Copper engraving, 38.5 x 51.5 cm, original hand colour, blank verso.
Derived from a map by Philippe De La Rue, Mortier’s map captures ancient Armenia at the moment that it was reorganised into four provinces by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 536 CE. Armenia was on the frontline between the Byzantine and Persian Empires and control passed back and forth between them; in 701 CE, after decades of conflict with the rising power in the region, Armenia became a province of the Umayyad Caliphate.
The map-maker Pierre or Pieter Mortier (1661-1711) went into partnership with Parisian publisher Alexis Hubert Jaillot. Armed with a privilege to distribute the works of French cartographers in the Netherlands, Mortier contributed to the revival of the Dutch map trade, which had been flagging since the achievements of the Golden Age cartographers. After his death the business was continued by his widow and his brother David. From 1721 the business was taken over by Pieter’s son Corneille and Jean Covens, the partnership being known as Covens and Mortier, a firm which survived until 1866.