Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Keeper of the Tome

The school library here in town holds many treasures. One of the most interesting items is a giant book of German, French and Italian maps from the early 18th century. Whenever I visit, the librarian is always very happy pull it off the shelves for me. The thing is so huge that whenever she carries it in her arms her petite frame is almost entirely eclipsed. It's like watching a giant walking book. The thing is also quite hefty, as you might imagine. There must be over 250 maps in the collection. Most are of Europe, but there are also a few world maps, which include the Americas (and the early colonies). It's pretty cool to see how people saw the world back then. It's also pretty cool to see how they made maps back then; the attention to detail is pretty impressive (even if they weren't perfectly accurate) and the decorative ink patterns along the borders are equally stunning.

Here you can see Lugoj (Lugosch), located on the Timis River. To the West of Lugoj is 'Koschtil,' today called Costei; it's the first village outside of Lugoj on the way to Timisoara. To the East is 'Kritschava,' today the village of Criciova.

Thanks to Chris for the photos


Rachel said...

That's awesome! So jealous!!

That remind sme... lately I've been perusing early American newspapers (18th century) and occasionally there I will find news reports from "Temeswar!" I've even seen at least one mention of "Lugos." They all mention the conflicts between the Hapsburgs and Turks in eastern and central Europe. It was really cool to stumble upon references to modern-day Romania while researching colonial New England.

Oh, and there are also "reposrts" of vampires Transylvania in those same newspapers... dating back to the 1730s! But that's another story... ;) said...

sooo... are the white areas on maps marked with "there be vampires"? mwhahaha