Satire in Illustrated maps

Many illustrated maps are serious in nature. Some are designed as artistic items, some historic illustrated maps have a religious significance, and some modern ones are simply playful, clear illustrations that are designed to make it easy for visitors to navigate the city they are visiting, or the festival that’s currently happening.
Some maps, however, have a more interesting purpose. Satire artist Fred W. Rose put together an interesting satirical cartoon map which laid out the status of Europe in 1877. That year was an incredibly volatile one for European politics. Rose’s map takes a traditional geographical map of Europe, and uses that as a framework for his satire.
At first glance, it looks like a normal map. Individual countries are colored in Red, green, orange, and yellow, and it’s easy enough to identify the countries by sight. The names of the countries are also provided.
What makes this map a satire is the way that he has merged anthropomorphic and zoomorphic maps. The countries are drawn vaguely in their own shape, but altered slightly so that they represent political figures and mythical animals.
An octopus is used to represent Russia, with tentacles reaching out to grab other countries. Turkey is depicted in national dress, aiming a pistol at the Octopus. Hungary is shown as being ready for a fight, but Austria is attempting to hold it back. Germany’s Emperor Wilhelm I is looking away from the conflict, but has a stockpile of ammunition ready, just in case. French general Patrice de MacMahon is depicted with a canon pointed at Germany, ready and waiting for the opportunity to avenge its defeat in the recent war.
The illustrations in this map are amazingly powerful. So powerful, in fact, that Japan made use of this particular illustration more than 20 years later as a propaganda image to win the support of Europe in their war.

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