All about the Aegean sea

Spying on the Cyclades

Versailles 1685. King Louis 14th, although he had not been involved in the so-called Great Turkish War, had carved his political plans for the Archipelago Sea. Two years after the beginning of the fifteen-year war, the orders are explicit. To map the timeless “pass key” commercial and military navigation from the western Mediterranean to the Sea to the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.

Organizes for this urgent shipments. Two ships sail from Toulon on the Aegean. Team leaders have been great sailors and experienced cartographers, the “engineers of the King,” as was their title. Disguised as merchants or clerics and secrecy roam the Sea for two years (1685-1687), depicting in detail in handwritten colored maps of large dimensions (60×100 m.) Bays, passes, ports and each position geostrategic interest in Cycladic islands (Paros, Paros, Antiparos, Ios, Milos, Sifnos, Kimolos) and the smaller the leeward Small Cyclades.


Why the Sun King, the longest serving ruler of France, chartografouse so carefully Cyclades shortly before the end of the 17th century, when almost all of the rest of Europe the Habsburgs and their allies fought the Ottoman Empire (1683-1699); What was seeking only except antiothomanikis alliance, after 40 years of reign of major reforms and the country’s opening to the sea, when the “Holy Alliance Linz» forced the Ottoman Empire in dire defeat and retreat of large territorial areas of aspirations in Central Europe with the Treaty of Karlowitz? And why does require a rapid and unprecedented detailed mapping Aegean immediately after the war started?

A likely scenario, found the researchers, is the French ruler was looking to window in the great crisis, to benefit himself by sea, by the decline of the Ottoman Empire. In this way he might consolidate his dominance in the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Archipelago, seafarers streets to Istanbul, especially since the former seas Serenissima, was weakened by the loss of Crete.

“Questions and assumptions about the plans of Louis the 14th period of the Great Turkish War from 1683 to 1699, the end of which he found the Morea under the Venetians, employ historical research and concern with some controversial modern historiography of gallotourkikon relations, they had long formed the Eastern Mediterranean bilateral agreements, “capitulations”, “notes on the” K “the emeritus professor of history AUTH Ioannis Chassiotis.


It is this research, the thin point critical for European history period, come to enrich the unique worldwide sixteen manuscript maps of Cyclades the Trikoglou collection, revealed by the documentation of the Library and Information Center of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the 90-year anniversary its foundation.

The maps of the King Sun was “obvious prerequisite tool for the preparation and support of geostrategic plans of French in the Eastern Mediterranean seas”, explains Evangelos Livieratos, Emeritus Professor of Cartography AUTH. The cartographic documents confirm the “importance of the region for France and simultaneously justify the explicit mention of the founders of the Library of AUTH maps as main collector material,” adds Dean of Aristotle, Pericles Mitkas. “Research,” he explains, “as a result of cooperation with the library of the Faculty cartography workshop in support of the Research Committee, continues that maps to become accessible to researchers and exposed within the general public this year.”

How was it to Sea from 330 years ago

The mapped by the French palace Sea, which rescued the Egyptians nobleman John (Giagkos) Trikoglou not only gives answers historic and unique information of the time geostrategic importance of the Archipelago. simultaneously highlights the natural and man-the Cyclades as it was 330 years ago. “The technique of cartographic design (eg perspective” look of the bird “) by experienced engineers, trained in surveying and cartography and not by tourists or scholars, a large scale was unprecedented for its time as to the geographical area of Cyclades and the general cartography of the Greek space of time, “says Mr. Livieratos.

Cartographers literally paint. The maps are constructed artifacts. “The artistic performance brings very connotations subsequent visual art schools,” says Mr. Livieratos. “Designed with excellent visual flair and precision engineering” capture incredible detail on our Islands today.

Their illustrations clearly record the bathymetry of coastal islands. Cartographers emphasize the narrow passages, the types of the seabed, in sheltered bays and anchorages to facilitate the safe approach of ships, the disembarkation of troops and refueling. Identify defensive zones and elevations supervision of insular space and natural fortification possibilities. Illustrating in detail the villages, scattered buildings, windmills, the natural terrain, crops, outdoor water collectors, the salt marshes.

Interesting and original are the 25 horizontal aspects of selected coast (Cyclades, South Peloponnese, Zakynthos, Sardinia, Tunis Bay), designed as seen from a boat at a certain distance from the coast. They are a precursor photography insular Aegean – valuable source for Greece over the centuries.

The manuscript maps of the King Sun will be presented for the first time on Wednesday (25/1) at the Thessaloniki City Hall, the event on the anniversary of 90 years since the establishment of the library, with the signing Municipal Cooperation Agreement and Aristotle in libraries , archives and collections. The two bodies are designed to promote research and education.

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