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Thread: Fred W. Rose's famous Serio-Comic European Maps

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    Junior Member Gálvez's Avatar
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    Default Fred W. Rose's famous Serio-Comic European Maps


    Serio-comic war map for the year 1877, by F. W. Rose

    This cartoon-map gives a satirical take on the events of 1877 - a volatile year in Europe. Political caricatures, shaped around the individual nations, bring this story to life.

    The illustration uses an outline of Europe as the framework for presenting its political comment. It assumes that its readers will recognise this shape and identifythe countries within. Fred W. Rose is synonymous with this type of political cartoon map.

    Its style, however, is part of a long tradition of anthropomorphic maps (drawn to resemble generic national types) and zoomorphic maps (drawn to resemble real or mythical animals).

    Letting pictures tell a story has proven to be a very powerful weapon. Twenty five years after the Octopus Map was first published, it was used again by Japanese propagandists to win European support against Russia during the Russo-Japanese war.
    The Octopus --Russia-- forgetful of the wound it received in the Crimea, is stretching forth its arms in all directions. Having seized hold of the Turk, it is eagerly pushing forward in the hope that it may overwhelm him, as it has already done Poland. At the same time, Greece seems likely to annoy the Turk in another quarter. Hungary is only prevented from assisting his neighbour, Russia, through being held back by his sister, Austria. The Frenchman, remembering his late defeat, is carefully examining his weapons; and Germany is naturally interested in his movements, and holds himself in readiness for an emergency.
    Great Britain and Ireland are eagerly watching the fray --ready, at any moment, at least, to prevent Russia from seizing the Turk's watch, or interference with Suez. Spain is taking his much required rest. Italy is ruthlessly making a toy of the Pope; and the wealthy King of Belgium is taking care of his treasure. Denmark's flag is small, but she has reason to be proud of it.


    Angling in Troubled Waters. A Serio-Comic Map of Europe by Fred. W. Rose, 1899.

    A caricature map of Europe with each country depicted as an angler having various levels of success in hooking colonies: John Bull has a huge catch-bag (Ireland), with Egypt as a crocodile on the end of his line; France is a scuffle for control of the Third Republic between the military and civilian, their rod with an empty hook, with Napoleon's shade looking on from Corsica; Spain is watching sadly as their former catch (fish marked Cuba, Porto Rico and Phillippines) is being dragged away on the lines of an unseen U.S.A.; Belgium has the Congo; the Austro-Hungarians are mourning the assassination of Empress Elisabeth by an anarchist; Turkey has a hook in 'the Cretan spike fish', and a stain on his trousers is a skull marked 'Armenia'; .Greece has pricked a finger trying to catch the spike fish by hand; larger than all others is Russia, shown as Nicholas II with an olive branch in one hand and a line stretching to the Far East in the other.
    Spain, with scarcely a leg to stand upon, is brought to his knees, and has the chagrin to see his own takings hooked by a more skilful competitor, whose $20,000,000 gaff has just secured a specimen of piscis Philippinus.
    Meanwhile, Don Carlos watches his opportunity to snatch the mutilated crown.
    Portugal seems likely to dispose of his catch to advantage, whereby his empty purse may assume rounder proportions.
    The German Emperor, not satisfied with his sucesses in the fields of art, oratory, and literature, has taken his pack upon his back, and is looking around to see what advantages he may achieve as an imperial bagman. His fist is no longer mailed.
    Holland is entirely taken up with its fair young Queen, to whom we wish all prosperity.
    Belgium is pleased with his take --a fish of fair size-- but he should look to ridding himself of the reptile curling round his neck.
    Denmark is the cradle of the royal races of Europe.
    Italy, holding in his hand the remnant of his only catch, is like his dependencies, Sardinia and Sicily, crushed by the burthen he has to bear.
    Servia & Roumania are almost too young to walk alone yet.
    Norway & Sweden (the model of Home Rule), are playing a game of roughand tumble, which, unless they are careful, may break the leash whcih binds together, and leave them a prey to enterprising neighbours.
    Russia is offering the olive branch to the world. All honour to him, but if he could discard those toys in his belt, and the store under his right arm, and if we knew exactly what fish he is playing on his line, the world might be more ready to accept his offer.
    Turkey, who has lost so much weight as to be scarcely recognizable, is holding his band to his ear. Would that he might hear the howl of indignation which rises against hom for the terrible stain upon his clothes. His hook is still fixed in the nose of Crete, but it looks as if it might easily be torn out. Russia treads heavily upon him, and he no longer knows the repose of by-gone days. Even the "present for a good boy," which lies in his pocket, may not bring him much satisfaction.
    Greece, having tried to seize the Cretan spike fish, has pricked his fingers.
    In Austria, the people of all the various nationalities join with the Emperor in deplouring the loss which the hand of an anarchist assassin has caused.
    Switzerland, it is to be hoped, is at last determined to put its foot down upon these reptiles in human form.


    'John Bull and his Friends A Serio-Comic Map of Europe' by Fred. W. Rose

    Rose’s 1877 map is very similar to the 1900 one. But while Russia still is the offending protagonist, tentacling its way into its neighbours’ affairs, the nature and direction of some of the anthropomorphic nations has changed, reflecting an altered political landscape. Whereas France in the 1877 map is an old general aiming cannon at Germany, still frustrated by its recent defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-’71, France in 1900 is Marianne, dressed in the revolutionary colours, looking away from Germany, and toward Britain. A like-for-like comparison would lead us too far, but the legend of Rose’s 1900 map provides some explanation:
    Great Britain - John Bull has been attacked by two wild cats. He is however able to rely on the stores of ammunition behind him, as well as his own pluck and great resources. The letter at his feet from his friend Uncle Sam, would be more encouraging were it not for the post-script. The Nationalist section in Ireland has taken this opportunity to vent his abuse upon him, but is restrained by the loyalty of the people.
    France too, is scolding and threatening to scratch with one hand, while with the other she is beckoning on Germany to help her. Although the Dreyfus affair is thrust into the back-ground she is much occupied with her new doll's house. She has somehow managed to break all the toys on her girdle and her heart is sore, for she attributes these disasters to John Bull.
    Holland and Belgium are also calling him unpleasant names.
    Spain, weary with her recent struggles, remembers that John was in no way inclined to help her, and looks up hoping to see him attacked by some of her neighbours.
    Portugal is pleased to think he holds the Key of the situation.
    Norway and Sweden though still struggling to get free from their mutual leash, turn their attention to John's difficulties, while Denmark is kindly sending him a present of provisions.
    Austria and Hungary will be content with dreadful threats
    Switzerland's satisfaction that her Red Cross has done good service, is marred by the news of John's victories, which she is reading.
    Italy alone holds out the hand of encouragement to his old friend.
    In Corsica the shade of her great departed son is wondering why people don't act, as he would have done, instead of growling and cursing.
    Turkey, resting comfortably on his late foe Greece, is smiling at the thought that these troubles do not harm him and perhaps he is not sorry that John will not come to much harm.
    Russia, in spite of the Tzar's noble effort to impress her with his own peaceful image, is but an octopus still. Far and wide her tentacles are reaching. Poland and Finland already know the painful process of absorption. China feels the power of her suckers, and two of her tentacles are invidiously creeping towards Persia and Afghanistan, while another is feeling for any point of vantage where Turkey may be once more attacked.
    Last edited by Gálvez; 04-13-2012 at 07:00 PM.

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    Brilliant maps, I love the imagery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishey View Post
    Brilliant maps, I love the imagery.

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