Finely and beautifully colored example of Mortier's map of the route taken by the ancient Greeks during the famous "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," led by Xenophon.
Xenophon led the Ten Thousand, a force of mainly Greek mercenary units who were hired to capture the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Younger. While their coup was successful militarily, Cyrus the Younger died and the troops were left in Assyria without employment. Following the assassination of Greek senior officers, the military genius Xenophon was elected to lead the troops home, which he helped do through numerous ruses, as recounted in his Anabasis.
The map shows Anatolia, the Caucasus region, the Holy Land, Egypt, and other parts of the Middle East. The map includes two cartouches, and of course, traces the route of the Ten Thousand from the Aegean to Babylon and back. This map was published by Pierre Mortier in Amsterdam.
Pierre, or Pieter, Mortier (1661-1711) was a Dutch engraver, son of a French refugee. He was born in Leiden. In 1690 he was granted a privilege to publish French maps in Dutch lands. In 1693 he released the first and accompanying volume of the Neptune Francois. The third followed in 1700. His son, Cornelis (1699-1783), would partner with Johannes Covens I, creating one of the most important map publishing companies of the eighteenth century.