AFTER THE PUBLICATION OF HIS WORLD-MAP IN 1569, MERCATOR CONTINUED HIS PLANS FOR THE PUBLISHING OF HIS ATLAS; HIS CHRONOLOGY WAS ISSUED IN 1569, THE EDITION OF PTOLEMY'S GEOGRAPHIA IN 1578 AND THE SECOND PART OF THE ATLAS IN 1585, MUCH OF THE ENGRAVING BEING CARRIED OUT BY ARNOLD, WHO DIED OF PLEURESY IN 1587, AND THEN BY RUMOLD, WHO HAD BEEN SENT TO TRAIN WITH ORTELIUS IN ANTWERP AND LATER ACTED AS AGENT FOR THE BOOKSELLER BIRCKMAN IN COLOGNE.
ARNOLD HAD BEEN TRAINED BY MERCATOR HIMSELF IN THE ART OF INSTRUMENT MAKING, SURVEYING AND ENGRAVING, AND FROM 1564 WAS ENTRUSTED BY MERCATOR WITH ALL THE SURVEYING OF TRIER, KATZENELLENBOGEN, AND MOST OF HESSE. WALTER GHIM, MAYOR OF DUISBURG AND MERCATOR'S FRIEND, IN HIS VITA MERCATORIS, PUBLISHED IN THE 1595 EDITION OF THE ATLAS, DOCUMENTS THE LIFE OF MERCATOR, BUT ALSO GIVES GENEROUS PRAISE TO ARNOLD: 'IN A FEW YEARS ARNOLD HAD MADE SUCH PROGRESS WITH THESE STUDIES THAT HE WAS ALMOST UNRIVALLED IN CONSTRUCTING ACCURATE AND BEAUTIFUL MATHEMATICAL INSTRUMENTS, WHICH HE MADE FOR SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DIGNITARIES IN GERMANY. HE HAD HARDLY AN EQUAL IN HIS SKILL IN GEOGRAPHY AND SURVEYING'. HIS SONS JACOB AND MICHAEL BOTH FOLLOWED HIS TRADE; JACOB IN AN UNDATED LETTER OF AROUND 1592 SENT A METAL GLOBE TO THE LANDGRAVE OF KASSEL, WHILE MICHAEL IS KNOWN FOR HIS ENGRAVING OF A WORLD MAP DATED 1589 ON A SILVER PLAQUE IN COMMEMORATION OF DRAKE'S VOYAGE.
MERCATOR'S WIFE DIED IN 1586, AND HE HIMSELF WAS PARALYSED BY A STROKE IN 1590, AND DIED IN 1594 OF A CEREBRAL HAEMORRHAGE. HIS FRIEND ABRAHAM ORTELIUS DESCRIBED MERCATOR AS THE PTOLEMY OF HIS AGE; HIS ACHIEVEMENTS SET CARTOGRAPHY FORWARD INTO THE 17TH CENTURY. AFTER HIS FATHER'S DEATH RUMOLD TOOK OVER THE BUSINESS PUBLISHING A NEW EDITION OF THE ATLAS IN 1595. HE DIED IN 1599, AND THE ORIGINAL COPPERPLATES FOR THE MAPS WERE PURCHASED BY JODOCUS HONDIUS OF AMSTERDAM.
THE CLOSE SIMILARITY OF THIS PAIR OF GLOBES TO MERCATOR'S GLOBES OF 1541 AND 1551, ALLIED WITH THE USE OF INFORMATION FROM THE MERCATOR WORLD MAP OF 1569 LEADS US TO BELIEVE THAT THEY WERE CONSTRUCTED BY CRAFTSMAN OR CRAFTSMEN CLOSE TO MERCATOR, FAMILIAR WITH THE CONCEPTS OF HIS PROJECTION. THE SIGNIFICANT FACT THAT ONE OF THE LEGENDS IS ONLY FOUND ON A MAP BY RUMOLD MERCATOR PUBLISHED IN 1587, INDICATES THAT RUMOLD MUST HAVE HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF OR ACCESS TO NOTES FOR THE GLOBES CONSTRUCTION; THESE NOTES DERIVING FROM MERCATOR'S OWN WORKSHOP AT DUISBURG. WE THEREFORE ATTRIBUTE THESE GLOBES TO MERCATOR'S WORKSHOP.
THE SCIENTIFIC INTERESTS OF SULTAN MURAD III (1546-15 )
Sultan Murad III, grandson of Suleiman the Magnificent, succeeded to the Ottoman sultanate on the death of his father, Selim II, in 1574, at the age of 28. His mother, Nur Banu Sultan, the favourite consort of Selim II, was of Venetian birth; she was captured when she was 12 by the Turkish corsair Hayreddin, known as Barbarossa, and joined the Harem. Soon after his accession, apparently encouraged by his hodja (teacher), he agreed to establish an observatory in the European sector of Istanbul at Tophane; building work was completed in 1577, and observations began the same year. The complex comprised a building for accomodation and offices, and another known as the small observatory, to house the portable instruments. The larger instruments were probably placed in the open, the outstanding object being the gigantic armillary sphere. A team of 16 staff was headed by the director Taqi al-Din, the Syrian-born astronomer from Cairo, and another astronomer, a Jew from Salonica. The Observatory was soon equipped with the finest instruments, as a contemporary Ottoman miniature depicts, showing a room with quadrants,astrolabe, clepsidras, a European clock, and in the foreground a large European style terrestrial globe, reflecting Taqi al-Din's own interest in cartography. An account by Salomon Schweygger, who visited Istanbul between 1578 and 1581, specifically states that the observatory was equipped with a pair of globes, but these were much larger than the present pair, described as being an ell in height (about 5 feet).
The establishment of this observatory gives an insight into why a pair of European globes might be required at this particular time by Murad III.
THE ACQUISITION OF EUROPEAN OBJECTS BY THE OTTOMAN COURT
There were three principal ways in which the Sultan and his Court acquired European objects in the 1570's. One was, of course, by diplomatic gift, which might be enforced or voluntary, the most obvious case of the former being the annual tribute or honoraria given by the Habsburg Court from 1547 to 1606 as part of the settlement of the Austro-Turkish War. Through this settlement the Ottomans extracted an annual tribute of 30,000 ducats, described by the Habsburgs as 'presents' (Türkenverehrung). The agreement stipulated that part of this tribute be paid in clocks. The 'presents' generally comprised gold and silver vessels, usually goblets to hold specie, and clocks and automata. For the production of clocks and other mechanical frivolities the Courts in Vienna and Prague had a well organised system of manufacture of such goods from Augsburg and Nuremberg makers, sometimes even completing designs of clocks supplied by the Ottoman Court. Other satellite states such as Transylvania, the Ragusans, Wallachians and Poland also provided tribute to the Ottoman Court, but at much lower levels e.g. 5000 ducats from Transylvania, while the Venetians as a matter of course gave gifts to placate and strengthen their trading relationship with their powerful ally. For them the gifts tended to be decorative, silks and wall hangings, mirrors and other quality Italian goods.
European powers further away from the Ottoman sphere of influence used gifts as a essential part of diplomacy to the Sublime Porte, to maintain or establish valuable trading agreements. In 1579, for example, the French ambassador, de Germigny, presented the Sultan with 'un fort beau et grand horloge sonnant et monstrant tous les signes du ciel'; the English too were were in the process of negotiating capitulations, and an English embassy was established in 1582, accompanied by the gift of a coach. The Spanish had agreed a cessation of hostilities with the Ottomans in 1577 and an armistice was concluded in 1578. Philip's agent in Istanbul, Giovanni Margliani was given an ambassadorial licence and a present for the Sultan in September 1579; what form this present took is not revealed.
Another process by which European items came to the Court is a variant of the diplomatic gift system whereby the Ottoman Court let ambassadors, resident in Istanbul, know what gifts they required even to the point of providing descriptions and drawings. The central figure in many of these requests was Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, who was Grand Vizier between 1565 and 1579 (when he was assasinated). In 1567 he requested a clock from the Austrians and Italian style glass lamps from the Venetians. In 1573 he asked the Austrians for a clock and in 1576 requested two types of spherical clocks providing drawings and instructions, which still survive in the archives at Vienna. Requests in 1578 included textiles, portraits of Sultans, saddle-cloths and bows from Venice. In 1579 the Sultan asked de Germigny to send a drawing of a spherical clock to Henri III. Other viziers also put pressure on the European ambassadors at Court with their own requests. Certainly the benefits and costs of playing the game by these methods must have been recuperated by trade gained.
Presents also arrived unsolicited from non governmental sources, scholars or entrepreneurs. An early example occured when Francesco Berlinghieri sent a copy of his translation of Ptolemy's Geographia to the Sultan in 1481, or the costly four-tiered crown made in Venice for Süleyman the Magnificent in the 1530's. Equally in 1559 the 'Map of Hajji Ahmed', a woodcut cordiform world map with lengthy inscriptions in Turkish was made for the Turkish market and printed in Venice.
A final source of European objects were the merchants specially sent out to acquire items abroad. Records of their missions occasionally survive, but it is rare to know what they were being sent to purchase. An exception to this, and especially interesting in the context of these globes, is Gabriel Defrens, a young multi-lingual dragoman, probably of Burgundian origins, who was employed by the Odabashi, the sultan's personal attendant at Topkaki Palace, as well as by the French embassy in Istanbul. In 1580 the Austrian ambassador von Sinzendorff wrote to Rudolf warning him that Defrens, who was 'French or rather Netherlandish', and about 14 or 15 years old, had just left Istanbul for Europe, travelling to Ragusa, Venice, and thence to Augsburg and Nuremberg. His real purpose was espionage, and von Sinzendorff judged him' an agent most dangerous for Christendom'. As for his ostensible mission, 'he just recently had it made known and recognized that he would buy clocks and suchlike instruments there [Augsburg and Nuremberg] and finally travel towards England where would be seen by the Court. The report is dated 17 September 1580, but von Sinzendorff makes it clear that Defrens had made the journey before and was well acquainted with the roads. It seems he had made a previous journey to England in 1579, probably to encourage the English in their approach to the Ottoman Court.
THE TUGHRA AND THE LATIN INSCRIPTION
The key features which indicate the possible explanation for the construction and origins of these globes are the forms of the arabic Tughra and the Latin inscription. On one level the two dedicatory cartouches are complimentary, one in an Ottoman form the other a European form; but closer inspection reveals anomalies. The Ottoman tughra was the Sultan's own cipher that was used to confirm the legality of documents. It was also used to mark works of art, though no other object of the 15th and 16th century, apart from written documents, is known that features such a prominent and elaborate version of the tughra. The tughra on the globe is a remarkably accurate rendering of Murad's tughra, it contains all the literal elements, preserves the proportions and even the flourish of the Ottoman original. The one European element is the arabesques, which in their form imitate the triangular crest of a typical Ottoman model of Murad's reign (see illustration). Apart from the arabesques the tughra is a near perfect rendering of a prototype that had originated in the Ottoman chancery. The quality of the Ottoman tughra is in direct contrast to the European inscription. This lacks the stamp of Chancery approval, its phraseology is hybrid, it is terse and lacks the standard protocols. The crucial question is where and by whom the Latin dedication was composed. The poor form of the Latin, the lack of ingratiating titles argue that the inscription was probably not prepared by an imperial secretariat either in Europe or Istanbul, i.e. that it was not a gift from established tribute countries, who would know better than this. Research in the archives of Venice, the Habsburg archives in Vienna shows no mention of globes in gift or tribute list for this period. The English gifts were not made until the next decade, while the Spanish would be unlikely not to have recorded a gift of this stature. The French were certainly not prepared to spend enormous amounts on regular gifts given that in 1579 Henri III complained that he could not afford a turban watch for the heir-apparent, Prince Mehmed. A private gift from rich merchants cannot be ruled out, but where would they have found a Tughra to copy. It is possible that Gabriel Defrens