ISTHME DE SOUEYS [ISTHMUS OF SUEZ]. PLAN DU PORT DE SOUEYS ET DU FOND DU GOLFE ARABIQUE.

image93442

Pierre Jacotin

Artist's Biography

Isthme de Soueys [Isthmus of Suez]. Plan du Port de Soueys et du Fond du Golfe Arabique.

Copper plate engraving, c.1817
Image size 19 3/4 x 15 1/2" (50.2 x 39.5 cm) plus margins.
Good condition, minor foxing.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 93442
Price: $175.00
Publisher : Published by Charles-Louis-Fleury Panckoucke, Paris.
This map depicts the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt – the area of land linking Africa and Asia, and between the Mediterranean and Red Seas. This strategic location made it a major point of interest in Napoleon’s 1798 campaign through Egypt. Napoleon ordered research and exploration along the isthmus in order to find the remains of an ancient waterway passage that had existed there at one time. Several years later, Napoleon wanted to construct a canal to connect the two seas, but concluded that it was impossible due to flawed measurements taken during the campaign. However, later explorers continued to plan for the Suez Canal, enabling its eventual construction during the mid-19th century.

This map marks the discovered vestiges of the ancient canal in this area, and also marks the planned course of Napoleon’s new canal, if it had been built. The map also details the coastlines, soundings in the water, and military and caravan routes.

Pierre Jacotin was named director of all the geographers and surveyors in the Nile Valley area during the French campaign. Although the plates for this map would have been produced from surveys made during the campaign, in 1808 Napoleon declared the information gathered in Jacotin’s surveys to be a state secret and forbid the plates from being officially published until 1817. This map is from the second edition of the “Description de l’Egypte”, a huge collaborative work published in sections between 1809 and 1829, which was intended as a compilation of the descriptive and historical information on Egypt that scholars had recorded during the campaign.
Maps

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