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Michael Hochedlinger:

The appointment of Johann Baptist Homann as imperial geographer in the year 1715

Cartographica Helvetica 24 (2001) 37–40


An additional right to those of the emperor as head of the Holy Roman Empire was to issue privileges to individuals. Of particular significance to the history of cartography are the imperial printing privileges (privilegia impressoria), with which authors in all scientific fields, printers, copper engravers and also map publishers tried to protect their work against unauthorized publication, usually for a period of ten years.

Up to a point an imperial printing privilege also had a certain commercial effect. It was a kind of recommendation for a potential customer – a 'seal of approval' – because the issue of a privilege always included some kind of preliminary test. This recommendation was then of course always mentioned in the map titles (e.g. cum privilegio Sacrae Caesareae Majestatis).

During inventory work at the Austrian State Archives in Vienna, a document concerning the appointment of Johann Baptist Homann (1664–1724) as the imperial geographer was found at the end of 2000. Included in the document was the corresponding petition by Homann to Emperor Charles VI (reigned 1711–1740).

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