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Janez Vajkard Valvasor: 330 years after the nobleman’s death, a translated work about the “famous Archduke of Carinthia”



Janez Vajkard Valvasor died on this day in 1693

Historically important contributions to the Complete Topography of the Old and Modern Archduke of Carinthia (1688), which was published a year before the publication of Slava vojvodina Carnija, are his depictions of Carinthian towns and buildings, based on his own sketches.

Ljubljana noble polymath, historian, topographer, ethnographer and draftsman Janez Vajkard Valvasor (May 28, 1641–September 19, 1693) is inseparably connected with the historical region of Carniola. He is to his homeland by publishing a monumental work Glory of the Duchy of Carniola in 1689, he erected a permanent monument in Nuremberg, thanks to which the Carniolan name is still alive. The recent book translation of his work also shows his contribution to the knowledge of neighboring areas, especially Carinthia, as well as the northwestern part of today’s Republic of Croatia.

Valvasor's opening speech alone is worth paying attention to because of the surprising thought about tourism or  cultural travel already in the 17th century.  Photo: Maks Viktor publishing house

Valvasor has been involved for several decades with the Carinthian landscapeValvasor began to deal with Carinthia with its settlement in Bogenšperk in 1672 and dedicated three of his nine book works to it, just as much as to his native Carniola. Since he knew this land much worse than Carniola, he treated it inappropriately less comprehensively and less thoroughly. Nevertheless, Valvasor’s works are a valuable source for studying the history of Carinthia in the second half of the 17th century.

Valvasor’s most important original contribution are the depictions of Carinthia’s castles, monasteries, squares and towns, which were almost entirely modeled after his own hand-drawn sketches, as he compiled the texts mostly on the basis of existing literature.

Traveled the Karavank peaks several timesValvasor traveled several times across the mountainous border between Carniola and Carinthia, and the way there most likely led him over the high Ljubelj. From his own words we can understand that he had to be on top of it many times.

In the second half of the 1970s at the latest, he designed a bold and, at that time, difficult to implement plan for a new tunnel under Ljubelje. We only know about this megalomaniacal project what he himself said about it. According to him, the outbreak of the plague in Vienna in 1679 prevented the implementation of the plans, but the question is whether the epidemic was really the main reason. We can understand between the lines that the emperor was not in favor of Valvasor’s demands for certain financial assistance and the permanent right to collect tolls.

Topografia Archiducatus Carinthiae antiquae et modernae completa comprises 230 copperplates and descriptions of Carinthian cities and castles, the title plateplate, a map of Carinthia and a large panorama of Klagenfurt.  Photo: Maks Viktor publishing house

He also wrote the Complete Topography of the Archduchy of Carinthia on the occasion of the Glory of the Voivodeship of CarniolaTowards the end of the eighties, during the most intensive preparations for the release Glory of the Carniola VoivodeshipValvasor decided to carry out another great undertaking – publication Complete topographies of Carinthia. In the spring of 1686, he also informed the Royal Society about his dealings with the northern Carniola neighbor, to which he sent a copy Complete topography of Carinthia from 1681 and a copperplate of Klagenfurt from 1680. The book was printed for him by a well-known Nuremberg publisher Wolfgang Moritz Endterwho also took care of the printing Glory of the Carniola Voivodeship.

The edition of the translation preserves all the technical and content features of the original - from the format of the book and graphic appendices to the alignment of the pages.  Photo: Maks Viktor publishing house

By content Complete topography of Carinthia resembles XI. a book Glory of the Carniola Voivodeship, in which country castles, monasteries, towns and squares are presented in pictures and words. In addition to the topographical outline of the country, Valvasor furnished each copperplate with a short text. The introductory description of the country is followed by images and descriptions of places arranged in alphabetical order on 264 numbered sheets.

In total, the book contains 230 copperplates. They translated from the German language Božidar Debenjak, Primož Debenjak, Doris Debenjakthey translated from the Latin language Ales Maver and Matej Petričand wrote the accompanying study Jernej Kotar. The book was published in an edition of 100 numbered copies with manual binding, comprising 320 pages.

Janez Vajkard Valvasor died on this day 330 years agoHe had 16 brothers and sisters. He attended high school at the Jesuits in Ljubljana and supplemented his knowledge by traveling to Germany, France, and Switzerland. He took part in the war against the Turks in his military services. In 1672 he married Anna Maksimilina, together they had 11 children. He died at the age of 52 in Krško.

He devoted most of his life to science, collecting and studying the central part of today’s Slovenia. He was one of the first systematic cartographers in our country. He was the first to engage in coppersmithing and founded a graphics company. He collected important scientific works of the time, musical instruments, old money. As the costs of his collecting and printing exceeded his financial capacity, in 1692 he sold almost all of his possessions.

Source: Rtvslo

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