Chicago Map Society: James Krokar, Tracking Down Crusaders Who Are Not Supposed to Be There

Chicago Map Society Meeting
Thursday, October 16, 2008

For more than a decade, since 1996, James Krokar has been trying to identify and put into their historic context three 1605 Newberry manuscript maps of Ottoman fortresses. These maps depict sites in the modern states of Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania, but they were drawn when this region was part of the border zone between the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire. Krokar’s current understanding of the maps is embodied in a recent article in the journal Imago Mundi.

The talk focuses on the frustrations and rewards of the process of historical research: mistaken identifications, intellectual straitjackets, and the joys of serendipitous discovery. It will highlight the one constant in his interpretation that some consider controversial: the continued relevance in Early Modern Europe of the medieval idea of crusade.