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Description

Shows an Alternative Name for the Persian Gulf "Golfo de Balsera Vel Mare de Elcatif"

An impressive map of  Persia and the surrounding region. The map is superimposed on a scene showing the city of Isphahan, with attractive detail. The Persian Gulf is given two alternative names: the Golfo de Balsera and the Mare de Elcatif.

The map is very attractively designed, stretching from the Arabian Peninsula to the Caspian Sea. The map names many rivers, regions, cities as well as drawing some geomorphological features. Bahrain is shown and labeled, though the Qatari peninsula is lacking. The Indus River is named correctly, while the Tigris is named the Frat. The names of many regions are shown, though some are heavily Europeanized, for example, "Sablestan."

Isfahan, a city at the center of the Persian Empire, is attractively pictured below the map. The Zagros mountains can be seen in the background, and the many citadels and minarets of the city are depicted. In the foreground are trees and palms, though this is again slightly Europeanized compared to images of modern-day Isphahan. Save for the minarets, the city looks more Italian than Iranian.

Early maps of the Persian Gulf referred to the area in many different ways, reflecting the power dynamics between the rival states of Arabia and Persia. The city of "El Catif," now Al Qatif, provided one alternative name. The other alternative name given on this map refers to "Balsera." Little etymological work has been done to trace this, but its variant "Bassora" coincides with a possible ancient name for Basrah. This is supported by a 1759 source that claims Balsera is at the border between Iraq and Arabia, along the Tigris, and still susceptible to tides. Basrah fits this definition perfectly.

This map is very rare on the market. A list that purports to name the various combinations of names of the Persian Gulf omits the variations seen here.

Reference
Power Struggles and Trade in the Gulf: 1620-1820 (al-Qasimi 3)