Cythera enters the space of scholarship and geography together with the other Greek islands with “Liber Insularum Archipelagi” by C. Buondelmonti, a pioneering chartographic manuscript of the early 15th century, which constituted a model for later isolaria such as B. dalli Sonetti (1485) and Β. Bordone's (1547). Sonetti's maps are accompanied by sonnets on each island, while Bordone notes information on myths, the climate and the history of the island on his idiosyncratic maps.
Towards the late 16th century Cythera appears in G. Fr. Camocio’s isolario, also a groundbreaking work for its era (1574). Camocio's work inspired later isolaria such as the one by G. Rosaccio (1598). The map of Cythera in the travel account by H. Beauvau is an imitation of a map included in another popular edition published a few years earlier. Like all similar works, the isolario of Antonio Millo (1582-91) is enriched by engravings already published in contemporary editions. Antonio marks perillous waters on the maps of his isolaria, and uses the place names found in contemporary portolani.
In 1572 T. Porcacchi published a very successful isolario, (here the edition of 1620) in which he employed the novel technique of copper engraving. This technique permitted the creation of more detailed and accurate images and a greater concentration of information; it gradually became the technique of choice for all illustrated works, until the early 19th century, when progressively lithography became the most popular technique. In Μ. Boschini’s edition, a small beautiful sample of Venetian engraving of the mid-17th century, the maps of Cythera and other islands are accompanied by an explanatory text containing historical and geographical information. The isolario of Fr. Piacenza (1688) includes superbly engraved maps and a wealth of material on the Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Peloponnese.
In the late 17thcentury, the editions of the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti in Venice, directed by V. M. Coronelli, were copied, translated and inspired several similar works. These editions include hundreds of copper engravings, which aimed at exalting Venice's victories during the Ottoman-Venetian war (1684-1687). Among them are views of the castle and chora, as well as a map of the port (V.M. Coronelli in 1687), and a plan of the fortress, a map of the port and a map of the area where the Ionian sea joins the Aegean (V.M. Coronelli in 1688). Copies of these drawings, identical or with variations illustrated the reprints or translations of these works, history books, geographic publications and later travel chronicles. The engravings in the 1708 works by V. M. Coronelli are highly appealing, although most plates repeat subjects already published in earlier editions of the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti.
In the same period, the work by J. Sandart (1686) shows the influence of similar engravings dating from the late 16th century and the rich erudite work by publisher and engraver Ol. Dapper, distinguished for the high quality of its engravings, includes a map of Cythera and ancient coins from the island. The plates in the work by J. Sandrart (1687) show castles and other location, in their majority under Ottoman rule. Several similar works which highlight the victories of the Venetians against the Ottomans in the Sixth Ottoman-Venetian War (1684-1699) were released during the same period. Likewise, the editions by J. Enderlin include copies of engravings found in earlier or nearly contemporary popular works (1686). The editions by J. Peeters in the late 17th century (1686 and 1690) also exalt the victories of the Holy League in the Ottoman-Venetian wars. The plates show cities, ports and other locations in Austria, Southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and places in Asia all the way to India and Saudi Arabia.
J. Seller was the creator of the first detailed mapping of the Mediterranean coast, titled “English Pilot...” . First published in the 17th century, it was repeatedly reissued and continued to be used down to the 19th century (here in the 1771 edition). Seller's works established the use of the English language in maritime charts and greatly influenced later cartographic editions. It includes maps of the local shores.
A unique and singular view of the Castle is found in the travel account by eccentric merchant Al. Drummond (1754). Half a century later, in 1800, French state functionary A. Grasset de Saint Sauveur, who lived in the Ionian islands for a long time and wrote the first systematic account of economic and social conditions in these islands, completed his three-volume work with an “Atlas”, which includes engravings of antiquities from Cythera, views, maps of anchorages and a table of ancient coins. The same year (1800) sees the publication of D. and Ν. Stephanopoli's voyage. Although this journey was motivated by political reasons (the Stephanopoli brought a letter from Bonaparte to Bey of Mani Tzannetos Grigorakis), the account of their trip includes a view of Cythera and antiquities, probably coming from an ancient sanctuary on the island. .J. abbé Barthélemy's travel narrative and fictional recreation of the ancient world, which paints an idyllic panorama of antiquity enriched with maps and drawings (1832), includes a map of Laconia showing Cythera.
Drawings by architect and painter A.L. Castellan (1808) who visited Cythera on his way to Istanbul are objective but also created with sensitivity. Castellan draws antiquities, views, plans and includes a map of part of the island. The companion Atlas to the work edited by J.B.G.M. Bory de St. Vincent (1823) includes an interesting view of the castle of Cythera. Griechenland (1825c) was one of several early 19th-century editions on customs, traditions, costumes and monuments of Greece. The illustrations consisted of plates already published in popular travel accounts of the previous decades. Thus, the “Venetian castle at the Chora of Cythera” is a copy of a plate found in J.B.G.M. Bory de Saint-Vincent.
After his journey in Greek lands, at the begining of the 19th century, O.M. von Stackelberg was able to render historical locations and antiquities in accordance with the emerging tendency of romanticism (1834).
Nineteenth-century editions include artistically rendered views of Cythera, influenced by the early stages of Impressionism. Such are the views in the highly successful work by Cr. Wordsworth (1882 reedition), the landscapes by Ed. Lear (1863) and the richly illustrated work by Α. von Schweiger Lerchenfeld (1887).
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou