Central to this article are two maps by Floris Balthasarsz van Berckenrode, both on the siege of Grave (1602) by Maurice of Orange during the Dutch Revolt. The first map was in 1602 produced as a news map about the events, the second was a re-edition, published eight years later as a book illustration for Jan Jansz Orlers, Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans (Leiden 1610). In this article, principles for a new method are introduced to analyse and compare these ‘story maps’ with particular attention to the narrative impact of the map. Using this method in combi-nation with (book) historical research, it argues that the 1610 map should be considered as a ‘memorial map’ that reframes the collective memory of the Dutch Revolt. It emphasizes the dynamic relationship between news, map and book publishing and pleads for a more prominent position of story maps and book illustrations in Early Modern memory landscapes.
When first gazing upon Floris Balthasars’ etched map of the siege of Grave (1602), the viewer hardly knows where to look. The only known copy of this large folio bearing the title ‘Warhafftige Abcontrofeitung der machtigen und wunderbarlichen Belägerung der starcken Statt Grave (…) 1602’ is hand-coloured and has as its main attraction the map of Grave, which is furthermore accompanied by several printed texts, a legend, and an engraved scene from the battle in the left upper corner (fig. 1).1 The map is overcrowded with rearing horses, galloping cavalries, men waving flags, and troops tumbling over each other, manoeuvring around the lifeless remains of their fellow soldiers and horses. Guns are firing and canons are shooting. Activity is ubiquitous in this overwhelming print, which depicts several war scenes in the heat of the battle.
The map represents the story of the siege and capture of Grave by Stadholder Maurice of Orange-Nassau and the States’ Army, taking place from 18 July to 20 September 1602.2 Although Maurice ultimately reclaimed the Brabant city triumphantly from the Spanish, this military event was part of a series of sieges that were less successful for the Dutch than those of the previous ‘Ten Years’ of the Dutch Revolt between 1588 and 1598. The siege of Grave functioned as a distraction from the siege of Ostend that started in 1601 and was progressing catastrophically, costing the Dutch Republic lots of lives and capital. In the summer of 1602, the Stadholder travelled through the Southern Netherlands with Grave as his final destination, a fortified city in hands of the Spanish that was situated conveniently on the Meuse River. Together with commanders Francis Vere, Willem Lodewijk (his cousin) and Frederick Henry (his half-brother), Maurice besieged the town and captured several fortifications within a few days. The poorly occupied Grave counted on the help of Spanish relief forces, led by Francesco de Mendoza, that would arrive on 9 August. During several exhausting violent confrontations in the days that followed, the Spanish were running out of provisions and ammunitions. As a last resort, Mendoza’s troops tried to break into the States’ Army’s camps during the night, but Maurice was informed about this venture and prevented the attack. After this final foiled incursion, the Spanish forces retreated to Venlo, and Grave soon surrendered to become part of the Dutch Republic.
The Delft cartographer, printer, engraver, and publisher Floris Balthasarsz van Berckenrode (1562/63–1616) joined the Grave expedition under the semi- official commission of Maurice to design a map reporting on the events.3 Already before the siege was over, on 2 September 1602, Floris Balthasars showed his drawings to the States General in order to get a privilege.4 He presented the final result to the States General on 6 November 1602, who rewarded him 250 guilders for his efforts.5 But that was not the end of the story: several years later, Balthasars produced a new version of his Siege of Grave, now with a different destination: the map was intended as an illustration for a historical account on the victories of Maurice during the years 1588–1604, entitled Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans.6 This volume, lavishly illustrated with numerous maps and views, was not published by Balthasars himself in Delft, but in Leiden by Jan Jansz Orlers and printed by Henrick van Haestens in 1610 (fig. 2). The historical account – written by Orlers – was a success, as it was translated into French, German and English and would run into numerous reprints until 1651.7 It honoured, celebrated, and commemorated the triumphs of Maurice and the House of Orange-Nassau during the Dutch Revolt against Spain.
When taking a quick glance at the map of the siege of Grave as part of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans (fig. 3), one would think that it is, in fact, quite a faithful copy of the original map of 1602, except for its smaller size, and the removal of the accompanying texts, the engraved battle scene, and the cartouches on the map. The difference in technique of Balthasars’ map – etching – and the battle scene – engraved by Pieter Bast (1570–1605) – indicate that these were separately produced in the first place. Despite its smaller size, the composition and contents seem to be maintained in the new version. The meandering shape of the Meuse River along the centralised city plan of Grave and small details of the landscape, such as trees and roads, are copied.
When looking closely, however, one will notice that several (narrative) elements have changed quite dramatically. The upper part of the map image is gone, several figures are removed while others are enlarged, most of the explanatory letterings are eliminated and the legend is completely different. Why have these specific adaptations been made to this new version? Did these have any effect on the ‘reading’ of the map? To solve these problems, it is necessary to dig deeper into the complex and hybrid genre of the ‘story map’.
Story Maps: Layered or Fragmented?
In ‘story maps’ such as the Siege of Grave, spatial and narrative data are brought together mainly for the purpose of telling a story. The map and the narrative can be considered as ‘inextricably entangled’, as map historian Bram Vannieuwenhuyze characterised this type of map.8 But why did mapmakers, artists, publishers and/or commissioners aim at entangling cartographical and narrative data? What were the intended effects? Literature that discusses siege story maps seems to be less interested in these questions regarding the map’s impact. Most studies primarily focus on the technique, the contents, or the question to what extent the locations and actions are correctly mapped. This approach is quite unsatisfactory, since the maps have much more content to reveal and much more challenging aspects to analyse, which I will argue in the following.
For a long time, the perspective that military story maps consist of a juxtaposition or a fusion of a topographical layer and one or multiple narrative/actional layer(s) has dominated.9 This view, which I will call the ‘layered view’, should in my regard be reconsidered. The first reason for this, is that this view results in the assumption that one layer (the narrative) is superior to the other (topographical) layer. Art historian Christi Klinkert considered the cartographical elements of military news maps as a ‘bottom layer’ on which narratives on the defeats of Maurice of Orange-Nassau were added.10 Historian Kees Zandvliet downgraded the topographical nature of the maps made by Floris Balthasars and sons as a ‘scenery’ for the depiction of actions.11 An examination of the topographic accuracy can indeed offer valuable insights in the mapmaker’s choices and considerations, and should therefore never be neglected. A consequence of the disconnection of the map and the narrative, however, is that the topographical nature of the print is considered as an individual quality or element independent from the narrative intentions and elements of the map. I would like to propose that the topographical and narrative elements should always be studied in close connection, resting on the assumption that narrative data and geo-data were often composed together, as the following example will show.
Klinkert showed in her PhD research that in many cases printmakers were not so strict in putting the geographical and narrative objects at the right place and in correct proportion. The prints produced in (the studio of) Frans Hogenberg in Cologne play a central role in Klinkert’s research and are striking examples of the reciprocal relationship between action and location, which she ascribed to the printmakers’ preference for the narrative and dramatic nature at the expense of the historical-geographical ‘facts’. Take for example the case of the 1592 siege of Steenwijk, of which an etching was made by Hogenberg’s firm in the same year. Klinkert observed that the arrival and departure of the Spanish were clearly drawn from the right to the left, although these were not the actual locations of these actions. To exacerbate this ‘mistake’, in a following version of the print the town of Coevorden was drawn in the left upper corner, logically in the right direction of the departing troops, but geographically completely at the wrong place. The outcome and the clear, linear storyline were apparently aspects considered of more importance than the historical-geographical reality.12
Instead of further examining this striking aspect of ‘narrative impact’ that she hinted at, Klinkert coined a term to refer to the observation that the contents or composition of the print do not correspond with the historical-geographical truth: ‘pictural contamination’.13 Speaking of ‘contamination’, which has the negative connotation of infection or impurity, is in my opinion not completely appropriate. The tension between the cartographical value of ‘planimetric accuracy’ on the one hand, and the narrative quality on the other hand, is indeed an intriguing and important aspect of story maps, but it should not be captured in dichotomous terms of correctness and incorrectness.14 I would rather speak of creativity, inventiveness, or even manipulation of place and action that are key to story mapping practices. It also must be kept in mind that it varied from engraver to engraver how he (or she) managed this complexity. Klinkert mentions examples of story maps in which the makers apologised for juggling with the proportions. Jacques II de Gheyn confessed in the text on his print of the siege of Geertruidenberg that he had made the city relatively larger in order to better depict the trenches, reminding the reader that this was not because of his ignorance.15
Second reason to amend the layered view is that not all story maps show a clear timeline or route in which the actions and events are placed in. Narrative elements on the map often refer to a forestage, an outcome, or a subtle indication of an event that happened, instead of depicting the entire event. Take for instance the depiction of fortifications and entrenchments on Siege of Grave (fig. 4). They seem on the one hand static, lifeless parts of the landscape, but are on the other hand temporal and created by the besiegers as a crucial part of the events – are they part of the map or the narrative? Or note the text written vertically on the border: ‘Through this swamp the horsemen marched with the wagons when we entered the city.’ (fig. 5).16 A small strip of the swamp along which the cavalries and wagons of the States’ Army marched is depicted to illustrate this narrative fragment. Not the event itself is shown here, only a text, indicating the location where this event had happened.17 Such suggestive references in word and/or image appeal to the foreknowledge of the reader and complicate the reading of the map. Story maps can therefore be considered as highly ‘transtextual’ (or in this case: ‘transcartographical’) documents. Transtextuality is a term defined by Gérard Genette as everything that brings the text into relation (manifest or hidden) with other texts, including transtextual relationships such as paratextuality (relation with elements surrounding the text), hypertextuality (relation with the preceding text) and intertextuality (references to other texts).18
There are more reasons to reconsider thinking in terms of layers, and it is not the first time this view is criticised. An alternative view has been proposed by Vannieuwenhuyze, who argued that the ‘primacy of one of the layers’ should be rejected and the layers should instead be considered as ‘inextricably entangled’. He rightly added that ‘both parts or layers of story maps have been conceived and designed together and hence resulted from a blending of iconographic, cartographic, literary, and ornamental methods, practices and traditions’.19 He nevertheless still speaks of an interweaving of layers.20 The introduction of the volume he co-edited, Motion in Maps, Maps in Motion, however, states: ‘In many other cases, narratives and motion are much more difficult to discern and interpret, either because the mapped storylines are extremely interlaced, or because they are scarce, scattered, or fragmented.’21 In agreement with this last remark, I would like to add a new view to the toolbox of studying story maps: the ‘holistic view’. This approach was already proposed in the recent article of map- and book historians Jordana Dym and Carla Lois, who looked for new ways of studying maps that are an integral part of (‘less geographic’) books.22 Their approach is also applicable to story maps. It argues that all elements and details of the map and the context of the map are considered to be involved, including highly cartographic details on the map itself (scale, place-names, etc.) as well as elements outside the map (paratext). Whether the elements of the story are fragmentarily scattered over the map, or the narrative comprises a clear-cut timeline of events, they are all included to tell a story. It will help to engage with story maps more inclusively by also looking at the implicit, obscure, and ambiguous elements in and surrounding the map.
New approaches require new methods. To develop a new methodology for this material, the original map of the siege of Grave in combination with the later, adapted map will here be taken as cases to both create and test a new method. The main principle of the method is to shift the focus on technique and planimetric accuracy to a focus on the narrative impact of story maps. What effect did the changes made to the later version of Siege of Grave possibly have on the impact of the map? How can the production of the 1610 version be explained by its new purpose as a book illustration, and within the context of the publication of the book?
I will first explain the new method, discuss why it is needed and on what principles it is based. We will see how the ‘narrativity’ of a map can be assessed, with the use of the new concepts of ‘narrative density’ and ‘narrative intensity’ by taking Siege of Grave (1602) as a case-study. In the second part, we turn to the 1610 edition of the map. After reconstructing the context of the publication of the book historically, the 1602 edition is compared to its 1610 edition with the use of the new narrative-cartographical method. I will show that particularly the ‘narrative intensity’ has changed in the 1610 map. The result is a ‘reframing’ of the story of the siege of Grave with consequences to the impact, which I will explain by the different origins, objectives, and contexts of the two maps: where the 1602 map was initially news material, the 1610 map was inherently part of a historical book celebrating Maurice of Orange. The latter thereby rather served a commemorative, propagandistic function.
Siege of Grave is emphatically considered here as a ‘bound image’, a term introduced by Dym and Lois.23 They plead for considering maps as constitutive and hybrid parts of their (original) material context, in particular the printed (modern) book, as Western map historians primarily value maps as ‘sovereign’ and standalone objects. Book historians and librarians, on their part, hardly recognise the significant role of cartographical material within the book. Instead, Dym and Lois consider the social impact or importance of maps, since ‘knowing how a map was originally intended to contribute to a larger work may lead to a re-evaluation of what their authors tried to communicate and what their readers were able to get from them’.24 In the Netherlands, Irene Schrier’s dissertation on the oeuvre and business of Nicolaes de Clerck is a recent example of historical research that offers an integrated consideration of maps, images and books, although she mainly focused on the production.25
Inspired by this contextualised approach, this article analyses Siege of Grave in connection with the contents and origins of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans. It shows the dynamic relationship between map, news, and book publishing, and how details of story maps and their material contexts contribute to Early Modern history of cartography as well as book history. It also demonstrates how story maps not only passively represent narratives of past times but are able to distort and shape stories and memories actively, in line with recent research into Early Modern history of memory, conducted by scholars as Judith Pollmann and Marianne Eekhout.26 With this article, I hope that in the future, story maps and book illustrations will be considered as part of Dutch Early Modern media and memory landscapes.
Although ‘story and motion mapping’ and the temporal qualities of mapping are already gaining ground in academic disciplines, this article is the first in its kind to introduce a usable narrative-cartographical method consisting of various tools to analyse the interplays between maps and storytelling in-depth, drawing from cartographical, art-historical, and literary concepts.27 The method, however, is a work in progress. It is introduced here as an invitation to map-, book-, and art historians to reflect and react on it, as it is my ambition to further elaborate on the methodology of narrative cartography in the future.
Towards a New Narrative-Cartographical Method
What does the ‘map narrative’ involve?28 Central to the new narrative- cartographical method is the assessment of two ‘degrees of narrativity’: the ‘narrative density’ and the ‘narrative intensity’ (Table 1).29 The ‘degree of narrativity’ is not an entirely new term, it has already been introduced in the field of narratology, a widely studied field that emerged in the 1960s from literary theory and criticism. From that moment on, the field was adapted by other disciplines as well.30 The Swiss literary critic Marie-Laure Ryan has written on the degree of narrativity in modern literature and has distinguished two ways in which this concept should be understood: ‘one pertaining to story (or the “what” of a narrative) and the other to discourse (or the “way” such narrative content is presented)’. The ‘narrative density’ is a quantitative degree and refers to the narrative content: the presence or suggestion of narrative data (which is not layered but rather diffusely spread over the map). The ‘narrative intensity’ is a qualitative degree and refers to the imposed reading of the narrative content, the persuasiveness, and the impact.31 The ‘paramap’ plays an important role in this degree: all elements that surround the ‘actual’ map and have a certain effect on the reading of the map, such as cartouches, dedications, decorations, scales, compass roses, etc. The term was introduced by Denis Wood and John Fels in their book on modern maps of natural landscape. They derived the term from Gérard Genette’s literary theory on the ‘paratext’ of the book.32
When assessing the narrative density and intensity, one must keep in mind that these are artificial concepts, only serving as tools for dissecting and interpreting the contents of the map. I have found four features that are part of the ‘narrative density’ of Siege of Grave (1602): the suggestion of movement; the presence of actors and actions; the suggestion of temporality and causality; and the narrative-cartographical composition. First, movement is everywhere and criss-cross present over the entire map, mainly suggested by the various directions the figures seem to be moving in, but also represented by numerous beacon fires and explosions of canons. The second feature, the presence of actors and actions, is closely related to this aspect because the movements made by figures either act as a scene from the story or merely function as background elements, such as the numerous foot-passengers and horse-carriages that do not seem to play a role in the conflict of the siege and are just continuing their travels in peace (fig. 6). The third aspect concerns time, cause, and effect: when did what event happen and why? Story maps that clearly depict a chronological ‘route’ in which one narrative fragment follows the other are rare. The viewer often must have specific foreknowledge or consult (accompanying) sources to interpret the obscure logical order of the narrative.33 In Siege of Grave, Balthasars subtly hints at the end of the story by depicting the departure of the enemy, but this still remains quite implicit (fig. 7). Fourth, how is the narrative in the overall map image composed in relation to the geo-data? It seems that the narrative elements such as the States’ Army’s quarters have defined Balthasars’ composition of the map image. The Spanish army’s quarter, however, is depicted partially in the right upper corner, a cut-off that is probably not a coincidence. It rather should be considered as a compositional invention or ‘trick’ to stress the territorial dominance of Maurice and his troops (fig. 8).34 The technique used by Balthasars to compose his narrative within the map is called ‘chorography’: the cartographical technique of depicting horizontal, often landscape related elements such as roads and rivers perpendicularly from above (orthogonal, rectangular projection), while depicting vertical elements such as trees, buildings and people from the side (parallel projection). In this way, a large area can be displayed while depicting landmarks and other important elements clearly at the same time. This technique was not only used for story maps but also for other types of maps in the Early Modern period, such as topographical maps. A well-known example of the technique is the town atlas by Joan Blaeu of 1649.35 Regarding the planimetric accuracy of the locations of the geo-data of the map, it seems that Siege of Grave indeed shows some typical distortions in cartographical accuracy, which are also the consequence of the use of the chorographical technique, for which the mapmakers did not restrict their selves to the right scale and proportions (fig. 9).36
A Wall Map Containing All the Victories
Before turning to the comparison of Floris Balthasars’ 1602 map with its re-edition in Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans (1610), we will have a closer look at the origins and background of the book, because this context is crucial for understanding the production of the later version of the map. What were the aims and intended audiences of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans? How was it compiled? The book’s background story already begins in 1600, when the famous ‘Ten Years’ of Maurice of Orange between 1588 and 1598 had just passed. On 28 December 1600, merchant Pieter van der Dycke, publisher Nicolaes de Clerck and printer Henrick van Haestens applied for a twelve-year privilege to print and sell a map containing all the victories, sieges of cities, ditches, and castles, together with a genealogy of the House of Nassau.37 On 5 March 1601, the three companions presented to the States General the result, for which they were paid 250 guilders.38
Previously, it was thought that this series of prints was published as a portfolio or album in combination with the family tree of the House of Orange-Nassau.39 However, book historian Irene Schrier has shed new light on this assumption. In various archives, she discovered that this publication appeared in the form of an enormous, assembled wall map, approximately two by two metres large. She made a reconstruction of what the map might have looked like.40 The genealogical tree formed the centre; the maps and a portrait were attached around it. On this huge document, Maurice’s family roots, appearance, and achievements were brought together as a whole.
Schrier also provided new insights into the function, consumption, and distribution of this publication. Various city councils such as those of Utrecht, Delft, Haarlem, and Leiden bought the map for 25 to 40 guilders. The publishers added a letter to the Leiden copy in which they revealed their motivations: they produced the wall map to enhance the reputation of Maurice and the States General and to dispel negative sentiments, misconceptions, and inaccuracies about the House of Nassau. The map, they argued, represented the ‘real truth’. In some of the cities, the wall map was prominently on display, such as in the Leiden town hall or in the Prinsenhof in Haarlem.41 The map also had a diplomatic function. Seven important diplomatic and administrative figures in France, including King Henry IV, the Duke of Bouillon, and the Duke of Villeroy, received copies. The latter received copies of Floris Balthasars’ Battle of Nieuwpoort (1600) at the same time as well. Such gifts were meant to strengthen the ties with other European forces and to win their admiration.42
There is some evidence that the production of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans followed from this propagandistic and diplomatic project, serving as a display of power. Hugo de Groot wrote poems for a few maps from the series, which he sent to his friend the French historian Jacques Auguste de Thou (1553–1617). In his letter, dated 31 July 1601, he mentions a book based on the wall map that is in planning to be compiled.43 He promised to send his friend a copy as soon it was finished. And it seems that he kept his promise: a French translation of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans is found in De Thou’s library catalogue.44
Although the publication was eventually accomplished by Van Haestens and Orlers, in the beginning, Floris Balthasars was the compiler of this book, which is confirmed by the proof edition that he produced in 1608 with a title in French: ‘Sièges et batailles aux Pays-Bas 1588–1604’.45 The KB National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague possesses the only existing copy in oblong, with a handwritten dedication to Filips Willem of Orange (1554–1618), Maurice’s half-brother, signed by Floris Balthasars.46 The book contains most of the maps that would eventually appear in Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans. Balthasars himself wrote the captions of these prints by hand, including his map of the siege of Grave which he added to this series of maps of the defeats of Maurice (fig. 10). Although the legend is missing, the map contains the numbers of the legend. Arthur Eijffinger already suggested that the map should be attributed to Balthasars instead of Bartholomeus Dolendo, to which it was previously attributed.47 Given the information about the origins of the map and the book, however, it can be attributed to Balthasars with much more certainty.
Comparing the News Map Siege of Grave (1602) to the Book Illustration Siege of Grave (1610)
When comparing the original 1602 map of the siege of Grave by Balthasars to the 1610 edition published as a book illustration for Den Nassauschen Lauren- Crans, the differences regarding the ‘narrative intensity’ are more noticeable than the differences regarding the narrative contents or the ‘narrative density’. As mentioned, the narrative intensity is closely related to the paramap: elements of the map that help the reader to ‘read’ and to interpret its narrative contents. Features of the narrative intensity include, at least in the case of Siege of Grave: the identification and explanation of actors and actions; the temporal and logical-causal coherence; the hierarchy of certain fragments; and the metanarrative.
Identification and Explanation of Actors and Actions
In the original Siege of Grave (1602) by Floris Balthasars, most of the actors and actions are directly elucidated by (Dutch or French) letterings on the map itself without having to use the legend for this purpose. Examples are the attack on the quarter led by English commander Francis Vere (fig. 11), the tools and instruments left behind (such as ladders, spades, and axes) after the failed break-in into Maurice’s army camps, and the departure of the Spanish. Many actors are identified as well, such as Maurice who is depicted at least three times (fig. 12), Frederick Henry, and several guards of the quarters that are spread out over the area.
It is striking that these explanations concerning the narrative are removed in the 1610 edition. Most of the place names (such as the small villages ‘Vellep’ and ‘Esteren’) are, however, maintained. Instead of writing narrative explanations directly onto the map, Balthasars chose in his later edition to either remove them completely or to move them to the legend (fig. 13). The following ‘key’ moments are explained in the legend: the assault on and capture of the ‘halve maen’ (no. 11), the Spanish leaving their ladders and spades behind after their nocturnal break-in into the States’ Army’s camps (no. 19), and the Spanish departure (no. 20). Several actions, such as the big confrontation at the English quarter, remain obscure (fig. 14). Balthasars apparently revised his selection of important events.
Temporal and Logical-Causal Coherence
The narrative becomes temporally and logical-causally coherent when separate narrative contents such as actors, actions and places are interconnected. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Siege of Grave (1602) juxtaposes narrative fragments without creating any coherence. The reader must consult the accompanying texts or other sources to place the fragments in a logical-causal or temporal order. This has been amended in the 1610 edition. By removing some unidentified fragments and by moving a selection of narrative fragments to the legend, Balthasars implied a more or less chronological order to the map. The beginning of the story remains unclear, but the end of the story is particularly emphasized. The final numbers of the legend are numbers 19 and 20, of which 19 refers to the failed attempt of the Spanish and 20 refers to the departure of the Spanish, which is in historical accounts described as the last straw leading to the surrender of Grave (fig. 15).48
What narrative elements are emphasized, which ones are neglected? In his map of 1602, Balthasars scattered the narrative information diffusely over the map image, without much indication of a certain hierarchical order. The only accents are the presence of Maurice, who is depicted at three different spots, and the flight of the enemy that is confirmed by multiple letterings (‘lennemi’, ‘lenemi fuit’, ‘den vyant vlucht’) (fig. 7). In Balthasars’ 1610 map, the hierarchical order is much more obvious: the departing troops and left tools (see above) are enlarged in comparison to other figures on the map (fig. 3) and the same narrative elements are highlighted in the legend (fig. 13). Maurice and his fellow officers dominate the legend (legend, no. 1–9, 11–16), which culminates in the final departure of the enemy (no. 20) after their failed attack (no. 19). These two latter fragments function as a climax to the story, while most other fragments of the story remain obscure since they are not explained by neither the letterings nor the legend.
A story map never stands on itself and will always evoke other narratives. We can speak of a ‘metanarrative’ when this is a larger narrative the map narrative is part of, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as ‘an overarching account or interpretation of events and circumstances’. The 1602 map of the siege of Grave would have probably evoked certain narratives which we today, unfortunately, are not able to call back. The map itself only gives a short account of the city of Grave’s history in the first sentences of the accompanying German text. The contents of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans, however, prominently functioned as a metanarrative of its illustrations: the 1610 map is part of a series of descriptions and images of military battles and sieges from the Dutch Revolt. By reading the map as a ‘bound image’, as an integral part of the narrative of the book, a different engagement is imposed.49
Both the map and the story of the siege of Grave are integrated into the book’s narrative: the event is not only part of a series of maps and texts, but also framed as a positive result of the losses of the siege of Ostend that took place at the same time in the Southern Netherlands. With the siege of Grave, Maurice intended to pull the Spanish away from Ostend as a distraction tactic. Eventually, this did not turn out to be the solution for the catastrophic losses in Flanders.50 It is perhaps because of this loss that within the book Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans the siege of Ostend, which is also illustrated by a story map, is framed as an event of marginal importance. Victorious events, such as the siege of Grave and the captures of the towns of Sluis, Aardenburg, and Rheinberg, are framed as the most significant ones. Orlers even states that the siege of Ostend brought the Republic many victories and that the towns of Grave, Sluis, and Rheinberg were of more value than Ostend had ever been.51
The map and the description of the siege of Grave within the course of Orlers’ historical account functioned as an attempt to rhetorically overshadow the negative memories of the last part of the Dutch Revolt preceding the Twelve Years’ Truce (1609–1621), especially the years between 1601 and 1604. This was also in the favour of the, soon to be, prince of Orange himself, as he dearly wished to continue the war during the Truce. This ‘reframing’ of memory matches the aims of the wall map from 1601 perfectly, which was created to suppress negative sentiments about Maurice and the States General and to enhance the reputation of the Dutch Republic and the House of Orange-Nassau. In 1602, the siege of Grave was a highly topical news item. By 1610, the memories of the events were perhaps less vivid, which was a fruitful ground for alternative narratives.
Reframing negative memories is one of the memory practices sketched by Judith Pollmann in her book Memory in Early Modern Europe, illustrated by several stories on individuals that suffered from the Eighty Years’ War. Based on these accounts, Pollmann observes that the memory was sometimes given ‘a spin’ to make it less painful, or it was presented ‘in a form that has more positive connotations’.52 This practice could in my opinion also be recognised in the story mapping practice of Siege of Grave (1610) by Floris Balthasars. Instead of representing personal memories, however, it tends to shape collective memory. Helmer Helmers already coined the term ‘memorial map’ in his article on the story maps of Nicolaes van Geelkercken that fits this specific commemorative quality of the map well. This quality of cartography, however, has not been further elaborated upon, until now.53
By drawing his map of the siege of Grave in the summer and autumn of 1602, Floris Balthasars not only put the story on the map but also brought the story to life: movement and actions are omnipresent, Maurice dominates the territory, and all parts of the map image are covered with soldiers from the States’ Army while the Spanish army and quarters are overruled and marginalised. By distinguishing between the concepts of ‘narrative density’ and ‘narrative intensity’, it has become clear that the contents of the map (narrative density) remained more or less the same in the 1610 edition, while the narrative intensity turns out to have significantly changed. Balthasars used several techniques, such as the legend, the letterings, and the composition of the map again, but in a different manner than in 1602. And he did not only bring this new version of the story to life to his direct contemporaries. Until at least 1651, the story and the map lived on as part of the multiple re-editions and translations of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans.
Reading and studying story maps from a ‘holistic view’ has shown that seemingly insignificant differences between the two maps do not necessarily impose different narrative contents, but rather a different intensity or impact of the narrative (see Table 2). First, Balthasars reduced his selection of narrative elements by transferring some of them to the legend and by removing others. Second, he added a clear end to the story and created some logical-causal coherence by arranging certain fragments in the legend. By doing so, he reinvented a story with a ‘head and tail’. Third, he stressed certain fragments hierarchically, making them of more importance than others. And fourth, as part of Den Nassauschen Lauren-Crans, the 1610 map functioned as part of the metanarrative of the book in which the siege of Grave played a crucial role to disguise the losses at Ostend. In conclusion, Balthasars’ Siege of Grave changed into a much more comprehensible, defined, and meaningful story map. It emphasizes the final departure of the enemy and the dominance of the States’ Army over the territory and places the story in the larger narrative of Maurice’s victories and the Dutch Revolt.
Where Floris Balthasars framed the story of the siege of Grave for the first time in 1602, he reframed the story in 1610. His adaptations were probably not merely trivial or pragmatical. As it became clear by discussing the book’s origins, the 1610 map was evidently published with a different purpose and within a different context than the one published in 1602. As part of a propagandistic book celebrating and commemorating the defeats of Maurice (which at the same time functioned as a celebration and nostalgic commemoration of warfare in general) and suppressing negative or even traumatic memories of his warfare, the map must perfectly have suited this context. The map was not merely an illustration. It told a certain version of the past and influenced the memory of the seventeenth-century reader, whether this was a middle-class Dutch citizen or a German wealthy merchant. In this sense, by republishing Siege of Grave as a book illustration, it was transformed from a ‘news map’ into a ‘memorial map’ with a highly propagandistic character.
This article has shown how cartographical techniques are applied for storytelling in the Early Modern period, and how Dutch seventeenth-century story maps are – either published separately or as part of a book – able to tell, shape and disseminate stories and memories. Story maps should not be viewed as static, passive representations of an event, in which spatial and cartographical elements merely function as a background or scenery of the depicted actions. They are not just representations of historical-geographical facts. The map invites the readers to interactively engage with collective history.
This article is a revised version of parts of my master’s thesis, De kaart en ‘het gheschiet’: Floris Balthasars Beleg van Grave (1602) van nieuwskaart tot boekillustratie, University of Amsterdam, July 2020, supervised by Bram Vannieuwenhuyze, who I particularly thank for his ongoing stimulation, support, and critical questions. Also, I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers of the Boekhistorisch Forum IV 2020 (Pierre Delsaerdt, Violet Soen, Nina Lamal and Heleen Wyffels), Paul Dijstelberge, Menno Rol, Trude Dijkstra and the editors and anonymous reviewers of Quaerendo for their suggestions and questions.
P. Hendrikx, Geschied- en aardrijkskundige beschrijving der stad Grave (Grave 1846), pp. 224–41.
The semi-official employment of Floris Balthasars by Maurice has been described by Kees Zandvliet: K. Zandvliet, Prins Maurits’ kaart van Rijnland en omliggend gebied (Alphen aan den Rijn 1989), p. 27.
J.T. Bodel Nijenhuis, ‘Over de Nederlandsche landmeters en kaartgraveurs, Floris Balthasar en zijne drie zonen, onbekend aan de levensbeschrijvers’, in: Het Instituut (1845), p. 12, n. 2; N. Japikse & H.H.P. Rijperman (eds.), Resolutiën der Staten-Generaal van 1576 tot 1609, pt. 12: 1602–1603 (The Hague 1950), pp. 322–3.
Japikse & Rijperman, op. cit. (n. 4), p. 324.
Full title of the work: Beschrijvinghe ende af-beeldinge van alle de victorien so te water als te lande, die Godt Almachtich de Eedele Hooch-mogende Heeren Staten der Vereenichde Nederlanden verleent heeft, deur het wijs ende clouck beleyt des Hooch-ghebooren Fursts Maurits van Nassau, uyt gegeven tot een eewige memorie. The map of the siege of Grave in this book was previously wrongly attributed to Bartholomeus Willemsz Dolendo (circa 1571–1626), based on F.W.H. Hollstein, Hollstein’s Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, ca. 1450–1700 (Amsterdam 1951), vol. 5, pp. 47–89. The attribution to Floris Balthasars by Arthur Eijffinger, however, is more convincing since Floris Balthasars compiled the proof of the book in 1608 that contains most of the illustrations, including the siege of Grave. Also, the style of Siege of Grave rather corresponds to Balthasars’ than to Dolendo’s: A. Eijffinger, ‘Prent en puntdicht (Grotius’ Maurits-epigrammen)’, Oud Holland, 92 (1978), p. 178.
First Dutch edition: Beschrijvinghe ende af-beeldinge van alle de victorien so te water als te lande, […] (Leiden 1610); first German edition: Warhafftige Beschreibung vnd Eigentliche Abbildung aller Züge vnd Victorien, […] (Leiden 1612); first French edition: Description et représentation de toutes les victoires, […] (Leiden 1612); second French edition: La genealogie des illustres comtes de Nassav: […] (Leiden 1615); second German edition: Wahrhafte Beschreibung, vnd eigentliche Abbildung aller Züge vnd Victorien, […] (Leiden 1617); second Dutch edition: Warachtige beschrijvinghe van alle de belegeringhen ende victorien te water, […] (Leiden 1619); third French edition: La généalogie et lauriers de très noble et ancienne famille des comtes de Nassau, […] (Leiden 1620); third German edition: Warhafftige Beschreibung und eygentliche Abbildung aller Züge und Victorien, […] (Amsterdam 1624); fourth French edition: La généalogie des illustres Comtes de Nassau: nouvellement imprimée, […] (Amsterdam 1624); third Dutch edition: Wilhelm en Maurits van Nassau, princen van Orangien, haer leven en bedrijf, […] (Amsterdam 1651).
B.J. Vannieuwenhuyze, ‘Entangled Maps: Topography and Narratives in Early Modern Story Maps’, in: Z. Segal & B.J. Vannieuwenhuyze (eds.), Motion in Maps, Maps in Motion: Mapping Stories and Movement Through Time (Amsterdam 2020), pp. 57–80; B.J. Vannieuwenhuyze, ‘Reading History Maps: The Siege of Ypres in 1383 Mapped by Guillaume du Tielt’, Quaerendo, 45 (2015), pp. 292–321.
C. Koeman, Krijgsgeschiedkundige kaarten (Leiden 1973), p. 221; C.M. Klinkert, Nassau in het nieuws. Nieuwsprenten van Maurits van Nassaus militaire ondernemingen uit de periode 1590–1600 (Zutphen 2005), pp. 50–1; Zandvliet, op. cit. (n. 3), pp. 45–6; J. Black, Maps of War. Mapping Conflict through the Centuries (London 2016), p. 38.
Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 9), p. 46.
Zandvliet, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 45.
C. M. Klinkert, ‘Knokpartijen, krant en kunst. Oorlogsverslaggeving in nieuwsprenten en pamfletten rond 1600,’ in: J. de Kruif & M.M. Drees (eds.), Het lange leven van het pamflet: boekhistorische, iconografische, literaire en politieke aspecten van pamfletten 1600–1900 (Hilversum 2006), pp. 208–9, p. 215.
Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 9), p. 61.
Planimetric accuracy is defined as ‘the depiction of the ground plan of an object in its precise shape and dimensions, and in its correct location’: E.S. Bos, Kartografisch woordenboek (Zwolle 1991).
‘(…) niet door onverstant maer om te beter daprochien uyttebeelden is de stadt 1/3 grooter ghemaeckt dan de maet verdraghen mach’: Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 12), pp. 213–14.
‘Daar [sic, door] dit moras, marcheerde de ruyters en de wagens al; wy near de stadt quamen.’
Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 9), pp. 50–1; Zandvliet, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 45.
G. Genette, The Architext: An Introduction (Berkeley 1992), pp. 81–2.
Vannieuwenhuyze (2020), op. cit. (n. 8), p. 59.
K. Dillen & B.J. Vannieuwenhuyze, ‘Bedrieglijke eenvoud. Flandria Borealis tussen kaart en historie, tussen afbeelding en uitbeelding’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 130.4 (2017), p. 527; Vannieuwenhuyze (2015), op. cit. (n. 8), pp. 295–6.
Segal & Vannieuwenhuyze (eds.), op. cit. (n. 8), p. 24.
Dym & C. Lois, ‘Bound Images: Maps, Books, and Reading in Material and Digital Contexts’, Word & Image (London. 1985), 37.2 (2021), pp. 119–41.
Dym & Lois, art. cit. (n. 22), p. 120.
Dym & Lois, art. cit. (n. 22), p. 136.
I. Schrier, Nicolaes de Clerck, boeckvercooper ende constdrucker: boek en prent bij de Delftse uitgever Nicolaes de Clerck (ca. 1599–1623) (PhD dissertation University of Amsterdam 2019).
M.F.D. Eekhout, Material Memories of the Dutch Revolt: The Urban Memory Landscape in the Low Countries, 1566–1700 (PhD dissertation Leiden University 2014); J.S. Pollmann, Memory in Early Modern Europe 1500–1800 (Oxford 2017); E. Kuijpers et al. (eds.), Memory before Modernity: Practices of Memory in Early Modern Europe (Leiden 2013).
On the temporal qualities of maps, see: K. Wigen & C. Winterer, Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era (Chicago 2020).
The method introduced in the following is mainly based on the design of the map, without including much contextual information on the production or biographical information about the mapmaker, because this information is in most cases not necessarily available.
M. Ryan, ‘Toward a Definition of Narrative’, in: D. Herman (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (Cambridge 2007), p. 34, n. 25. See also G. Prince, The Form and Functioning of Narrative (Berlin 1982), pp. 145–61.
Narrative theory and narratology have been applied by various academic disciplines, such as anthropology, art and film theory, (socio)linguistics, and semiotics. The most prominent academic writer on narratology in the Netherlands is culture and literature theorist Mieke Bal. See: D. Herman et al. (eds.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory (London 2005).
On ‘persuasive maps’, see J.A. Tyner, ‘Persuasive Cartography,’ in: Journal of Geography, 81.4 (1982), pp. 140–4; P.J. Mode, ‘“Not Maps At All”: What Is Persuasive Cartography? And Why Does It Matter?’, The Portolan, 100 (2017), pp. 8–26.
D. Wood & J. Fels, The Natures of Maps: Cartographic Constructions of the Natural World (Chicago 2008), pp. 8–12; G. Genette, Paratexts: Tresholds of Interpretation (Cambridge 1997).
Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 9), p. 249.
Zandvliet, op. cit. (n. 3), pp. 45–6.
Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 9), p. 248–9. See also: P.D.A. Harvey, The History of Topographical Maps. Symbols, Pictures and Surveys (London 2008). J. Blaeu, Novum ac magnum theatrum urbium Belgicæ foederatæ (Amsterdam 1649).
Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 9), pp. 41–7, p. 50.
‘28 December P. P. Is Pieter van den Dycke met zyne consorten geaccordeert octroy, om voir den tijt van twelff naestcommende jaren alleen in de Vereenichde Provinciën te moegen don drucken ende vercoopen seker caerte, by hem geconcipieert en in cooper gesneden ende uuytgedruct, inhoudende alle de victorin, belegeringen van steden, sloten ende casteelen, beloopinge van de schantssen ende besundere van den veltslach van Turnhout, de eroveringe van de groote schantsse ende den slach by Nyeuport, mitsgaders de genealogie van den huyse van Nassau’: N. Japikse (ed.), Resolutiën der Staten-Generaal van 1576 tot 1609, deel 11: 1600–1601 (The Hague 1941), p. 357.
Japikse, op. cit. (n. 32), p. 707.
Schrier, op cit. (n. 24), p. 265, n. 18. See also Eijffinger, art. cit. (n. 5), p. 199; K. Zandvliet, Maurits, Prins van Oranje (Amsterdam 2000), p. 168; Klinkert, op. cit. (n. 9), pp. 79–80.
Schrier, op. cit. (n. 24), p. 264.
Schrier, op. cit. (n. 24), pp. 286–7.
Schrier, op. cit. (n. 24), pp. 291–2.
Translation by Arthur Eijffinger. Eijffinger, art. cit. (n. 6), p. 165.
Catalogus bibliothecae Thuanae (Paris 1679), p. 418; Schrier, op. cit. (n. 24), p. 297, n. 105.
Zandvliet, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 26.
The Hague, National Library of the Netherlands, 78 D 19.
See n. 6.
E. van Meteren, Commentarien ofte Memorien van-den Nederlandtschen staet, handel, oorloghen ende gheschiedenissen van onsen tyden, […] (Schotland, buyten Danswijck [Amsterdam] ), pt. 24, p. 65; the text on verso side of the map of the siege of Grave in J. Blaeu, Toonneel der steden van ’s konings Nederlanden, met hare beschrijvingen (Amsterdam ); A. Montanus, ‘T leven en bedryf der prinsen van Oranje, Wilhelm de eerste, Maurits, Frederik Henrik, Wilhem de tweede, Wilhem de derde […] (Amsterdam 1664), pp. 276–7; J. le Clerc, Geschiedenissen der Vereenigde Nederlanden, sedert den aanvang van die republiek tot op den vrede van Utrecht in “t jaar 1713 en het Tractaat van Barriere in”t jaar 1715 gesloten (Amsterdam 1730), vol. 3, pt. 7, pp. 313–14; Hendrikx, op. cit. (n. 4), p. 229.
Dym & Lois, art. cit. (n. 22), p. 128.
P. Lombaerde, ‘Oostende afgesneden, belegerd, opgegeven en ingenomen: 1599–1604’, in: D. de Vries et al. (eds.), Oostende verloren, Sluis gewonnen, 1604 (Leiden 2004).
Orlers states that the reader of the book will find and know that the sieges of Grave, Rheinberg and Sluis brought the Republic not one but multiple victories and that the sieges are therefore more valuable than Ostend ever had been. ‘De lezer zal bevinden, ende bekennen, dat dese belegheringhe, den standt onser Landen geen eene maer vele victorien te weghe gebracht heeft […] soo in ’t mannelick defenderen der selver Stadt, daer mede sy den vyandt grooten afbreuck in sijn crijchs-volck gedaen hebben, als men hier nae volcomentlick lesen sal, als dat sy geduyrende dees belegeringhe, vanden Erts-hertoghen ghewonnen hebben, de steden van Rhijnberck, de Grave, ende Sluys, waer van yeder so veel waerdich ende dese landen dienstich is, als de stadt Oostende, oyt geweest is oft heeft mogen wesen.’ J.J. Orlers, Beschrijvinghe ende af-beeldinge van alle de victorien so te water als te lande, […] (Leiden 1610), pp. 170–1.
On reframing collective memories on the Eighty Years’ War, see Pollmann, op. cit. (n. 25), p. 166.
H. Helmers, ‘Cartography, War Correspondence and News Publishing: The Early Career of Nicolaes van Geelkercken, 1610–1630’, in: J. Raymond et al. (eds.), News Networks in Early Modern Europe (Leiden 2016), pp. 350–74, p. 362.