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Northern Sporades

As all the other islands of the Aegean sea, Northen Sporades are mapped for the first time in the early 15th century, in “Liber Insularum Archipelagi”, an isolario which had a great impact on future cartography. Some examples are the isolario by B. dalli Sonetti (1485), in which maps are coupled with commentaries in sonnet form, and the one by B. Bordone (1547), a work with extensive references on the myths and history of the islands. 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.

Towards the late 16th century Northern Sporades appear in G. Rosaccio's pioneering and highly influential isolario (1598). Half a century later, a map of the same archipelago, with historical and geographical information is found in the edition by Μ. Boschini, a small handsome sample of Venetian engraving.  The isolario of Fr. Piacenza (1688) includes superbly engraved maps and a wealth of material on the Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Peloponnese.

In 1688, the publisher and engraver Ol. Dapper released a work of great importance for the high quality of its engravings. The map of Sporades archipelago is accompanied by a text based on Greek and Latin sources as well as on other contemporary descriptions and maps.

The works of Tournefort, Choiseul-Gouffier and Stuart and Revett, which constituted landmarks in travel literature also include maps of Northern Sporades and depictions of antiquities found on those islands.

More specifically, J. Pitton de Tournefort's work, invaluable for the itinerary it charts, includes a map of Skyros (1717). A view of the settlement of Skyros is also found in the monumental work by M.G.F.A. Choiseul- Gouffier (1782), which familiarized the European audience with the Ottoman Empire due to its vivid imagery. The third work is the edition by Dilettante Society members J. Stuart / N. Revett, which presents the first diligent measurement and delineation of ancient monuments. It includes plans of ancient ruins and depictions of ancient coins from Northern Sporades. 

The strategic anchorages in the ports of Skyros and Scopelos are mapped in the significant port index by J. Roux (1804).  Towards the end of the 19th century, travellers begin to come to Greece as tourists rather than pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land or as members of archaeological and diplomatic expeditions. The richly illustrated travel chronicle by Α. Von Schweiger Lerchenfeld (1887) includes views of landscapes, depictions of local dress and details of ancient monuments from the Northern Sporades.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou