James Joyce

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, General, Issue 2 (March/April 2013), Volume 21, What's new in manuscript

In an article about Galway City, published in 1912 by the Trieste newspaper Il Piccolo della Sera, James Joyce wrote of the map:

‘The strangest and most interesting historical document in the city archives is the map of the city made for the Duke of Lorraine in the seventeenth century . . . The margins of the parchment are heavy with the heraldic arms of the tribes, and the map itself is little more than a topographical symphony on the theme of the number of tribes.’
Joyce’s article, ‘The City of the Tribes: Italian echoes in an Irish port’, as the title suggests, attempts to identify Italian or Latin influences on Galway. Although Joyce doesn’t remark on it, the pictorial map itself represents an example of Italian cultural influence. In the medieval period detailed accurate maps of cities did not exist; instead cities were shown as collections of monuments chosen to represent them. Pictorial maps were a product of the Italian Renaissance; their purpose was to celebrate the wealth, power and status of the city.

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