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Geomorphologia Slovaca et Bohemica


F L U V I O L A T I N A alias riečna krajina na historických rukopisných mapách: Latinsko-slovenský slovník
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Peter Pišút:
F L U V I O L A T I N A alias Riverine Landscapes on historic manuscript maps: Latin- Slovak dictionary
Geomorphologia Slovaca et Bohemica, 19, 2019, 2
70 figs., 1 tab., 107 refs.

Earliest manuscript maps and plans represent an important and interesting developmental stage in the evolution of cartography in Slovakia. Spanning almost a one hundred years (circa 1735 to 1829), Latin-written maps make an important and numerous group of them. Thanks to the scanning and digitisation of the cultural heritage nowadays a great number of cartographic works covering the area of former (historical) Hungary are available online to a broad public in succession states. Amongst these cartographic sources, a large and important assemblage of maps have survived to show rivers in the Danube basin and/or part of riverscapes, but also covering various engineering works on river banks and nearby alluvium, such as e. g. revetments, spur-dikes, embankments, weirs, canals, mills, salt warehouses, respectively. For this study, the abovementioned maps and plans are simply referred to as river maps. There are specific reasons why the study and using of this cartographic sources is usually not quite an easy taks for a person interested. Namely without deciphering the text information, a comprehensive understanding of the situations depicted on the maps is often unpossible. This monography has been written to provide experts from a broad fields of geography, geosciensces or natural scienses, but also from history, archaeology and philology with better knowledge of these important graphical sources, particularly through a comprehensive understanding of the map language. Why are earliest manuscript Latin river maps unique? Firstly, these cartographic „snapshots“ often captured the status of our most dynamic river geosystems with acceptable accuracy even some decades earlier than the Ist Military Survey of the Habsburg Monarchy did. Second, it is also their incontestable artistic value what makes them precious historical artefacts. The present monography consists of three principal parts. The introduction (chapter 1) outlines an importance of the Latin language in the evolution of society, church, education, science and culture, respectively, spanning from the downfall of the Roman Imperium up to the Early Modern Ages. In contrast to Austrian part of the Habsburg monarchy, in historical Hungarian Kingdom Latin was still widely used in state administration in 17th and 18th-Century. In the chapter 2. a light is shed on how civil cartography has evolved in this region into its „Golden age“ of Latin-written river maps. These were mainly the decades after the defeat of the Francis II. Rákoczy´s rebellion, during which the state was being gradually consolidated under the rule of the Enlightenment rulers (Maria Theresa, Joseph II.). In fact it lasted up to the 1840 when on the decision of the Diet a Hungarian became an official language in the then multinational Hungary. Two great individualities helped to establish quality map-making in this region: along with ingenious Slovak cartographer, water- and mine- engineer Samuel Mikoviny (1686 – 1750) it was also his almost co-eval Johann Jacob Marinoni (1676 – 1755). This Italian in service of the Viennese court became an outstanding mathematician and astronomer. He not only organised the first cadastral survey of the whole region ever (Milan cadaster), but he also authored two important textbooks of practical mapmaking (in 1751, 1775). Both men layed the foundations of civil cartography in the medium- and large-scale mapping and greatly assisted in establishing higher technical education in the region. Chapter 3 elucidates the circumstances leading to a literally rocket increase in number of manuscript river maps mainly after the 1760. Progressively, a great demand for qualified mappers came into being – a person was wanted able to make quality and precise maps not only for the needs of central state bodies (Hungarian Royal Chamber, Locumtenential Council), but also for the counties, free royal towns, both secular and church landholders. Skilled mapmaker of this kind would be able to map changing river channels, but also to project river regulations and various hydroengineering works. On the other side, it was just this period when the economic evolution, trade and naval transport started to collide with more and more intensive and dynamic changes of river channels. These happened in response to the ongoing change of both climate and landscape (introducing new farming practices and crops). Within a hydroclimatic period of the last onset of the Little Ice Age the frequency and magnitude of floods was markedly increasing, including dangerous ice-jam floods. This resulted in rapid channel changes that are well documented by the old maps themselves. In chapter 4, the Latin maps provide us with the insight into the shape and considerable diversity of the 18-th century riverscape, microrelief and riverine habitats. Although having been already for centuries under the influence of man, 18th and early 19th Century secondary landscape structure still depended heavily upon a high ground water table and regular inundations. This was also reflected by advanced specialized Latin terminology of riverine maps. As to a special meanings, this 18th and 19th-century fluvial Latin is partly different from a modern scientific nomenclature of e. g. current fluvial geomorophology. The key part of this study is the second one: Latin – Slovak dictionary of the river terms and standard lexical map idioms. It is based on the corpus of a total of 77 823 maps and 40 669 plans accessible to a public mainly on the server Hungaricana (Térképek – Maps). Besides, a number of cartographic sources from the archives in Slovakia were studied (e. g. from the Slovak National Archives and Municipal Archives of Bratislava). Last but not least, also some sentences from the Latin-written work Flora Posoniensis (S. Lumnitzer, 1791) have been involved. Vocabulary contains the most frequent and typical lexical collocations from the titles and explanatory parts of the maps. Therefore, in this sense it is also to some extent a frequency dictionary. The etymological principle has been applied, as well, where also the related words are indicated which had been derived from a particular word root, and thus their genetical connection is highlighted. At the end of the dictionary a person interested may find a concise guide how to proceed with translation of the Latin map texts and how to decode the contents of historical fluvial maps and plans. Many maps originally produced a functional whole with additional archival papers – for example, they may have been a part of written reports. Not seldom maps were later on picked out from their original files in the course of archival reconstitutions and purposefully incorporated e. g. into specific map collections. Thus, the primary map motivation may had been often obliterated. In the third part of the monography (chapter 7) a reader will find in total 25 case studies of old river maps. These chronologically arranged examples of Latin-written maps cover selected stretches or river portions mainly from the geografical area of current Slovakia, but also from the additional watercourses of historical Hungary (Tisza, Drava, Uzh river). Thus, they perfectly illustrate the universality of fluvio-geographical Latin for the knowledge of the different fluvial landscapes and styles. Maps were chosen to cover as wide spectrum of geological, geomorphological and relief frameworks as possible. Theys also include various hydrologic stream orders (1. – 4. order, according to Gravelius) and channel patterns (braiding, wandering, meandering), spanning across 500 height meters (from 80 m a. s. l. to 580 a. s. l.). Large-scale maps and plans (1:720 – 1:7 200) make a core of the studied set, but also the showcases of medium-scale maps have been integrated (Chap. 7.1. – Váh and Dudváh rivers on the map of S. Mikovíni; 7.2. – Ideal map of the Szigetköz district), or even some minor-scale maps (7.3. – Salt transportation in Royal Hungary, scaled 1:1 400 000). Particular case studies show in detail both possibilities and the limitations of manuscript river maps and how their analysis can be utilised for a diverse branches of science. Case studies have a common structure. The i.) detailed transcription of the official / original Latin name of the map is followed by ii.) translation into Slovak, iii.) identification of the author(s) and iv.) the date of map creation. In the next paragraph is explained v.) the motivation of every particular map, i. e. immediate reasons leading to survey of the territory in question. In the same time the represented map situation is interpreted, since this must not be always evident at the first sight – what does the particular map actually represents. Part vi.) overviews the land use of the depicted segment of river alluvium. Eventually, in the final paragraph vii.) important notes to map are quoted, or the attention is called to sometimes inconspicious, but often precious curiosities, drawn by surveyors into maps. Also map hydronymes and toponymes are of an added value. In some cases cartographic sources are also supplemented by a showcase of some related papers (Chap. 7. 5.) or maps that better document the context analysed. The study is storiated with showcases of historic maps and plans (in total 70 Figs.). They also represent a gradual evolution of characteristic graphic styles from different periods (Baroque, Rococo, Classicistic cartouches).