The Radziwiłł Map of Lithuania

Prince Michał Radziwiłł “the Orphan”, son of Mikołaj “the Black,” voivode of Troki and Vilnius, recorded his eventlful pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Peregrination or Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, a book written in vivid, rich Polish. Around 1585, Radziwiłł began co-ordination of the work on the Grand Map of the Duchy of Lithuania. He put a lot of effort in organising a team of experts who would be able to perform such immense work. Among others, he hired King’s cartographer Maciej Strubicz the Silesian, or “Slązak.” Earlier, during the reign of king Stefan Batory, Strubicz began work on editing and re-working maps of the territories subject to the King of Poland, particularly the map of Lithuania. The Mercator map, the best available presentation of Lithuania and Livonia at that time, was not satisfactory. The amount and quality of the data on that part of the Kingdom required devotion to the work on that map exclusively, which was Strubicz’s intention. Correspondence between Strubicz and Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, in which the cartographer asks Zamoyski for support in obtaining from the King materials relating to the Duchy of Lithuania, proves that the work on the maps was well advanced in 1579: “I am positive that there exists a more reliable and precise description ofthose Lithuanian Lands, made in the times of war, without which I started my work, but am not able to complete it, I would be much obliged to Your Excellency for Your support to my earlier pledge to His Majesty the King, to lend me for a short time such description of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania”. Strubicz’s own descriptions of Lithuania did not meet his requirements as materials for the new map. Such was probably also the case with the map for which he was asking, as in all likelihood it was the work by Stanisław Pachłowiecki, engraved in Rome, and made on the basis of data and materials collected during the Polock military campaign. Although being the first example of military cartography in Poland, the map did not meet Strubicz’s expectations. Therefore, the cartographer finally decided to work in co-operation with Mikołaj Krzysztof Radziwiłł, hoping that the latter’s energy and spirit of enterprise may lead to the publication of a highly accurate map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, as planned. As the starting point for research, Strubicz began collecting his own earlier works which he has been drawing since his appointment to the Royal Chancellery in 1559.