Champs de bataille du Grand Siècle, catalogue des cartes de l’Atlas historique, jusqu’à la fin du règne de Louis XIV

Work published with the scientific and financial support of the CRCV.

Champs de bataille du Grand Siècle, catalogue des cartes de l’Atlas historique, jusqu’à la fin du règne de Louis XIV, Claude Ponnou, Marie-Anne de Villèle, Bertrand Fonck, joint publication Archives & Cultures / Ministère de la Défense, 2013, 416 p., 64 p. in colour, 29.5 x 24 cm, €39 (ISBN: 978-2-35077-238-7).


The Historical Atlas was compiled during the Second Empire using the maps and plans of campaigns, marches, battles and sieges, produced and collected by the Dépôt de la Guerre, the French military mapping bureau, since the end of the 17th century, for the purpose of documenting and illustrating French military history.

The current catalogue, with over 2,000 entries, lists items from the oldest part of the collection up to the end of the reign of Louis XIV, a reign marked not only by constant conflicts but also by the unprecedented growth of military cartography. In addition to their topographic and historical value, the great diversity of the documents detailed here presents an overview of the history of French cartography, making this collection particularly valuable. Produced by the geographical engineers who followed the armies, at the time of the operations or subsequently to glorify or study the events, these maps and plans, in manuscript or engraved, have a great aesthetic quality. They present a new perspective on the wars of the “The Iron Century” and on the regions where these were played out, whilst bearing witness to the legendary good fortune of the campaigns of the Sun King.

This inventory is thus intended to become an indispensable tool in documenting the history of war in the 17th century, which until now has made too little use of cartographic sources. By recording the military chronicle of the Grand Siècle in maps, where previously only the main events were celebrated in painting, the reader is offered a different representation of Louis XIV’s campaigns.

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Table of contents (in French)
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