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DESCRIPTION: This is the largest map of its kind to have survived in tact and in good condition from such an early period of cartography. These place names are in Lincolnshire (Holdingham and Sleaford are the modern forms), and this Richard has been identified as one Richard de Bello, prebend of Lafford in Lincoln Cathedral about the year 1283, who later became an official of the Bishop of Hereford, and in 1305 was appointed prebend of Norton in Hereford Cathedral.
While the map was compiled in England, names and descriptions were written in Latin, with the Norman dialect of old French used for special entries. Here, my dear Son, my bosom is whence you took flesh Here are my breasts from which you sought a Virgina€™s milk. The other three figures consist of a woman placing a crown on the Virgin Mary and two angels on their knees in supplication.
Still within this decorative border, in the left-hand bottom corner, the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus is enthroned and crowned with a papal triple tiara and delivers a mandate with his seal attached, to three named commissioners. In the right-hand bottom corner an unidentified rider parades with a following forester holding a pair of greyhounds on a leash. The geographical form and content of the Hereford map is derived from the writings of Pliny, Solinus, Augustine, Strabo, Jerome, the Antonine Itinerary, St. As is traditional with the T-O design, there is the tripartite division of the known world into three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. EUROPE: When we turn to this area of the Hereford map we would expect to find some evidence of more contemporary 13th century knowledge and geographic accuracy than was seen in Africa or Asia, and, to some limited extent, this theory is true.
France, with the bordering regions of Holland and Belgium is called Gallia, and includes all of the land between the Rhine and the Pyrenees. Norway and Sweden are shown as a peninsula, divided by an arm of the sea, though their size and position are misrepresented. On the other side of Europe, Iceland, the Faeroes, and Ultima Tile are shown grouped together north of Norway, perhaps because the restricting circular limits of the map did not permit them to be shown at a more correct distance. The British Isles are drawn on a larger scale than the neighboring parts of the continent, and this representation is of special interest on account of its early date.
On the Hereford map, the areas retain their Latin names, Britannia insula and Hibernia, Scotia, Wallia, and Cornubia, and are neatly divided, usually by rivers, into compartments, North and South Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, England, and Scotland.
THE MEDITERRANEAN: The Mediterranean, conveniently separating the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, teems with islands associated with legends of Greece and Rome. Mythical fire-breathing creature with wings, scales and claws; malevolent in west, benevolent in east. 4.A A  For bibliographical information on these and other (including lost) cartographical exemplars, see Westrem, The Hereford Map, p. 10.A A  For bibliographical information for editions and translations of the source texts, see Westrem, The Hereford Map, p. 11.A A  More detailed analysis of these data can be found in my a€?Lessons from Legends on the Hereford Mappa Mundi,a€? Hereford Mappa Mundi Conference proceedings volume being edited by Barber and Harvey (see n.
16.A A  Danubius oritur ab orientali parte Reni fluminis sub quadam ecclesia, et progressus ad orientem, . 23.A A  The a€?standarda€? Latin forms of these place-names and the modern English equivalents are those recorded in the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, ed.
From the time when it was first mentioned as being in Hereford Cathedral in 1682, until a relatively short time ago, the Hereford Mappamundi was almost entirely the preserve of antiquaries, clergymen with an interest in the middle ages and some historians of cartography. FROM THE TIME when it was first mentioned as being in Hereford Cathedral in 1682, until a relatively short time ago, the Hereford Mappamundi was almost entirely the preserve of antiquaries, clergymen with an interest in the middle ages and some historians of cartography. Details from the Hereford map of the Blemyae and the Psilli.a€? Typical of the strange creatures or 'Wonders of the East' derived by Richard of Haldingham from classical sources and placed in Ethiopia. Equally important work was also being done on medieval and Renaissance world maps as a genre, particularly by medievalists such as Anna-Dorothee von den Brincken and Jorg-Geerd Arentzen in Germany and by Juergen Schulz, primarily an art historian, and David Woodward, a leading historian of cartography, in the United States.
The Hereford World Map is the only complete surviving English example of a type of map which was primarily a visualization of all branches of knowledge in a Christian framework and only secondly a geographical object. After the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century, monks and scholars struggled desperately to preserve from destruction by pagan barbarians the flotsam and jetsam of classical history and learning; to consolidate them and to reconcile them with Christian teaching and biblical history. There would have been several models to choose from, corresponding to the widely differing cartographic traditions inside the Roman Empire, but it seems that the commonest image descended from a large map of the known world that was created for a portico lining the Via Flaminia near the Capitol in Rome during Christ's lifetime. Recent writers such as Arentzen have suggested that, simply because of their sheer availability, from an early date different versions of this map may have been used to illustrate texts by scholars such as St.
Eventually some of the information from the texts became incorporated into the maps themselves, though only sparingly at first. A broad similarity in coastlines with the Hereford map is clear in the Anglo-Saxon [Cottonian] World Map, c.1000 (#210), but there are no illustrations of animals other than the lion (top left).
The resulting maps ranged widely in shape and appearance, some being circular, others square. A few maps of the inhabited world were much more detailed, though keeping to the same broad structure and symbolism. Most of these earlier maps were book illustrations, none were particularly big and the maps were always considered to need textual amplification.
From about 1100, however, we know from contemporary descriptions in chronicles and from the few surviving inventories that larger world maps were produced on parchment, cloth and as wall paintings for the adornment of audience chambers in palaces and castles as well as, probably, of altars in the side chapels of religious buildings. A separate written text of an encyclopedic nature, probably written by the map's intellectual creator, however, was still intended to accompany many if not all these large maps and one may originally have accompanied the Hereford world map.
These maps seem largely to have been inspired by English scholars working at home or in Europe. The most striking novelty, however, was the vastly increased number of depictions of peoples, animals, and plants of the world copied from illustrations in contemporary handbooks on wildlife, commonly called bestiaries and herbals. Mentions in contemporary records and chronicles, such as those of Matthew Paris, make it plain that these large world maps were once relatively common. At about the same time that this map was being created, Henry III, perhaps after consultation with Gervase, who had visited him in 1229, commissioned wall maps to hang in the audience chambers of his palaces in Winchester and Westminster. The Hereford Mappamundi is the only full size survivor of these magnificent, encyclopedic English-inspired maps. An inscription in Norman-French at the bottom left attributes the map to Richard of Haldingham and Sleaford. DESCRIPTION: During the Middle Ages the Greek tradition of disinterested research was stifled in Western Europe by a theological dictatorship which bade fair, for a time, to destroy all hope of a genuine intellectual revival. Most Arab cartographers also used Ptolemya€™s instructions in the construction of their own maps.
Over the years, these enlightened Arabs injected new life and a storehouse of knowledge into the relatively backward science of Western Europe, and, for centuries, Arab culture actually dominated the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily. In the year 1138, the royal palace at Palermo, Sicily was the scene of a long-awaited meeting between an unusual Christian king and a distinguished Muslim scholar. The monarch was Roger II, King of Sicily; his distinguished guest the Arab geographer Abu Abdullah Mohammed Ibn al-Sharif al-Idrisi [Edrisi].
Al-Idrisia€™s writings tell us less about his own character and personality than about those of the man who became his host and patron.
Sicily in particular was an ideal meeting ground for the two civilizations a€“ Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East. Early in the 11th century a band of Norman adventurers, the Hautevilles, had ridden into southern Italy to wrest it from the Byzantine Greeks and the Muslims, and in 1101 Count Roger da€™Hauteville capped his career by conquering Sicily. Tall, dark-haired, bearded and corpulent, Roger, from a magnificent palace in Palermo, ruled his kingdom with a balanced mixture of diplomacy, ruthlessness, wisdom and skill that has led many historians to term his kingdom the best-governed European state of the Middle Ages.
Rogera€™s interest in geography was the expression of a scientific curiosity just awakening in Europe, but inevitably he turned to a Muslim for help. A few practical maps did exista€”marinersa€™ charts showing coastlines, capes, bays, shallows, ports of call and watering and provisioning placesa€”but in a typical medieval divorce of science and technology, these remained in the hands of navigators. To carry out the project, Roger established an academy of geographers, with himself as director and al-Idrisi as permanent secretary, to gather and analyze information.
The academy began by studying and comparing the works of previous geographersa€”principal among them 12 scholars, 10 of them from the Muslim world. Al-Idrisia€™s two geographers from the pre-Islamic era were Paulus Orosius, a Spaniard whose popular History, written in the fifth century, included a volume of descriptive geography; and Ptolemy, the greatest of the classical geographers, whose Geography, written in the second century, had been entirely lost to Europe, but preserved in the Muslim world in an Arabic translation. After examining at length the geographical works they had collected, the king and the geographer observed that they were full of discrepancies and omissions, and decided to embark on original research. During this research, al-Idrisi and Roger compared data, keeping the facts on which travelers agreed and eliminating conflicting information.
Finally, however, the long 15-year geographical study was finished and the task of map making began.
Al-Idrisi explained that the disk merely symbolized the shape of the world: The earth is round like a sphere, and the waters adhere to it and are maintained on it through natural equilibrium which suffers no variation. By al-Idrisia€™s time, Muslim astronomers had made great strides in methods of reckoning latitude.
Al-Idrisi himself gave three figures for the eartha€™s circumference, without deciding among them: Eratosthenesa€™ approximately correct estimate, a slightly smaller figure arrived at by Indian astronomers, and a still smaller numbera€”though larger than Ptolemya€™sa€”which was apparently agreed on by Sicilian scholars.
On the disk, according to al-Idrisia€™s own account, were incised a€?by skillful workersa€? lines marking the limits of the seven climates of the habitable world, arbitrary divisions established by Ptolemy running east and west and bounded by parallels of latitude, from the Arctic to the Equator. The map, written in Arabic, shows the Eurasian continent in its entirety, but only shows the northern part of the African continent. The resulting book and associated maps which took 15 years to amass are, for this and the above reasons, unquestionably among the most interesting monuments of Arabian geography. Modern geographers have attempted to reconstruct the features of the silver planisphere by using a combination of the maps of Rogera€™s Book, which has survived in several texts, and its tables of longitudes and latitudes. Distortions, omissions, and misconceptions notwithstanding, the superiority of al-Idrisia€™s map over the world maps of medieval Europe is striking. The first division of the first climate commences to the west of the Western Sea, which Idrisi called the Sea of Darkness. Following the Nile, still eastward, we find the nomadic Berbers who pasture their flock on the borders of a river flowing from the east, debouching into the Nile stream.
It is clear that the part of southern Africa which is extended far to the east is a legacy from Ptolemy, but Arabian seafarers had taught Idrisi that the sea was open in the east, and in his own commentaries he writes: a€?The Sea of Sin [China] is an arm of the ocean which is called the Dark Sea [the Atlantic]a€?.
To the south al-Idrisi pictured a great river, the Nile of the Negroes, a composite of the Senegal and the Niger Rivers that flowed from Central Africa west to the Atlantic.
Sicily, naturally, came in for special praise; it was a pearl of the age, and al-Idrisi told the story of the Norman conquest of the island by Roger da€™Hauteville, the greatest of Frankish princes, followed by the succession of the great king who bears the same name and who follows in his footsteps.
Idrisi was not, however, able to put the countries around the Baltic into proper shape, even though his notes show him to have been familiar with a great many places there, as in the rest of Europe. The impressive assemblage of facts from travelersa€™ accounts and geographical writings was interrupted now and then by fables, some taken directly from Ptolemy, some from popular folklore. Al-Idrisia€™s Rome had an oriental magnificence; ships with their freight sailed up the Tiber to be drawn thus loaded right up to the very shops of the merchants. The Arabs knew these islands through Ptolemy, and called them Jazaa€™ir al-Khalidat [The Eternal Isles], presumably a version of the Greek name. After telling us that the Canaries had been visited by Alexander the Great and that the tomb of a pre-Islamic South Arabian king, made of marble and colored glass, can be seen on one of them, al-Idrisi gives the names of two of the islands. Even more interesting is al-Idrisia€™s account of an actual voyage of exploration into the western Atlantic, undertaken by 80 brave men from Lisbon whom he calls the mugharrirun, best rendered as a€?intrepid explorers.a€? The expedition must have taken place before 1147 - the date Lisbon fell to the Christians - but it is impossible to be more precise. It was from the city of Lisbon that the mugharrirun set out to sail the Sea of Darkness in order to discover what was in it and where it ended, as we have mentioned before. The inhabitants of the island of al-Sua€™ali are shaped like women and their canine teeth protrude.
The island of Qalhan is inhabited by animal-headed people who swim in the sea to catch their food. Al-Ghawr makes sense; it means a depression surrounded by higher land, and occurs elsewhere in the Arab world as a place name. Al-Idrisi gives the names of 13 islands in the western Atlantic; a 14th, visited by the mugharrirun, is nameless. On his map, Idrisi shows a long string of islands in the Western Ocean reaching north from the equator to Brittany. However, Arab geographers and astronomers were much too accurate in their latitude calculations to mistakenly spread the Canary Islands so widely over the ocean.
The three intermediate islands in the chain may be the first cartographic representation of the Azores. Idrisia€™s description of other islands in the Atlantic appear to have more to do with fanciful legends than with reality. Some of these islands resemble the islands of Irish legend, and the Arabs may have incorporated parts of the Celtic tradition into their own legends. At the latitude of Tangier, in the Grand Sea, there are situated islands named a€?The Fortunate Islands.a€? These are spread in the sea, not far away from the west coast [of Africa], the Barbary Coast. Al-Idrisi presented the planisphere, a silver celestial sphere and the book to his patron in 1154, just a few weeks before Roger died at 58, probably of a heart attack; he went on to compose another geographical work for William I, Rogera€™s successor. According to Arab sources, Idrisi composed yet another more detailed text and map in 1161 for Rogera€™s son William II. In 1160, however, Sicilian barons rose in rebellion against William and during the disorders looted the palace; in a great fire in the courtyard, they burned government records, books and documentsa€”including a new Latin edition of Rogera€™s Book which al-Idrisi had presented to William. Since the barons had attacked the Muslims of Sicily with particular ferocitya€”killing, among many others, a famous poet named Yahya ibn al-Tifashia€”al-Idrisi fled to North Africa where, six years later, he died.
As he had brought the Arabic text with him, however, his great work lived on, winning widespread fame, serving as a model for Muslim geographers and historians for centuries and providing the great Muslim historian, Ibn Khaldun, with practically all his geographical knowledge. It is a curious thought that had Columbus been aware of the true distancea€”from al-Idrisia€™s estimatesa€”he might have hesitated to undertake his epoch-making voyage and might never have discovered that new world which came to light one morning on the far side of the Sea of Darkness. Idrisia€™s works are of exceptional quality when considered in comparison with other geographical writings of their period, partly by reason of their richness of detail, but mainly because of the afore mentioned a€?scientific methoda€™ that was employed, a procedure which was indeed unlike that adopted by most Latin scholars of that era. There is, however, a markedly retrograde character to certain portions of his work, such as East Africa and South Asia; despite his narrative of the Lisbon Wanderers (see above and Beazely, vol. In view of its modernity and high intrinsic worth, it is difficult to understand why Idrisia€™s work, composed as it was at the chronological and geographical point of contact between the Islamic and Christian civilizations, remained so long un-utilized by Christian scholars in Sicily, Italy, or other Christian countries, until we remember that the primary - we might even say the sole - interest of the Latin West in Arabic literature centered on the preparation of calendars, star tables and horoscopes, and, to some extent, the recovery of ancient lore. Al-Idrisia€™s map places Gog and Magog in northern China, behind a great wall with a tower and a door; at the wall is an inscription, translated as a€?belongs to the Kufaya mountain range which encloses Gog and Magoga€?.
The first translation known of Idrisia€™s work was published in Rome only in 1619, and then in a very much shortened form (the translator did not even know the authora€™s name). On the other hand, there is no question but that the Sicilo-Norman enthusiasm for geography exerted an indirect influence on the evolution of geographical knowledge, an influence that was to make itself felt more especially after the close of the Crusades period.
Detail of the a€?The large Idrisi Mapa€? showing Europe and North Africa,a€? re-oriented with North at the top.
Reproduction and re-orientation of a map of the world adapted from the Muqaddimah [Introduction] to Ibn Khalduna€™s monumental work, The History of the World, 1381; derived from the 1154 al-Idrisi map. The circle of the world is set in a somewhat rectangular frame background with a pointed top, and an ornamented border of a zig-zag pattern often found in psalter-maps of the period (#223). Show pity, as you said you would, on all Who their devotion paid to me for you made me Savioress.
Olympus and such cities as Athens and Corinth; the Delphic oracle, misnamed Delos, is represented by a hideous head. James (Roxburghe Club) 1929, with representations from manuscripts in the British Library and the Bodleian Library, and a€?Marvels of the Easta€?, by R. The upper-left corner of the Hereford Map, showing north and east Asia (compare to the contents on Chart 3). 1), however, call attention to a remarkable degree of accuracy in the relationship of toponymsa€”for cities, rivers, and mountainsa€”both in EMM and in Hereford Map legends.A  On the Asia Minor littoral, for example, one passage in EMM links 39 place-names in a running series, 23 of which are found in Chart 4 (and visible, in almost exactly parallel order, on Fig. 5, above).A  Treating islands separately from the eartha€™s three a€?partsa€? follows the organizational style adopted by Isidore of Seville, Honorius Augustodunensis, and other medieval geographical authorities. Note Lincoln on its hill and Snowdon ('Snawdon'), Caernarvon and Conway in Wales, referring to the castles Edward I was building there when the map was being created. In England, a detailed study of its less obvious features, such as the sequences of its place names and some of its coastal outlines by G. The Psilli reputedly tested the virtue of their wives by exposing their children to serpents. The cumulative effect has been to enable us at last to evaluate the map in terms of its actual (largely non-geographical and not exclusively religious) purpose, the age in which it was created and in the context of the general development of European cartography. The Old and New Testaments contained few doctrinal implications for geography, other than a bias in favor of an inhabited world consisting of three interlinked continents containing descendants of Noah's three sons. This now-lost map was referred to in some detail by a number of classical writers and it seems to have been created under the direction of Emperor Augustus's son-in-law, Vipsanius Agrippa (63-12 BC) for official purposes. As the centuries went by, more and more was included with references to places associated with events in classical history and legend (particularly fictionalized tales about Alexander the Great) and from biblical history with brief notes on and the very occasional illustration of natural history. Note also the Roman provincial boundaries, the relative accuracy of the British coastlines (lower left) and the attention paid to the Balkans and Denmark, with which Saxon England had close contacts. Some, often oriented to the north, attempted to show the whole world in zones, with the inhabited earth occupying the zone between the equator and the frozen north.
They were never intended to convey purely geographical information or to stand alone without explanatory text.
Often a 'context' for them would have been provided by the other secular as well as religious surrounding decorations. For many maps continued to be used primarily for educational, including theological, purposes.
They reached their fullest development in the thirteenth century when Englishmen like Roger Bacon, John of Holywood (Sacrobosco), Robert Grosseteste and Matthew Paris were playing an inordinately large part in creative geographical thinking in Europe.
In most, if not all of these maps, the strange peoples or 'Marvels of the East' are shown occupying Ethiopia on the right (southern) edge, as on the Hereford map.


Exposure to light, fire, water, and religious bigotry or indifference over the centuries has, however, led to the destruction of most of them.
Both are now lost but it seems quite likely that the so-called 'Psalter Map', produced in London in the early 1260s and now owned by the British Library, is a much reduced copy of the map that hung in Westminster Palace. Despite some broad similarities in arrangement and content, however, there are very considerable differences from the Ebstorf and the 'Westminster Palace' maps in details - like the precise location of wildlife, the portrayal of some coastlines and islands, or in the recent information incorporated. With this basis the Muslims combined the accumulated knowledge gained through exploration and travel.
As his visitor entered the hall, the king rose, took his hand and led him across the carpeted marble to a place of honor beside the throne. Born in Ceuta, Morocco, across the strait from Spain, al-Idrisi was then in his late 30a€™s.
Roger II, son of a Norman-French soldier of fortune who had conquered Sicily at the beginning of the 12th century, was an anomaly among Christian monarchs of his time. Captured by the Arabs in 831, the island had remained in Muslim control until the end of the 11th century. Four years later, he passed the territory on to his son, Roger, who in 1130 was crowned king as Roger II. His energy was a legenda€”one commentator remarked that Roger accomplished more asleep than other sovereigns did awakea€”and his court boasted a collection of philosophers, mathematicians, doctors, geographers and poets who had no superior in Europea€”and in whose company he spent much of his time.
Christian Europea€™s approach to map-making was still symbolic and fanciful, based on tradition and myth rather than scientific investigation, and used to illustrate books of pilgrimage, Biblical exegesis and other works. He wanted to know the precise conditions of every area under his rule, and of the world outsidea€”its boundaries, climate, roads, the rivers that watered its lands, and the seas that bathed its coasts. Sicilya€™s busy and cosmopolitan ports provided an ideal place for such an inquiry, and for years hardly a ship docked at Palermo, Messina, Catania or Syracuse without its crew and passengers being interrogated about the places they had visited.
This process of collecting and assessing material took 15 years, during which, according to al-Idrisi, hardly a day passed when the king did not confer personally with the geographers, studying accounts that disagreed, examining astronomical coordinates, tables and itineraries, poring over books and weighing divergent opinions. First, under al-Idrisia€™s direction, a working copy was produced on a drawing board, with places sited on the map with compasses, following the tables that had already been prepared.
Although Ptolemy had discussed several kinds of projection (Book I, #119), the problem of flattening out the surface of a sphere so that it could be represented on a flat map would not be solved until the 16th and 17th centuriesa€”the Age of Explorationa€”and none too satisfactorily even then. Zach states in 1806 that a€?the oldest terrestrial globe that is known was made for King Roger II of Sicily in the 12th century, and is especially remarkable for the value of the metal which was used in its construction, this being 400 pounds of silver. Below the Equator, an unexplored southern temperate zone was thought to be separated from the familiar northern one by an impassable area of deadly heat. Two are in the BibliothA?que Nationale de France, including the oldest, dated to about 1300 (MS Arabe 2221).
From this reconstruction it is evident that, like Ptolemy, al-Idrisi pictured the habitable world as occupying 180 of the 360 degrees of the worlda€™s longitude, from the Atlantic in the West to China in the East, and 64 degrees of its latitude, from the Arctic Ocean to the Equator. Contrasted with the quaint and picturesque, but almost totally uninformative maps of the Christian scholars, the features of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East are easily recognizable in al-Idrisia€™s representationa€”Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, the Red Sea and the Nile.
He had no doubt met travelers and merchants from Scandinavia at the court of King Roger and received important information from them, but we know that the Arabs too had connections with the Baltic peoples and also those in Russia at that time. In Russia, winter daylight periods were so short that there was hardly time for Muslim travelers to perform all five obligatory daily prayers. Paris (Abariz) earned a condescending reference as a town of mediocre size, surrounded by vineyards and forests, situated on an island in the Seine, which surrounds it on all sides; however, it is extremely agreeable, strong, and susceptible of defense.
The Strait of Gibraltar, according to Rogera€™s Book, did not exist when Alexander the Greata€”as medieval legend had ita€”invaded Spain. Discovered by Hanno in the fifth century BC, they were explored and colonized in 25 BC by Juba II, erudite king of Mauretania and husband of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Antony and Cleopatra.
Some sources speak of these islands as if they were legendary, telling us for example that on each of the six islands - there are in fact seven - there was a bronze statue, like the one in CA?diz, warning voyagers to turn back. The mugharrirun were so famous for their exploit that a street in Lisbon was named after them. A street in Lisbon, near the hot springs, is still known as a€?The Street of the Intrepid Explorersa€?; it is named after them. It is hard to escape the impression that we owe the preservation of this account largely to the folk etymology in the last line. The Azores are named after a kind of goshawk - in Portuguese, aA§or - prevalent there at the time of discovery.
The inhabitants threw stones at the travelers and hurt several of Alexandera€™s companions. A small fresh-water river runs down from the foot of the mountain, where the inhabitants live. Al-Mustashkin is probably a corruption of al-mushtakin, meaning a€?the complainersa€? - appropriate enough for a population in thrall to a dragon. The Two Brothers could be the two small islands off Lanzarote in the Canaries, Alegranza and Graciosa, or indeed, any two prominent rocks off their coasts. This unnamed island, together with Masfahan, Laghus, The Two Brothers and possibly Sawa, are almost certainly islands in the Canary group.
After describing the Canary Islands, Idrisi refers to an island in the Western Sea named Raqa, which is the Isle of the Birds, Djaziratoa€™t-Toyour.
Distinct from the Canary Islands were the Isle of Female Devils, the Isle of Illusion, the Island of Two Sorcerers, and the Isle of Lamentation [Gazirat al-Mustashkin], which was inhabited and fertile, with tilled fields, but controlled by a terrible dragon. An exchange of ideas and reciprocal influences between the two cultures certainly took place. This work is said to have been even more extensive than his earlier one, but only a few extracts have survived.
At the same time, the silver planisphere and celestial sphere disappeared, apparently cut up and melted down.
Although the Arabic text of Rogera€™s Book was published in Rome by the Medici press in 1592, it was not again available to Europeans in Latin until the 17th century.
Certainly the influence of Idrisia€™s Geography could not have been great in the world of letters or else traces of it would more easily be detected in Western literature. An explicit reference to Dul-Karnaia€™in (an Arabic name for Alexander, among others) by the gate, leaves no doubt as to Idrisia€™s source. Displays a Ptolemaic construction with an arrangement of horizontal divisions into seven parallel climate zones, originally oriented with South at the top. In Phrygia there is born an animal called bonnacon; it has a bulla€™s head, horsea€™s mane and curling horns, when chased it discharges dung over an extent of three acres which burns whatever it touches. India also has the largest elephants, whose teeth are supposed to be of ivory; the Indians use them in war with turrets (howdahs) set on them.
The linx sees through walls and produces a black stonea€” a valuable carbuncle in its secret parts. A tiger when it sees its cub has been stolen chases the thief at full speed; the thief in full flight on a fast horse drops a mirror in the track of the tiger and so escapes unharmed. Agriophani Ethiopes eat only the flesh of panthers and lions they have a king with only one eye in his forehead.
Men with doga€™s heads in Norway; perhaps heads protected with furs made them resemble dogs. Essendones live in Scythia it is their custom to carry out the funeral of their parents with singing and collecting a company of friends to devour the actual corpses with their teeth and make a banquet mingled with the flesh of animals counting it more glorious to be consumed by them than by worms. Solinus: they occupy the source of the Ganges and live only on the scent of apples of the forest if they should perceive any smell they die instantly. Himantopodes; they creep with crawling legs rather than walk they try to proceed by sliding rather than by taking steps. The Monocoli in India are one-legged and swift when they want to be protected from the heat of the sun they are shaded by the size of their foot. Flint, a€?The Hereford Map:A  Its Author(s), Two Scenes and a Border,a€? Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th ser. Nevertheless, it placed a somewhat misleading emphasis on the map's geographical 'inaccuracies', its depiction of fabulous creatures and supposedly religious purpose, all clothed in what for the layman must have seemed an air of wildly esoteric learning and near-impenetrable medieval mystery.
Recent research suggests this is a reference to African traders in medicinal drugs who visited ancient Rome. Today, with the map in the headlines of the popular press, it may be time to give a brief resume of what is currently known about it and to attempt to explain some of its more important features in the light of recent research. In the eyes of some (but by no means all) theologians, a fourth inhabited continent, the Antipodes, would implicitly have denied the descent of mankind from Noah, and the depiction of such a continent was deemed to be heretical by them.
It was based on survey and on military itineraries and reflected the political and administrative realities of the time. Where space allowed, reference was also made to important contemporary towns, regions, and geographical features such as freshly-opened mountain passes.
Most of the maps, however, like the Hereford Mappamundi, depicted only that part of the world that was known in classical times to be inhabited and they were oriented with east at the top.
Traces of the maps' classical origins could regularly be seen in, for instance, the continued depiction of the provincial boundaries of the Roman Empire (which are partly visible on the Hereford map) and for many centuries by the island of Delos which had been sacred to the early Greeks being the centre of the inhabited world. They and the texts that they adorned continued to be copied by hand until late in the 15th century and are to be found in early printed books. God dominates the world and the 'Marvels of the East' occupy the lower right edge of the map, as they do on the Hereford map. Together they would have provided a propaganda backdrop for the public appearances of the ruler, ruling body, noble or cleric who had commissioned them, and some may have been able to stand alone as visual histories. The Hereford map, as an inscription at the lower left corner tells us, was certainly intended for use as a visual encyclopedia, to be 'heard, read and seen' by onlookers. Because of the maps' size, they were able to include far more information and illustration than their predecessors. More space was also found for current political references and information derived from contemporary military, religious and commercial itineraries.
Today, the earliest survivor, dating from the beginning of the thirteenth century, is a badly damaged example now in Vercelli Cathedral, probably having been brought to Italy in about 1219 by a papal legate returning from England. We know from Matthew Paris that the Westminster map was copied by others, and it is likely to have had a lasting influence even though the original was destroyed in 1265.
A Latin legend in the bottom right corner of the Hereford map refers to the 5th century Christian propagandist Orosius as the main source for the map, but as we have already seen, it incorporates information from numerous ancient and thirteenth century sources and adds its own interpretations of them.
The map is an outstanding example of a map type that had evolved over the preceding eight centuries. Almost at once the two men began to discuss the project for which the scholar had been asked to come from North Africa: the creation of the first accuratea€”and scientifica€”map of the entire known world. After studying in Cordoba, in Muslim Spain, he had spent some years in travel, covering the length of the Mediterranean, from Lisbon to Damascus. His co-religionists, commenting on his oriental life-style, complete with harem and eunuchs, disparagingly referred to him as the a€?half-heathen kinga€? and a€?the baptized Sultan of Sicily.a€? Educated by Greek and Arab tutors, he was an intellectual with a taste for scientific inquiry, and relished the company of Muslim scholars, of whom al-Idrisi was one of the most celebrated. Like Muslim Spain, it was a beacon of prosperity to a Europe caught in the economic slow-down we call the Dark Ages. In mathematics, as in the political sphere, al-Idrisi wrote of his patron, the extent of his learning cannot be described.
Picturesque and colorful, European maps showed a circular earth composed of three continents equal in sizea€”Asia, Africa and Europea€”separated by narrow bands of water. While medieval Europe had become fragmented and parochial, both politically and commercially, the Muslim world was unified by a flourishing long-distance commerce as well as by religion and culture. The commissiona€™s agents haunted the ports, and if they discovered a traveler who had visited any particularly exotic region, he was conducted to the palace at Palermo to be questioned by al-Idrisi or even by Roger. Then a great disk almost 80 inches in diameter and weighing over 300 pounds was fabricated out of silver, chosen for its malleability and permanence. The great geographer Gerardus Mercator commented, If you wish to sail from one port to another, here is a chart . A knowledge of this globe would not have come down to our day had not Idrisi, a famous geographer of that time, given an especial description of the same, under the title Nothatol mostak [Pleasure of the Soul].a€? According to other scholars it is more probable that the reference here is to a circular disc or planisphere made by Idrisi, or an armillary sphere, but not to a terrestrial globe. Following the rough sketch prepared by al-Idrisi, the silversmiths transferred the outlines of countries, oceans, rivers, gulfs, peninsulas and islands to the planisphere. The planisphere showed the sources of the Nilea€”not explored by Europeans until the 19th century, but evidently known to 12th century Muslim travelersa€”and the cities of central Sudan.
Al-Idrisi described the lost city of Ghana (near Timbuktu, on the Niger) as the most considerable, the most densely peopled, and the largest trading center of the Negro countries. Few cities are comparable in the solidity and height of buildings, the beauty of the surrounding country, and the fertility of the lands watered by the Tagus. The Norwegians had to harvest their grain when it was still green and dry it at their hearths since the sun shines very rarely upon them. Because the inhabitants of Africa and Europe waged continual warfare, Alexander decided to separate them by a canal, which he cut between Tangier and al-Andalus (southern Spain). A passionate art collector, Juba was also interested in science and technology, inventing a new method of making purple dye from the orchil plant - and the export of orchil from the Atlantic islands was of economic importance until early this century. But al-Idrisi tells of an attempted expedition to the Canaries in the late 12th century, during the reign of the Almoravid amir Yusuf ibn Tashafin. This is probably Tenerife, and the round mountain would be the 3,600-meter-high (12,000-foot) volcano called Pico de Teide. Eighty men, all ordinary people, got together and built a large ship and stocked it with enough food and water for several months. The sheep are a problem, for the Azores were uninhabited when settled in the 15th century, and even if we slightly stretch the meaning of the word ghanam, which can also mean a€?goats,a€? we are still left with the problem of the origin of the creatures. There are many rivers and pools, and thickets where donkeys and long-horned cattle take refuge. There used to be a dragon in the area, and the people were forced to feed it with bulls, donkeys or even humans, according to the legend; when Alexander arrived, the people complained to him of the dragona€™s depredations. Al-Sa€™ali is a word that refers to a kind of female demon or vampire; judging by al-Idrisia€™s description of the female inhabitants of the island, it is apt. This story of Alexander and the dragon echoes the Eleventh Labor of Hercules, the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, guarded by the dragon Ladon.
It could be argued that the first six islands, spread over three entire climate zones between the equator and the Strait of Gibraltar, represent the six known Canary Islands, forced into this north-south alignment by the physical constraints of the circular map with its narrow band of the Surrounding Ocean. The first two islands are the Canary Islands, properly shown in the first climate zone and carried forward from Ptolemya€™s map as the Fortunate Islands or Islands of the Blest.
This story may be a borrowing from Greek mythology, where a dragon guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides. In the 1400a€™s, therefore, Christopher Columbus had to rely on other sources of information.
Unlike a multitude of Arabic writings of far less intrinsic value, the Rogerian Description found no Gerard of Cremona (translator of Ptolemy into Latin) to put it into Latin, and the authoritative geographical knowledge of the Western world was destined to develop unenriched by the treasures which Roger and Idrisi together had amassed. Gog and Magog appeared on Arabian maps as Yajoj wa Majoj from the 10th century; they appear on Al-Idrisia€™s map of 1154 under the same names. The climate numbers are given along the vertical axis, and the ten longitudinal divisions are given across the top. The text was accompanied by 71 part maps, a world map and 70 sectional itinerary maps, representing the seven climates each divided longitudinally into 10 sections.
From its literal meaning in Greek it also signifies the plant ox-tongue, so called from its shape and roughness of its leaves. Conventionally holds a mirror in one hand, combing lovely hair with the other According to myth created by Ea, Babylonian water god. The large city at the top edge is Babylon (its description is the map's longest legend [A§181). 12-30.A  The conservator Christopher Clarkson drew my attention to the gouge in the Mapa€™s former frame.
Talbert (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), which I employ throughout my book, but with the caution that in dealing with the manuscript culture of medieval Europe, it is misleading and anachronistic to speak of a€?standarda€? or a€?correcta€? spellings, especially of geographical words. Casual visitors to the dark aisle where it hung could see only a dark, dirty image which they were encouraged to view in a pious, but also rather condescending manner.
Crone of the Royal Geographical Society, revealed that despite the antiquity of many of the map's sources much was almost contemporary with the map's creation and was secular. Much of the text that follows is an amplification of information panels and leaflets prepared for the British Library's current display of the map. Most medieval mapmakers seem to have accepted this constraint, but world maps showing four continents are not uncommon: notably the world maps created by Beatus of Liebana (#207) in the late 8th century to illustrate his Commentary on the Apocalypse of St.
It may have incorporated information from an earlier survey commissioned by Julius Caesar and, to judge from some early references, it may originally have shown four continents. These texts owed much to classical writers, particularly Pliny the Elder (23-79), who himself derived much of his information from still earlier writers such as the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus. As befitted the encyclopedic texts that they illustrated, the maps became visual encyclopedias of human and divine knowledge and not mere geographical maps. Many were purely schematic and symbolic, showing a T, representing the Mediterranean, the Don and the Nile, surrounded by an 0, for the great ocean encircling the world, sometimes with a fourth continent being added. It was only from about 1120 that Jerusalem took Oclos' place as the focal point of the map, as it does on the Hereford Mappamundi. They retained and expanded the geographical and historical elements of the older maps - coastlines, layout and place names on the maps frequently reveal their ancestry - but to them they added several novel features. Inscriptions of varying lengths amplified the pictures and sometimes contained references to their sources. Much better preserved, until its destruction in 1943, was the famous Ebstorf world map of about 1235.


It is difficult to account otherwise for the striking similarities in detailed arrangement and content between the Psalter world map, the recently discovered 'Duchy of Cornwall' fragment (probably commissioned in about 1285 by a cousin of Edward I for his foundation, Ashridge College in Hertfordshire) and the Aslake world map fragments of about 1360. In many of its details it particularly resembles the Anglo-Saxon World Map of about 1000 and the twelfth century Henry of Mainz world map in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
As a young man with poetic pretensions he had written student verse celebrating wine and good company, but in the course of his journeys he had discovered his real passion: geography. The occupying Arabs had built dams, irrigation systems, reservoirs and water towers, introduced new cropsa€”oranges and lemons, cotton, date palms, ricea€”and exploited the islanda€™s mines and fishing grounds. Nor is there any limit to his knowledge of the sciences, so deeply and wisely has he studied them in every particular. The Garden of Eden and Paradise were at the top and Jerusalem at the center, while fabulous monsters occupied the unexplored regionsa€”Sirens, dragons, men with dogsa€™ heads, men with feet shaped like umbrellas with which they protected themselves from the sun while lying down (see #205, #207, #224, #226). The mission he entrusted to al-Idrisi was intellectually Herculean: to collect and evaluate all available geographical knowledgea€”from books and from on-the-spot observersa€”and to organize it into an accurate and meaningful representation of the world.
Muslim merchants, pilgrims and officials used so-called a€?road booksa€?, itineraries that described routes, traveling conditions and cities along the way.
What was the climate of the country, its rivers and lakes, mountains, coastal configurations and soil? All creatures are stable on the surface of the earth, the air attracting what is light, the earth what is heavy, as the magnet attracts iron. The mathematician al-Khwarizmi reduced Ptolemya€™s estimate of the length of the Mediterranean Sea from 62 to 52 degrees; the Spanish Muslim astronomer al-Zarqali further adjusted the figure to the correct 42 degrees. Roger II of Sicily had his world map drawn on a six-foot diameter circle of silver weighing about 450 pounds. The Baltic area and Poland were represented much more precisely than on Ptolemya€™s maps, showing the fruit of the geographersa€™ investigations. In the fourth section of the first climate, al-Idrisi located the sources of the Nile in their approximately correct position, though he pictured the Nile of the Negroes as joining the Egyptian Nile at that point. The gardens of Toledo are laced with canals on which are erected water wheels used in irrigating the orchards, which produce in prodigious quantity fruits of inexpressible beauty and quality.
Juba populated the Canaries with Berber-speaking colonists, perhaps the ancestors of the Guanches.
The admiral in charge of the expedition died just as it was about to set out, so the venture came to nothing. Then they set sail with the first gentle easterly and sailed for about eleven daya€™s, until they came to a sea with heavy waves, evil-smelling, ridden with reefs and with very little light.
The a€?sea with heavy waves, evil-smelling, ridden with reefs and with very little lighta€? can probably be ignored, for the passage is influenced by the a€?land of darknessa€? thought to exist in the farthest West, and the reefs may echo a passage in Platoa€™s Timeus which speaks of the shallows in the Atlantic marking the site where Atlantis sank. No large mammals are indigenous to the Azores, and sheep or goats could only have been brought to the island by previous mariners. In the Arabic-speaking world, popular legend transferred a number of the heroic deeds of Hercules to Alexander - including the building of a land bridge across the Pillars of Hercules.
The wood is deep black, and merchants come to the island to harvest it and then sell it to the kings of the farthest West.
The same linear arrangement of islands appears on 14th century maps such as the 1351Laurentian portolano (Book III, #233), and, a full century later, on the Bartolomeo Pareto map (1455), since it was still impossible to determine longitude. The sixth island, shown opposite the entrance to the Mediterranean, would be al-Ghanam [Island of Sheep], Madeira. I think that Babcock comes close, but, rather than the cormorant, the bird referred to is the goshawk [Afar], a species of hawk that closely resembles an eagle and abounds in the Azores, and from which the entire archipelago gets its name. On the Island of Two Heathen Brothers, two pirates lived until they were turned into rocks, and the inhabitants of the Island of Kalhan had the bodies of men and the heads of animals.
Using a globe prepared by a German cartographer named Martin Behaim (Book III, #258), based on Ptolemya€™s miscalculations, Columbus also added in Marco Poloa€™s equally misleading estimates of distances and concluded, incorrectly, that by sailing west from Spain he could reach Japan or India after no more than a 4,000 mile voyage. The consecutive numbers sometimes used to refer to the sectional maps are shown in the upper right corner of each section. Crone points out that this reference has special significance because Augustus had also entrusted his son-in-law, M.
Sometimes identified with Sirens, the mythical enchantresses along coasts of the Mediterranean, who lured sailors to destruction by their singing. Amazon means a€?without a breast,a€? according to tradition these women removed the right breast to use the bow. At the right edge, a looping line shows the route of the wandering Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt; it crosses the Jordan to the left of a naked woman who looks over her shoulder at the sinking cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Dead Sea (she is Lot's wife, turned into a pillar of salt [A§254]. 400), a text that was often attended during the Middle Ages by diagrammatic a€?mapsa€? illustrating the concept.A  See also David Woodward.
Others delved into the question of its authorship, which had previously been assumed to be obvious from the wording on the map itself. The medievalized depiction on the bottom left corner of the Hereford world map of 'Caesar Augustus' commissioning a survey of the world from three surveyors representing the three corners of the world may be based on a muddled - and religiously acceptable - memory of these classical events. Even though the inscriptions on the maps gradually became more and more garbled and the information more and more embellished, distorted, and misunderstood, they nevertheless retained their tenuous links with ancient learning.
More than simple geographical shorthand, such maps were also meant to symbolize the crucifixion, the descent of man from Noah's three sons and the ultimate triumph of Christianity.
Palestine itself was usually enlarged far beyond what, on a modern map, would have been its actual proportions. A note on one of the most famous of them, the Ebstorf, says that it could be used for route planning. Although the maps were still dominated by biblical and classical history and legend, most other information seems to have been acceptable and was accommodated within the traditional framework. Far larger than the Hereford Word Map and much more colorful, it was probably created under the guidance of the itinerant English lawyer, teacher and diplomat, Gervase of Tilbury. In transmission some facts and text became garbled and some inscriptions are gobbled gook or wrong. He is responsible for singular innovations and for marvelous inventions, such as no prince has ever before realized.
His purpose was partly practical, but mostly scientific: to produce a work that would sum up all the contemporary knowledge of the physical world. Other Muslim scholars, like the Iraqi astronomer al-Battani and the Persian al-Biruni (#214.3), composed tables giving the latitudes of leading cities. The works of Al-Idrisi include Nozhat al-mushtaq fi ikhtiraq al-afaq - a compendium of the geographic and sociological knowledge of his time as well as descriptions of his own travels illustrated with over seventy maps; Kharitat al-`alam al-ma`mour min al-ard [Map of the inhabited regions of the earth] wherein he divided the world into seven regions, the first extending from the equator to 23 degrees latitude, and the seventh being from 54 to 63 degrees followed by a region uninhabitable due to cold and snow. The British Isles also were treated with a surprising insight, probably due to contacts between Norman England and Norman Sicily. It is a considerable island, whose shape is that of the head of an ostrich, and where there are flourishing towns, high mountains, great rivers and plains. Gradually, knowledge of the location of the Canaries was lost, even though Lanzarote, the island nearest the North African coast, lies less than 100 kilometers [60 miles] west of the mainland. Al-ldrisi says the admirala€™s curiosity was aroused by smoke rising from the sea in the west, probably the result of volcanic activity. Neither name is Arabic, nor do they appear to be transcriptions of Greek, Latin or Romance - but the fact that these two islands had names at all means mariners must have visited them, and the names are either native designations or hark back to some lost, perhaps oral, source. They were sure they were about to perish, so they changed course to the south and sailed for twelve days, until they came to Sheep Island, There were so many sheep it was impossible to count them, and they ranged freely, with no one to watch them.
The Azores lie almost 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles) west of the coast of Portugal - one-third of the way to America.
Some Greek mythographers thought the Islands of the Hesperides lay off the coast of North Africa, and we have already seen how al-Idrisi associates Alexander with two of the Atlantic islands. The island is said to have been inhabited in the past, but it fell to ruin and serpents infested the land. Al-Sua€™ali and al-Mustashkin both sound completely legendary, but there is nothing legendary about Hasran and Qalhan, which sound as if they might belong together. During the period of rediscovery of the Azores under Prince Henry the Navigator, these birds were supposedly responsible for guiding the sailors to these distant islands. According to one historian, friendly relations were established between the Sultan of Spain and the invaders. The circle one-third of the way from the bottom is Jerusalem, the Map's central point, with a crucifixion scene above it ([A§387-89]). Its images and decoration have been examined from a stylistic standpoint by Nigel Morgan and put into the context of their time, while the late Wilma George examined the animals in the light of her own zoological knowledge [2] The chance discoveries of fragments of other English medieval world maps in recent years [3] have expanded the context within which the Hereford World Map can be examined, and the Royal Academy exhibition, 'The Age of Chivalry' of 1987 enabled the map to be displayed in the company of other non-cartographic artifacts of its own time. Generally, though, it was not difficult to adapt surviving copies of existing, secular world maps to suit the purposes of Christian writers from the 5th century onwards. This was in order to match its historical importance and to accommodate all the information that had to be conveyed.
Christ would, for instance, be shown dominating the world, or the world might even be depicted as the actual body of Christ.
The world was shown as the body of Christ and much space was devoted to the political situation in northern Germany: an area of particular concern to the Duke who may have commissioned it.
Others belonged to a later tradition of systematic geography, like the 10th century scholars Ibn Hawqal (#213) and al-Masa€™udi (#212), who produced books intended as something more than practical guides for the tax collector or the postman: as additions to the fund of human knowledge.
An element of subjectivity entered into the fact that southern Italy was represented as larger than the north, and that Sicily occupied a substantial part of the Western Mediterranean, in contrast to Sardinia and Corsica, which shrank in scale. This country is most fertile; its inhabitants are brave, active and enterprising, but all is in the grip of perpetual winter.
The Greeks called the Canary Islands TA?n MakarA?n NA“soi [The Islands of the Blessed], and they were regarded as the furthest known land to the west. In another passage al-Idrisi gives more details of this island - incidentally showing that a longer account of the voyage of the mugharrirun must have existed.
In the 19th century, Carthaginian coins were found on the most westerly of the islands, Corvo - 31A° west longitude - and although the find has been questioned, the origin of the coins has never been satisfactorily explained. But if the word is Arabic, one would expect it to be preceded by the definite article a€?ala€?. Since the only inhabited islands in the western Atlantic just before the coming of the Europeans were the Canaries, Hasran may belong to that groupa€”unless, of course, it is to be sought in the Caribbean! If the isle of Raqa is indeed one of the Azores, then the discovery of these islands occurred as early as the 10th century.
Carte marine et portulan au XIIe siA?cle:A  Le Liber de existencia riveriarum et forma maris nostri Mediterranei. The amount of space dedicated to the other parts of the world varied according to their traditional historical or biblical importance and the preoccupations of the author of the text that the map illustrated. In addition, scientific expeditions were dispatched to areas on which information was lacking.
Contrary to a still popular misconception that up to the time of Columbus everyone believed the world was flat, many scholars and astronomers since at least the fifth century B.C. Not surprisingly, the best part of both map and text, accurate and detailed, dealt with Sicily itself. It forms an island 300 miles long by 150 miles wide: this is surrounded by the Nile on all sides and at all seasons . Al-Idrisi gave the names of many English towns, principally ports, with the distances between them. They caught some of the sheep and slaughtered them, but the flesh was so bitter they could not eat it. He says Sheep Island is large, shrouded in shadows, and filled with small sheep whose flesh is bitter and inedible.
Corvo is marked on the Canterino map of 1351, where the name occurs as Corvini - considerably before its official discovery. Behind the blue band of the river is a grim array of grotesque figures to indicate the existence of primitive peoples. There may be significance in the soulless mermaid placed in the map close to the unattainable Holy Land, or she may be a possible temptation to sea-faring pilgrims.
Phillott, wrote that it shows a a€?rejection of all that savoured of scientific geography, .
Because of this, space devoted to the author or patron's homeland was often much exaggerated when judged by modern standards, as in the case of England, Wales and Ireland on the Hereford Mappa Mundi. Crone demonstrated, the Hereford also contains sequences of the more important place names along some major thirteenth century commercial and pilgrimage routes. Draftsmen and cartographers accompanied these expeditions so that a visual record of the country could be made.
The greater part of the country is only habitable on the borders of the Nile for the rest of the country . Hastings was a considerable town, densely populated, with many buildings, markets, much industry and commerce; Dover, to the east, was an equally important town not far from the mouth of the river of London, the broad and swiftly flowing Thames. In 1402 the Normans partially conquered them, meeting stiff resistance from the indigenous Guanches. They took some sheepskins and sailed on to the south for another twelve days until they sighted an island.
Nearby is another island, called Raqa, which is the home of a red bird the size of an eagle, which catches fish in its claws and never flies far from the island. Certain adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, from Tales of the Arabian Nights, are almost identical to those of Saint Brendan. On a world map, though, as opposed to the strip itinerary maps produced by Matthew Paris in about 1250, the route planning could only have been very approximate and very much incidental to the main purposes. You may get there sooner or you may not get there as soon as you expected, but you will certainly get there.
In the mid-15th century, the Spanish took control of the Canaries and continued the conquest. The settlers quickly burned down all the forests, so it is now hard to know for certain, but some sort of scented wood may have once grown there.
But whether the Irish borrowed these myths from the Arabs, or vice versa, or if they both obtained them from an earlier common source is a matter of conjecture. Al-Idrisia€™s silver disk, or planisphere, was a form of projection considerably in advance of others of its time. Fighting was still going on when Columbus used the islands as the first stop on all four of his voyages to the Caribbean.
They headed toward it in order to explore and when they were not far offshore, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by boats, which forced their ship to land beside a city on the shore. A king of the Franks heard of this, al-Idrisi adds, and sent a ship to the island to bring him that fruit and some of the birds, but the ship was lost and never returned. 14), which may have resulted from the survey of the provinces ascribed by tradition to Julius Caesar. In the Hereford map they could revel in this pictorial description of the outside world, which taught natural history, classical legends, explained the winds and reinforced their religious beliefs.
The Guanches were not finally subdued until the end of the 16th century, when they and their language virtually disappeared. They saw the men who lived there; they were light-complexioned, with very little facial hair.
And in the ninth century, 70 Muslim scholars, working under the patronage of Caliph al-Maa€™mun, gathered in the Syrian Desert to determine the length of a degree of latitude.
There are arid wastes where one must walk two, four, five, or twelve days before finding water . From the few words of Guanche preserved in the Spanish chronicles, we know they spoke a form of Berber, and were therefore probably descended from Jubaa€™s colonists.
Rather than rely on travelersa€™ guesses of distance, as previous astronomers had done, they used wooden rods to measure the road they traveled until they saw a change of one degree in the elevation of the polestar. Yet when Europeans encountered them, they had no memory of the mainland; having no boats, they were unaware that the other islands in the group were inhabited.
The two upright fingers branching up from the Mediterranean are the Aegean and the Black Sea with the Golden Fleece at its extremity. Their calculation resulted in a figure for the eartha€™s circumference equivalent to 22,422 miles, an error of 3.6 percent, almost as accurate as Eratosthenesa€™ estimate and a considerable improvement over Ptolemya€™s. On the fourth day a man who spoke Arabic entered and asked them who they were and where they were going and what was the name of their country. They told him everything and he said not to worry, and that he was the kinga€™s interpreter.
The next day they were taken into the kinga€™s presence and he asked the same questions they had been asked by the interpreter.
They told him what they had told the interpreter the day before, of how they had embarked upon the ocean in order to find out about it and see the wonders it contained, and how they had come to this place. When dawn broke and the sun rose, we found we were in great pain because we had been so tightly bound. One of them asked us: a€?Do you know how far you are from your country?a€™ a€?No,a€™ we answered.



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