a’ határ-őrzőkatonaság vidékinek közönséges és különös tábláji. Vienna: Demeter Görög and József Márton, 1802-1811
(Magyar Atlas, Including General and Special Plates of the Hungarian, Croatian and Slavonian Countries’ Castle Districts, Free Regions, and the Military Border Districts).
The Magyar Atlas or Atlas Hungaricus is the first modern atlas of Hungary, prepared using modern surveys and methods. It was first issued (incomplete) with a title page in 1802, with the remaining sheets being issued over the course of the next 9 years.
Demeter Gorog was a Hungarian Polymath, who made contributions to many fields. In the latter part of the 18th Century, he and his colleagues recognized a need for a modern map and atlas of Hungary. A plan was devised to create an atlas in serial format. Over a course of years, the project employed and trained approximately 20 people on the crafts necessary to produce the atlas, including such distinguished experts as Samuel Falka, a famous Buda printer; Junker Keresztény, who became the most beautiful scribe in Vienna, and engraver Samuel Czetter.
By 1803, 35 maps were fully completed and published, with the complete work finally completed by 1811 . The greatest sponsor of Atlas was Count György Festetics , who funded 41 of the maps.
Of note is the first text sheet, the Repertórium (Repertory), which listed all symbols and letters used on the legend for the maps in three languages: Magyar, Latin, and German . Görög respected the dominant ethnic groups in the hundreds of settlements detailed on the maps. Thus, the entry for Apaj noted that the Slovak equivalent for this place in Pozsony county was Opoj, and that Nagy-Szombat in the same county was Tyrnavia in Latin, Tyrnau in German and Trnawa in Slovak. Görög worked to record and respect the multicultural and linguistic diversity of Hungarian settlements. By not using exclusively Magyar names for places he endeavored to "walked a fine line and did not cross over into symbolic magyarization of the Kingdom of Hungary."
The following is excepted from Eva Bodnar's Pictures Worth the Proverbial Thousand Words: Multifaceted Loyalties As Expressed in Cartographic Mapping of Hungary, 1790-1848
Demeter Görög, the Post-Josephian Hungarian Reaction and the Domain of Maps
One person responsible for the creation of maps who was both a loyal imperial supporter and possessed a sense of national identity was Demeter Görög (1760-1833), a Hungarian nobleman. Based in Vienna, Görög's interest in cartography was so great that he convinced Prince Miklós Eszterházy, the father of one of his aristocratic students, to allow him to set up an institute for the production of maps in his Viennese palace, where engineers, engravers and drawers were paid to work (Nagy, 1977a, 407). This facility is known as the first Hungarian civilian mapmaking institute, and it is renowned not only for its maps but also for its employment and training of Hungarians with expertise in cartographic techniques (Papp-Váry 33). Beginning in 1789 Görög also found time to edit the weekly periodical Hadi és más nevezetes történetek (Military and Other Stories of Note) along with his journalistic partner Sámuel Kerekes. From 1791 until 1803 it was published under the name Magyar Hirmondó (Hungarian News). After 1803 the journal ceased publication because of censorship. Its initial sphere of coverage centered on the Austrian war against Turkey, but domestic and other international events also received attention. . . .
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Görög’s twin guiding philosophies – support for national development through the vehicle of the Magyar language and a desire to raise the level of learning of the middle/lower Hungarian nobility – combined with his interest in cartography through his journalistic activity. Hadi és más nevezetes történetek and Magyar Hirmondó both offered free maps to their subscribers in order to increase their geographical knowledge. In all 127 maps appeared in the pages of the papers (Nagy, 1977b, 211-2). Görög invested in the creation of these maps for his subscribers because of his passion for geography, mapping, and his hope that he would contribute to the spread of literacy and knowledge in the Hungarian Kingdom.
The gesture of producing 127 new maps for the journals was a very generous one, considering the cost of this enterprise. In the Magyar Hirmondó, Görög informed his readers that Count György Festetics alone had contributed over 2000 forints for the production of maps “in order to advance the commonweal.” These funds went toward engineer surveyors for the areas that were drawn according to new measurements and not merely copied from other, already existing maps, and toward the salaries of Görög and Kerekes’ employees in the map institute, which amounted to 1200 forints annually. . . . Görög’s institute produced all types of maps for the readership of his journal, including world maps and maps to enlighten his subscribers about the geographical areas where battles were being fought, such as his 1789 depiction of The Theatre Showing the Military Conflict between the Roman, Russian and Turkish Emperors (Nagy, 1977b, 215 and 220). But his most important maps were, arguably, those his institute produced depicting the Hungarian counties, which were subsequently republished as his Magyar Átlás (Hungarian Atlas). Görög was so committed to producing the Magyar Átlás that he left his position at the Hirmondó to devote himself to this work.
One reason for Görög’s single-minded devotion to the project of the atlas was that maps of Hungarian counties were relatively rare, and their compilation in atlas form was even rarer. The engineer, surveyor and cartographer Sámuel Mikoviny had personally mapped Hungarian counties in the first half of the eighteenth century, but as a Major and Lieutenant-Colonel in the imperial army, and as an employee of the Viennese Treasury, his work was mostly classified material, although some of his county maps did find their way into print. There was also a German atlas depicting Hungarian counties in existence, which was the work of János Mátyás Korabinszky. This atlas, for a German-speaking Hungarian public, contained maps in Latin, which was legally the official language of the country. Korabinszky had long occupied himself with geographical subjects relating to Hungary, and had in his Lexicon already alluded to the lack of proper material on the subject for those who were interested. He was compelled to create a Hungarian atlas because: “(a) general wish to possess an atlas of Hungary, and the difficulties relating to the appearance of one that are still present, made me determined to dare to develop an ideal map of this considerable empire” (Korabinszky 2).
Görög’s Átlás made up for the insufficient number of atlases of Hungary detailing its county structure, and served his twin aims of broadening the use of the Magyar language in official publications and enlightening the Hungarian lesser nobility. Its title and the titles of all the maps in the atlas appear in both Magyar and Latin, but Magyar dominates over the Latin because each county map also contains a dedication to the person who helped finance its creation, and these are entirely in Magyar. For example, Temes (Plate 45) was dedicated to “the Honorable Count György Festetits, His Highness, for his decidedly progressive patriotic activity,” while Árva (Plate 5) contained an inscription “to the Honorable Count Pál Szapáry, His Excellency, the Lord Lieutenant of Árva castle county (vármegye).” In all, the atlas contained fifty-three county and territory maps and seven maps detailing the military border districts. A Repertórium (Repertory) was also produced to correspond to the atlas, which listed all symbols and letters used on the legend for the maps in three languages: Magyar, Latin, and German. Great care was taken in the Repertórium in regard to place names. Görög respected the dominant ethnic groups in the hundreds of settlements detailed on the maps. Thus, the entry for Apaj noted that the Slovak equivalent for this place in Pozsony county was Opoj, and that Nagy-Szombat in the same county was Tyrnavia in Latin, Tyrnau in German and Trnawa in Slovak. The fact that Görög made such an effort to record and respect the multicultural and linguistic diversity of Hungarian settlements is particularly significant. For although his atlas was a landmark in terms of its use of Magyar, by not using exclusively Magyar names for places it walked a fine line and did not cross over into symbolic magyarization of the Kingdom of Hungary.
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Pál Mikó has examined the seeming incompatibility of Görög’s measured Jacobin support and openness toward discussion of radical concepts combined with his strong Hungarian patriotism and imperial loyalty. She concludes that the imperial family had to have known about Görög’s political leanings from secret police reports and that it was his exceptional learning, behavior, pedagogical abilities and trustworthiness that allowed him to keep his position at court (Mikó 94). Similarly, József Molnár saw him as at once a “stubborn Magyar, proud Hajduk noble and governor to the imperial family. At the same time he sought the favor of the king and sacrificed his fortune for the sake of works to benefit his homeland” (Molnár 4). In other words, national, state and imperial loyalties were present both in aspects of Görög’s life and in his work. Görög’s publication of Hádi és más nevezetes történetek and Magyar Hirmondó gave people in the Kingdom of Hungary greater choice in selecting journals printed in Magyar, of which there were not very many. These journals also contained maps, financed by prominent Hungarian nobles and from Görög’s own private wealth. The cartographic designs and the journals themselves were made in order to help spread the reach of the Hungarian language in Hungary, and to increase the level of learning of the lower nobility, minor officials and semi-literate Magyars. These aspects of Görög’s life activity had national overtones. Simultaneous with his national leanings, Görög remained on good terms with his fellow nobles who constituted the Hungarian state. He was supportive of the Hungarian nobility’s anti-Josephian stance, to the point of housing political debates in his living quarters that were tinged with Jacobin overtones. Somewhat extraordinarily, Görög was able to maintain his national and patriotic allegiances while retaining the best of imperial connections as a court governor. These loyalties may also be seen on a symbolic level in his cartographic activities, and most prominently in his Magyar Átlás. This significant cartographic work was printed predominantly in Hungarian (a national leaning), emphasized the county organization of the Kingdom of Hungary (the traditional state stronghold of the Hungarian nobility) and respected the authority of the Habsburgs (through its use of Latin, the officially-recognized language of the kingdom).
While individual maps appear occasionally on the market, the complete atlas has proven virtually unobtainable for private collectors. We locate only a single example at auction (this example, Swann 2017). This example seems alto have been sold at Sothebys on October 24, 1996, lot 148.
Provenance: The atlas includes the ownership mark of G.F. Cushing. George Frederick Cushing (1923-1996) was a British author and professor, dedicated to the study of Hungary. Born in the English town of Sheringham on February 17, 1923; he was a professor at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London. Cushing was a contributor to the Slavonic and East European Review and Translated a number of important works into English.