Catalog Archive
Auction 194, Lot 48

Rare Satirical Broadside on the Ottoman Empire's Problems after the Russo-Turkish War

"Il Mondo Ammalato",

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany, Europe

Period: 1879 (published)

Publication: La Rana

Color: Black & White

13.4 x 20.8 inches
34 x 52.8 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

This fantastic and rare satirical broadside was published in La Rana, a humorous political weekly journal published in Bologne. Although the name of the journal translates literally as "the frog," it was a slang local term that meant "penniless." The publication was printed on a single sheet that was folded in half to create four pages, and was known for its double-page lithographic cartoons at the center of each issue. The cartoon for this issue, published on 31 January 1879, focuses on the Ottoman Empire and its impact on and associations with Europe. The title translates as "The Sick World" and refers to the "Sick man of Europe," a nickname given to the Ottoman Empire by Emperor Nicholas I of the Russian Empire. At the time this cartoon was published, the Ottoman Empire was experiencing upheaval, having just lost the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78) and with it much territory within Europe. The large globe is centered on Europe and is depicted as a head -- namely the head of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The text below the image describes the scene in relation to the five senses. The eye (sight) is obscured by weapons while the ears are ringing with the sounds of Riot, Discontent and the Proletariat. The nose is being bitten by a "tax" mosquito and tormented by the smell of continuous ministerial crises. The tongue is forced to taste the plague, smallpox and the increase in the sugar tax. And finally, the sense of touch has been compromised due to the loss of alliances and treaties with foreign nations. In the background, the birds of Wealth, Peace and Honesty fly away.

Due to the nature of La Rana being a weekly publication with a relatively small circulation, existing copies on the market are quite rare. We have only seen one other example of this edition offered for sale in the last 30 years, and none at auction.


Condition: B+

Centerfold, as issued, with an extraneous vertical crease and light soiling that is mostly confined to the edges of the sheet.

Estimate: $750 - $1,000

Sold for: $850

Closed on 9/13/2023