3. Jakob Paul v. Gundling: the King's jester - a mapmaker

In 1724 in Berlin a two-sheet map of Brandenburg was published which presented Jakob Paul v. Gundling (1673-1731) as the author and Georg Paul Busch as the engraver, both living and working in the capital of the young Prussian monarchy. So we have good reasons to suppose that this map can be regarded to have been the first autochthonous map of Brandenburg.

Let us have a look on the author's life and his time. Gundling was born as the son of a priest near Nuremberg in Southern Germany and succeeded in getting an academic education at several famous universities where he showed exellent abilities and qualifications. Later on he was elected to accompany some young noblemen on their "cavalier's tour" through several European countries. Gundling used these years to complete his studies in history and law, to gain practical wisdom and to get acquainted with the manners of a man-of-the-world.

In 1701 Frederic III, Elector of Brandenburg, as Frederic I became king in Prussia, and he very rapidly created a lot of royal accessories, among them an academy to train young noblemen and a College of Heralds. Gundling was called to Berlin to serve within these institutions as a lawyer and a historian; here he got intimate knowledge of the state and its economy. Observing the financial decline of the Prussian state which resulted from the luxurious life of the king, the court, the nobility and several citizens, in 1712 Gundling wrote a learned memoire which explained how improve the Prussian eonomy. One year later Frederic I died and his successor, Frederic William I, cut sharply down the court's budget by closing all the expensive royal accessories immediately. Unlike to the vast majority of the court officials Gundling was kept at the court as a Privy Councillor and a "News Consultant" in order to serve the king as a learned man at his side who should interprete the news of the day in the sense that the king got quick, simple and practiable answers to possibly difficult questions. By the time the significance of Gundling at the court became an antagonistic one: on one hand the king very much esteemed Gundling's knowledge and discernment and gave him votes in all state councils, on the other hand in the famous tobacco-meetings the king and his companions abused Gundling - when he was drunk - for very practical jokes - having him treated like a jester.

That has been the background of the important scientific historical oeuvre and the maps of Gundling, among them the map of Brandenburg. If we take a look upon this map first of all we have to realize a certain contrast between the picturesque elements like the title arrangement and the legend and - contrary to this - a lot of rather rough cartographic features which are dominating the map design. The great Prussian - instead of the Brandenburgian - coat of arms which heads the title, accompanied by a landscape covered with rich agricultural products - fish, sheep, wood, grain, game - , a ship on a river and the monument of the Great Elector very clearly show the formal objective of the map: the king's glorification and the imagination Brandenburg to be or to become a wealthy country. Within the map first of all we find sumptuous signs of towns and fortresses and a spider's web of postal roads focusing on Berlin and with their straight courses neglecting the river topography. Together with large and often stiff toponyms these features do not characterize the work of a professional cartographer of that time, but they are benchmarks of the objective already mentioned above: the map should present the imagination of power and wealth of the mapped region based on the king's wisdom and glory. If one analyses the map in a comprehensive sense and takes away the curtain of glory and imagination one reveals nothing but the topographic skeleton of the Svart map.

Of course, the question arises whether this map has to be considered as an autochthonous one or not. From the last decades of the 17th century local and regional maps had been surveyed in Prussia and in Brandenburg in a first stage of modern cartography; the Gundling map, however, should not mirror in any way the Prussian possibilities or power of survey or state cartography. Gundling had materialized the king's "mental map" of Brandenburg only by using roads and rivers as arteries of traffic, settlements as proofs of active commerial life and fortresses as symbols of military power spread out all over the country. In spite of all suppositions - the Gundling map already was copied in 1724 by a Dutch publishing house and later on by almost all cartographic editors. It seems to be necessary to bridge the issues of autochthonous and heteronomous cartography by a stage of transition in which both aspects might be combined.

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