Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian EmpireMain MenuAboutDashboardsData CatalogMapStoriesGalleriesGamesWho said history was boring?Map ShelfTeach Our ContentCiting the ProjectKelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f5The Imperiia Project // Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
Flora Rossica, title page
12022-07-06T15:01:05-04:00Kelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f591plain2022-07-06T15:01:05-04:001788Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. "Flora Rossica..." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-e8d9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99Kelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f5
Trees are always in conversation with one another. We cannot know what the trees classified in the 1793 registers were saying (did they bicker? recite poetry?), how tall they were, or what they smelled like, but we know an astonishing amount about gardens that existed more than two hundred years ago. We know, for example, that they tended to be very small: most were less than a quarter of an acre. In fact, of the 732 plots for which we have information, the smallest was one-thousandth of an acre - a space that somehow managed to be big enough to host a fig, a walnut, two pears, and a mulberry tree.
We also know that on average the gardens contained 28 trees (with counts ranging from 1 to 673). And because three of the registers recorded both the quantity and type of trees present in each garden (well, to be more precise, they recorded the quantity and type of fruit trees) we can piece together a tree-scape of 15,742 plants.
The classification scheme at work in the registers is reproduced in this glossary. To give the entries depth, we have drawn on the work of Karl Gablits (1752-1821), a naturalist and geographer whose Physical description of Tavrida Province (1785) revealed the botanical world of Crimea to curious audiences in Russia and throughout Europe. To what extent do these sources complement one another? Consider this:
Gablits' study came on the heels of annexation (1783); the garden registers were compiled a decade later (1793).
Gablits' work was designed to make the Crimean tree-scape recognizable to the reading public (elites in St. Petersburg, members of the European scientific community, etc.); the registers were designed to secure property claims and profits for the imperial government.
Gablits' work is qualitative and textual; the registers are tabular and quantitative.
To bring the colors and textures of Crimea's orchards into sharp relief, the glossary includes botanical illustrations. Tree illustrations are sourced, whenever possible, Peter Simon Pallas's Flora Russica (1784). Fruit illustrations are sourced, wherever possible, from the Атлас плодов (Atlas of Fruits) - a collection of chromolithograph illustrations of plant varieties published by the Imperial Russian Society of Fruit Cultivators in 1906.
Now, let's dig in.
The Glossary includes all 16 fruit-bearing trees named in the registers. Click a tree name from the list below to open a page chock-full of information. (The list follows Gablits' order of trees.)
Or, click on any red dot to see which villages contained gardens with that tree type. Click a second red dot to see which villages had both trees in common. You can compare trees or villages, as you like. Drag the dots around to reveal connections, and simply click any dot again to "close" it. You can "open" as many as you like. Curious what this might look like?
12022-07-06T15:04:03-04:00Flora Rossica12botanical dictionary by Peter Simon Pallasstructured_gallery2022-07-20T15:27:02-04:00
Flora Rossica: seu, Stirpium Imperii rossici per Europam et Asiam indigenarum descriptiones et icones
The Author: Peter Simon Pallas
Original Publication: Typographia imperiali J.J. Weitbrecht, 1784-1788
Repository: New York Public Library Digital Collections [https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/flora-rossica-seu-stirpium-imperii-rossici-per-europam-et-asiam-indigenarum]