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Kyiv on the left bank of the Dnieper River on the maps of 16th century

Tetiana Gedz

In the the first half of the 16th century several maps where Kyiv is shown on the right and left banks of the Dnieper River appeared: the map of Sarmatia by Bernard Wapowski (A); maps of Europe by Gerardus Mercator since 1554 (B); the map of Moscovia by Anthony Wied, 1535–1542; the map of Moscovia from the Cosmography by Sebastian Munster, 1550 (D) (see Fig. 1).

Fig 1. Kyiv on the right and left…

Fig 1. Kyiv on the right and left banks of the Dnieper River on the maps of 16th century

On the all maps of Europe created by Mercator after 1552 the Left-bank mark of Kyiv originates from the map of Sarmatia by Wapowski [8]. During the process of copying the Right-bank name from the map – Kioua – was repeated near the Left-bank mark. The letter K in the process of copying was transferred into the letter R. In that way on the left bank of the Dnieper on the half way between Kyiv and Cherkasy the settlement Rioua was appeared.

It is known that the map of Moscovia from the Cosmography by S. Munster, 1550, was based on the information by Ivan Liatski, a moscovian warlord who emigrated to Lithuania for political reasons in 1533. This information Munster has received from Anthony Wied, about that he gratefully writed in his Cosmography.

Anthony Wied created the map of Moscovia based on data by Ivan Liatski. The lower part of the map contains two inscriptions: in old russian language dated 1542 and in latin dated 1555. The latin text mentioned that Ivan Liatski helped to the author to create the map. The pictures of Kyiv on the both maps are resembling but on the map by Wied the picture is placed along of Dnieper River, and on the map by Munster the picture united the right and left banks.

To the author's knowledge no comparison of toponymes of the map of Sarmatia by Bernard Wapowski and the map of Moscovia by Anthony Wied was carried out. Both of maps in the part that coinside have similar toponimes:

The map of Sarmatia by Bernard Wapowski: Kyiv, Vyshgorod (for the first time), Chornobyl (for the first time), Liubech (for the first time), Rechytsia (for the first time), non-identified settlement, inscription about the battle of Orsha, Loyova Hora (for the first time), Homel (for the first time), the Sozh River (for the first time), Chernihiv, non-identified settlement, Starodub (for the first time), Novgorod-Siversky (for the first time), the Seym River (for the first time), Putivl (for the first time), Azov (without name on the map).

The map of Moscovia by Anthony Wied: Kyiv, Rechytsia, inscription about the battle of Orsha (with the picture), Homel, Sozh, Chernihiv, Starodub, Novgorod-Siversky, Seim, Putivl, Azov.

Emphasized objects are present on the both maps. The lists of toponimes on the both maps are almost similar but the map by Wapowski is more detailed that the map by Wied. In addition the name of Rechytsia – Rzecytsa – on the map by Wapowski is more presize than on the maps by Wied and Munster, where Rstha is practically the transcription of the word river (rika).

The similarity of the images oh the both maps forces to seek the single sourse of information for them. Evidently this source of information was abovementioned Ivan Liatski who stayed with the Moscovian embassy at the court of the King of Poland Sigismund I from the end of January since April, 1527 [11]. At the same time Bernard Wapowski has worked intensively on the map of Sarmatia using all possible sourses of information.

A special feature of the maps by Wapowski and Wied are text messages about the battle of Orsha, 1514, The battle took place between the allied forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdom of Poland, and the army of Grand Duchy of Muscovy, that was defeated. On the map by Wapowski the text Ніс Sigismundus Rex Poloniae Anno 1514 Octuaginta milia Moscovitarum magno vectigalis(?) superavit is placed. The map by Wied contains the short text: Conflictus an: 1514. The battle on Orsha has long been an area of special interest by Bernard Wapowski. In 1515, during his staying in Rome, he wrote the panegyric in verse in honour of the victory of Polish weapon in this battle [12]. It seems that this battle was marked on the map at the initiative of Wapowski, not Liatski.

We can suppose that european geographers knew that Ivan Liatski already gave the information for the map of Sarmatia by Wapowski. But almost all edition of this map was destroyed during the great fire in Kraków in 1528. That’s why Anthony Wied in 1535 appealed to Liatski with a second request for information.

Acceptance of Ivan Liatski as one of the providers of data for the map of Sarmatia permits to clarify the question about dating of edition of the map. Кarol Buczek, who was the first who wrote about the maps by Wapowski, considered that the map of Sarmatia was published “not early then 1526”, further the cautious “not early then” was often ignored. Inclusion the information received in February–April, 1527 to the map of Sarmatia means that the map was created not early than that time. So far as only the edition of map in 1528 is documentary evidenced, it’s worth to support the point of view that there was no earlier edition of the map and the survived fragments of the map of South Sarmatia really belongs to the single proof print.

Let's return to the Left-bank marks of Kyiv on the maps. On the maps of Sarmatia by Wapowski and of Moscovia by Munster which has the single sourse – the information by Ivan Liatski – Кyiv has particular features: on the right bank the church is pictired, on the left bank – a secural buildins. This designation could reflected the real role of the of the Left-Bank Kyiv settlement in the political life of Kyiv.

In the chronicles of Kievan Rus’ of 11th – the beginning of 13th centuries the Gorodets settlement is mentioned which placed on the of the Left-Bank historical place Myloslavichy (now included into the territory of Kyiv). In the “Spisok gorodov russkikh, daliokikh i blizkikh” (“The list of Rus towns, far and close”), dated by the end of 14th – beginning of 15th centuries, among the “Kyivan towns” the settlement Miroslavitsi was mentioned [20]. In 11th – the beginning of 13th centuries it was the out-of-town residense of Kyiv rulers. The Left-bank settlement became really visible in the political life of Kyiv in the second half of 15th century where the Duke Simeon Olelkovich resided in it.

Simeon Olelkovich (1418 – 1470), the last ruler of Principality of Kyiv (from 1455), the great grandson of Olgierd, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, was the powerful figure of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the successfull warlord who defended his lands from the invasion of Tatars. Because of political power he mentioned with the title of “tsar” in the Moldavian chronicles of 15th–16th centuries [21]. The days of his principality of Kiev are considered as a cultural renaissance, particularly Simeon Olelkovich renewed the Holy Dormition Cloister of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra suffered from the Mongol invasion in 1240.

Historical evidences of the location of the former residence of Simeon Olelkovich were collected by archaeologist V. Hoshkevich. Historical documents containes enough topographical detailes to restore the place of setllement which was explored by V. Zavitnevich in 1890, P. Rappoport and M. Sagaidak in 20th century.

For the references see the bibliography in the Ukrainian version.