The Exploration of Asia Minor: Kiepert Maps Unmentioned by Ronald Syme and Louis Robert

  • Richard J. A. Talbert University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Keywords: Asia Minor, maps, cartography, military, Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), Karte von Kleinasien (KvK), Kiepert, Heinrich (1818–1899), Kiepert, Richard (1846–1915), Robert, Louis (1904–1985), Syme, Ronald (1903–1989)


The starting point is a tribute to Anthony Birley’s studies of Ronald Syme, with attention to his map consciousness; Asia Minor becomes the focus, and comparison is made with Louis Robert. There emerges the puzzling outcome that neither Syme nor Robert shows awareness of several map series derived from Heinrich and Richard Kiepert’s Karte von Kleinasien. Hence investigation of this neglected cartography follows: its accuracy is probed, as well as its prolonged impact through the half-century 1890–1940, with particular refer­ence to World War I and the subsequent Greco-Turkish War. All this activity (primarily by British, Greek, Italian and Ottoman military agencies), together with the successive obstacles to completing a triangulated map of Turkey, gives reason to question the long-held consensus that after Heinrich Kiepert’s death (1899) his work quickly lost its significance.