map – knowledge – power

My son, what so engrosses you? What’s this?

A map of Muscovy; our royal kingdom
From end to end. Look, father,
Moscow’s here
Here Novgorod, there Astrakhan.
The sea there,
Here is the virgin forestland of Perm,
And there is Siberia.

And what may this be,
A winding pattern tracing?

It’s the Volga.

How splendid! The delicious fruit of learning!
This This at a glance as from a cloud to scan
Our whole domain: its boundaries, towns, rivers.

Alexander Pushkin, Boris Godunov

(quoted in Harley, J. B. “Maps, knowledge, and power” In The Iconography of Landscapesedited by Denis Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels, 277–12. Avon: Cambridge Univ Pr, 1988.)

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