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DESCRIPTION: This highly controversial map has only recently been uncovered (1957) and therefore has only a short history of scholarly analysis.
THE MANUSCRIPT: First brought to the publica€™s attention in 1957 by an Italian bookseller, Enzo Ferrajoli from Barcelona, the document now known as the Vinland map was discovered bound in a thin manuscript text entitled Historia Tartarorum (now commonly referred to as the Tartar Relation). The Tartar Relation, in essence, is a shortened version of the more well-known text entitled Ystoria Mongolorum, which relates the mission of Friar John de Plano Carpini, sent by Pope Innocent IV to a€?the King and People of the Tartarsa€™, which left Lyons in April 1245 and which was away for 30 months.
The fate of the Speculum Historiale was very different, for Vincenta€™s work became a standard reference book on the shelves of monastic libraries and was constantly multiplied during the next two centuries in manuscript form.
According to these same scholars, the Tartar Relation text does have some significance in its own right as an independent primary source for information on Mongol history and legend not to be found in any other Western source. That the map and the manuscript were juxtaposed within their binding from a very early date cannot be doubted. The association of the map with the texts is reinforced by paleographical examination, which has enabled the hands of the map, of its endorsement, and of the texts to be confidently attributed to one and the same scribe. The map depicts, in outline, the three parts of the medieval world: Europe, Africa, and Asia surrounded by ocean, with islands and island-groups in the east and west. In the design of the Old World the map belongs to that class of circular or elliptical world maps in which, during the 14th and 15th centuries, new data were introduced into the traditional mappaemundi of Christian cosmology. Written in Latin on the face of the map are sixty-two geographical names and seven longer legends. Before proceeding to analyze the geographical delineations of the map in detail, we may briefly survey the antecedent materials, cartographic and textual, to which comparative study of it must refer. As noted above, the representation of Europe, Africa, and Asia in the map plainly derives from a circular or oval prototype. Variations of this basic pattern were introduced to admit new geographical information, ideas, or new cartographic concepts. The circular form of the medieval world map, in the hands of some 14th and 15th century cartographers, is superseded by an oval or ovoid; and even in the 14th century rectangular world maps begin to appear, mainly under the influence of nautical cartography. Most of these variations in the form and design of world maps were adapted from the practice of nautical charts and, in the 15th century, of the Ptolemaic maps. If the Vinland map was drawn in the second quarter of the 15th century, and perhaps early in the last decade of that quarter, it would take its place after that of Andrea Bianco and would be contemporary with the output of Leardo, whose three maps are dated 1442, 1448, and 1452 or 1453. As previously noted, the outlines of the three continents form an ellipse or oval, the proportions between the longer horizontal axis and the vertical axis being about 2:1. It is not necessary to assume that the prototype followed by the cartographer was also oval in form.
If the model for the Vinland map corresponded generally in form and content to Andrea Biancoa€™s world map, then the variations introduced by its author are not less significant than the general concordance. Comparison of the geographical outlines of the Vinland map with those of Bianco suggests that its author, while generally following his model, was inclined to exaggerate prominent features, such as capes or peninsulas, and to elaborate, by fanciful a€?squigglesa€?, the drawing of a stretch of featureless coast. EUROPE: With the reservations made in the preceding paragraph, the cartographera€™s representation of the regions embraced by the a€?normala€? portolan chart of the 15th century, the Mediterranean and Black Seas, Western Europe, and the Baltic, closely resembles that of Bianco in his world map, which reflects his own practice in chart making. Scandinavia, as in all maps before the second quarter of the 16th century, lies east-west in both maps; but there is a conspicuous divergence in their treatment of its western end, which both cartographers extend into roughly the longitude of Ireland.
In its delineation of the British Isles, the Vinland map again diverges from that in Biancoa€™s world map.
These differences seem too great to fall within the limits of the license in copying which the author of the Vinland map evidently allowed himself in those parts of his design which agree basically with Biancoa€™s rendering and may derive from a common prototype.
In the Vinland map, Europe is devoid of rivers, save for a very muddled representation of the hydrography of Eastern Europe. The twelve names on the mainland of Europe are, with two exceptions, those of countries or states. AFRICA: The general shape and proportions of Africa, extending across the lower half of the Vinland map, also correspond to a type followed, with variation, in most circular world maps of the 14th and 15th centuries, and deriving ultimately from much earlier medieval and classical models. Alike in the general form of Africa (with one major variation) and in the detailed outlines of the continent, the Vinland map agrees with Biancoa€™s circular map of 1436 (which itself has, in this part, close affinities with the design of Petrus Vesconte). The hydrographic pattern of the African rivers in the Vinland map is a somewhat simplified version of that drawn by Bianco, with the Nile (unnamed) flowing northward from sources in southern Africa to its mouth on the Mediterranean and forking, a little below its springs, to flow westward to two mouths on the Atlantic; the western branch is named magnus [fluuius]. The African nomenclature of the Vinland map, some fourteen names, is conventional, over half the forms corresponding to those of Bianco.
Africa is the continent in which we have noted some striking links between the Vinland map and Biancoa€™s world map of 1436. The great advance in the knowledge which, from the second half of the 13th century, reached southern Europe about the interior of West Africa and the Sudan was reflected in many maps, from the information collected by merchants on the Saharan trade routes and in the markets of Northwest Africa. ASIA: If we are justified in supposing the cartographera€™s prototype to have been circular, he, or the author of the immediate original copied by him, has adapted the shape of Asia, as of Africa, to the oval framework by vertical compression rather than lateral extension. It is in the outline of East Asia that the maker of the Vinland map introduces his most radical change in the representation of the tripartite world which we find in other surviving mappaemundi and particularly (in view of the affinities noted elsewhere) in that of Andrea Bianco. This version of East Asian geography is found in no other extant map, and its relationship to the prototype followed for the rest of the Old World is best seen by comparison with Biancoa€™s delineation, which itself descends from an ancient tradition. It is a striking fact, and one which perhaps does credit to his realism, that, in order to admit into his drawing of the Far East a representation derived from a new source under his hand, he has gone so far as to jettison the Earthly Paradise from the design. The concentration of interest on the Greenland sector has led to the comparative neglect of the Asian section, which has topographical features at least as unusual. The remaining islands of Asia are drawn in the Vinland map very much as by Bianco, with some simplification and generalization, and may be taken to have been in the prototype. Within the restricted space allowed by his revision of the river-pattern and of the coastal outlines, the author of the Vinland map has grouped the majority of his names in two belts from north to south, on either side of the river which runs from the Caspian to the ocean. For Asia the compiler of the Vinland map shows the same conservatism in his use of sources as for Africa; and, apart from the modifications introduced from his reading of the Tartar Relation, this part of the map could very well have been drawn over a century earlier. To the north of the British Isles, the Vinland map marks two islands, presumably representing either the Orkneys and Shetlands or these two groups and the Faeroes. To the west of Ireland the Vinland map has an isolated island, also in Bianco; and to the southwest of England another, drawn by Bianco as a crescent. Further out, and extending north-south from about the latitude of Brittany to about that of Cape Juby, Biancoa€™s world map shows a chain of about a dozen small islands, drawn in conventional portolan style. Further south, the Vinland map lays down the Canaries as seven islands lying off Cape Bojador, with the name Beate lsule fortune. ICELAND, GREENLAND, VINLAND: In the extreme northwest and west of the map are laid down three great islands, named respectively isolanda Ibernica, Gronelada, and Vinlandia Insula a Byarno re et leipho socijis, with a long legend on Bishop Eirik Gnupssona€™s Vinland voyage above the last two. The three islands are drawn in outline, in the same style as the coasts in the rest of the map; and there can be no doubt that the whole map, including this part of it, was drawn at the same time and by a single hand. The land depicted to the west of Greenland in the northwest Atlantic has the following legend (in translation): Island of Vinland discovered by Bjarni and Lief in company. The question a€?what kind of map is this?a€? the answer must be: a very simple map, simple both in intention and in execution. In finding cartographic expression for the geography of his texts, the maker of the map has practiced considerable economy of means. Examination of the nomenclature has suggested that the Vinland map, in the form in which it has survived, is the product of a stage of compilation (the work of the author or cartographer) and a subsequent stage of copying or transcription (the work of a scribe who was perhaps not a cartographer). The process of simplification described above was presumably carried out in the compilation stage. These considerations must govern our judgment of the date and place of origin to be ascribed to the map. The Map was interesting to historians as apparent evidence that Norse voyages of the 11th and 12th centuries were known in the Upper Rhineland in the mid-15th century, and consequently that some continuity of knowledge existed between the early discovery of what we know as America and the rediscovery of western lands in the later 15th century. As a world map the Vinland map does not fit into the framework of medieval cartography as conceived in Western Europe. SOURCES: Analysis of the nomenclature and of its affinities with other maps or texts suggests some general remarks about the Vinland map and about its mode of compilation. In those parts of the map in which (as noted above) the influence of O1 predominates, there are very few names which cannot be traced to it or to the common stock of toponymy found in contemporary cartography (and therefore perhaps in O1). On this assumption, some other names (if they were not in O1) and all the legends (which can hardly have been in O1) must be attributed to the compiler of the map, i.e.
Whether the novelties in the nomenclature of the Atlantic island groups were in O1 or were introduced by the compiler of O2 cannot be determined; the affinities between their delineation in the Vinland map and in surviving charts suggest that the names also may have been found by the compiler in maps which have not survived.
At each stage of derivation, from O1 to O2, and (less probably) from O2 to the Vinland map in its present form, there must have been a process of selection or thinning out of names. The representation of the Atlantic, with Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland, was almost certainly not in the prototype used for the tripartite world, but was added to it by the cartographer from another source or other sources. The world picture of the 14th century, which was taken over into the mappaemundi of the next century, including the prototype used in the Vinland map, owed its general form and plan to geographical concepts of classical origin, confirmed and modified by the authority of the Christian Fathers. On this pattern were to be grafted geographical facts derived from experience and unknown to the creators of the model.
DESCRIPTION: While some earlier scholars would have labeled these maps as a€?the epitome of medieval European cartographya€?, due to the very ecclesiastical form and content, they were, indeed, an exception in this perioda€™s mapmaking. In his recent book, Body-Worlds, Opinicus de Canistris and the Medieval Cartographic Imagination, Karl Whittington writes that on the 31st of March, 1334, this Italian priest named Opinicus de Canistris fell sick.
As mentioned above, Opicinusa€™ drawings survive in two manuscripts, both kept in the Vatican Library in Rome. There is no way of knowing how many other drawings Opicinus completed, and certainly no reason to believe that all or even a majority of his works have survived. Victoria Morsea€™s 1996 doctoral dissertation for the first time performed a large-scale study in order to demonstrate the logic of Opicinusa€™ works.
It was not unusual during the later Middle Ages to bring together the body and the earth in pictorial representations.
The relationship on the page between texts, diagrams, and pictures throughout Opicinusa€™ work is an especially important issue. According to Whittington the captions on most of the drawings seem to interact with them in the following way: Opicinus created the visual material first, usually to address a particular theological question or theme.
The elaborate, complex, and beautiful drawings that Opicinus created in the years following his illness and vision are the subject of this monograph.
What we see, then, is an embodied map a€” a picture of the eartha€™s surface that is also a depiction of human bodies. Opicinusa€™ beliefs and hypotheses about the earthly, the heavenly, and the human are encoded in the very structures of his drawings. Over half of Opicinusa€™ 80 drawings in the Vaticanus and Palatinus manuscripts include at least part of a portolan chart.
Opicinusa€™ body-maps are far more complicated than any of the examples above, and the question of what they mean is more difficult to answer.
In a number of drawings, Opicinus used the most basic form of the body-worlds - presumably the one that he describes having received in his 1334 vision. As in all of Opicinusa€™ drawings of the body-worlds, each figure takes on a specific identity, though in this example these identities are complex. It seems most likely that the figure depicts a sort of hybrid a€” a personification of Christianity, with Christ at its head and its heart, surrounded by elements of the cosmic order. Its chest is bare (we can see the cloak falling away from the shoulder on the northern coast of France), but the lower roundel covers the place where a breast is often revealed in Opicinusa€™ female European figures.
In three folios near the end of the Vaticanus manuscript, Opicinusa€™ cartographic drawings add one more layer of meaning on top of the basic arrangement outlined above: he superimposes a gridded local map of Pavia, his hometown, on top of a single portolan chart.
According to Whittington the precise placement and scale of the two maps is certainly not accidental; the maps have been placed in a precise relation to one another in order to create and explain correspondences between them. In contrast to this relatively simple correspondence, another caption shows how complicated his spatial interpretations could become. As a final word on this drawing, I want to return to one more visual feature: the form of the local city grid. In the two previous examples, Opicinus constructed a drawing using only one portolan chart; on fol. This doubling and mirroring of the portolan chart served a specific purpose: as Victoria Morse has argued, it allowed Opicinus to contrast the world as it was seen and known with the possibility of an alternate world converted to a state of grace.
Each of the four land-figures bears an emblem on its chest a€” these signify the intention or motivation of each character.
On the bottom half of the page, however, similar captions placed on the white chart actually point to cities on that chart, rather than on the one below. Even after all of the figures in the drawing have been identified, its meaning remains elusive. There is one caption on the page that offers a tantalizing comment on its form and content.
This quoted caption outlines the general principle that Opicinus follows in these drawings that employ mirroring or correspondence a€” that the multiplied forms are generators of multiple truths and realities.
Many Vaticanus drawings contain more explicit imagery of birth and reproduction; metaphors of birth and rebirth seem to have been one of Opicinusa€™ primary ways of expressing the spiritual transformation that he underwent following his illness of 1334. The interest in the local ramifications of the pregnancy of the European figure is explored even more closely in two drawings in which Europe is actually pregnant with a tiny map a€” fols. DESCRIPTION: A good example of Protestant theologian Heinrich Buntinga€™s Europa, Europe as a Queen.
This fact not withstanding, it may also claim, during this rather short period, to have undergone more intensive scrutiny and examination in both technical and academic terms than any other single cartographic document in history. This manuscript text and map were copied about the year 1440 by an unknown scribe from earlier originals, since lost. Whereas Carpinia€™s Ystoria is not considered a rare text, no manuscript or printed version of the Tartar Relation has survived, save the one bound with the Vinland map. It is because the Tartar Relation, one, had the good fortune to become embodied in a manuscript of this popular work (possibly a substitute for, or an addition to, Books XXX-XXXII, which also contained an abridgement of Carpinia€™s own account) and, two, because, in general, a bulky manuscript like the Speculum Historiale had a better chance of physical survival than a slender one like Tartar Relation bound separately. Additionally the Tartar Relation does act, partially, as one of the chief sources for some textual legends on the Vinland map with regards to Asia. As part of Vincenta€™s encyclopedia of human knowledge entitled Speculum Majus, Speculum Historiale was included as a chronicle of world history from the time of mana€™s creation to the 13th century, in 32 sections or books. The physical analysis, together with the endorsement of the map, points with a high degree of probability to the further conclusions that the map was drawn immediately after the copying of the texts was completed, and in the same workshop or scriptorium, and that it was designed to illustrate the texts which it accompanied.
Further evidence on their relationship and on its character must be sought in the content of the map. The derivation of the map, in this respect, from a circular or oval prototype is betrayed by the general form of Europe, Africa, and Asia, which are rounded off (or beveled) at the four oblique cardinal points, although the artist had a rectangle to fill with his design.
The whole design is drawn in a coarse inked line, with evident generalization in some parts and considerable elaboration in others. The features named are seas and gulfs, islands and archipelagos, rivers, kingdoms, regions, peoples, and cities. It is, of course, not to be supposed that its anonymous maker had direct access to all surviving earlier works with which his shows any affinity in substance or design; but identification of common elements will help us to reconstruct the source or sources upon which he drew. Even when the world maps of the late Middle Ages, drawn for the most part in the scriptoria of monasteries, attempted a faithful delineation of known geographical facts (outlines of coasts, courses of rivers, location of places), they still respected the conventional pattern which Christian cosmography had in part inherited from the Romans, and, in part, created. The traditional orientation, with east to the top, came to be abandoned by more progressive cartographers, who drew their maps with north to the top (following the fashion of the chart makers) or south to the top (perhaps under the influence of Arab maps). While the work of Leardo is considerably more sophisticated in compilation and more a€?learneda€? in its incorporation of varied geographical materials than that of Bianco, the world maps of both these Venetian cartographers plainly depend for their general design on models of the 14th century. Since the map is oriented with north to the top, the longer axis lies east-west, and the two greater arcs at top and bottom are formed by the north coasts of Europe and Asia and by the coasts of Africa respectively. In fact his map has striking affinities of outline and nomenclature with the circular world map in Andrea Biancoa€™s atlas of 1436 (#241). His personal style of drawing, save perhaps in the outlines of certain large islands, shows no sign of the idiosyncrasies of the draftsmen of the portolan charts, although these have left a clear mark on the execution of Biancoa€™s world map. The orientation and outline of the Mediterranean agree exactly in the two maps, although in the Vinland map it has a considerably greater extension in longitude, in proportion to the overall width of Eurasia. Bianco shows Scandinavia as terminating in an indented coast projecting westward with a large unnamed island off-shore, divided from it by a strait; but the author of the Vinland map has altered the island to a peninsula and the strait into a deep gulf by drawing an isthmus across the south end of the strait. In both, Ireland has the same shape and coastal features, derived from the representation in contemporary Italian charts; and Biancoa€™s version of Great Britain also is that of the portolan chart makers, with the English coasts deeply indented by the Severn and Thames estuaries and the Wash, with a channel or strait separating England and Scotland, and with Scotland drawn as a rough square with little indentation. In view of the novel elements in the northwest part of the map, we must reckon with the possibility, but no more, that its author found this version of the British Isles in a map of the North Atlantic which may have served him as a model for this part of his work and from which may stem not only his representations of Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland, but also his revisions of Scandinavia and Great Britain and of the islands between. The lower course of the Danube is correctly drawn as falling into the Black Sea; but the copyist or compiler appears to have erroneously identified it with the Don (which debouches on the Sea of Azov), for the name Tanais is boldly written just above the river, with a legend about the Russians.
The only European city named in the Vinland map is Rome, while Biancoa€™s world map marks only Paris. The northwest coast was by this date known as far as Cape Bojador, and this section is traced with precision in both maps. Errors made by the anonymous cartographer in common with Bianco, or derived from their common prototype, are the transference of Sinicus mons [Mount Sinai] to the African side of the Red Sea and the location of Imperits Basora [Basra] in the eastern horn of Africa (Bianco also incorrectly places the Old Man of the Mountain (el ueio dala montagna; not in the Vinland map) in Africa instead of Asia). It also seems, although no doubt deceptively, to provide the latest terminus post quem for dating both.
The wealth of detail for this region recorded by Carignano, the Pizzigani, and the Catalan cartographers is wholly absent from Biancoa€™s world map and from the Vinland map.
Thus, in place of the steeply arched northern coast of Eurasia shown by Bianco, we have a flattened curve which abridges the north-south width of the land mass.
The prototype is, in this region, not wholly set aside for traces of it remain but rather adapted to admit a new geographical concept which, significantly enough, can be considered a gloss on the Tartar Relation.
The most prominent of these is the Magnum mare Tartarorum [the Great Sea of the Tartars] set between the eastern shores of the mainland and the three large islands on the margin, and occupying an area approximately one-third of that of continental Asia.
Again, the northernmost of these islands on the Map has the inscription, Insule Sub aquilone zamogedorum, while the text states that the Samoyeds are a€?poverty stricken men who dwell in forestsa€™ on the mainland of Asia. The three small islands in the Persian Gulf appear in both, though Biancoa€™s crescent outline for them (of portolan type) is not reproduced by the anonymous cartographer; the large archipelago depicted by Bianco (again in portolan style) in the Indian Ocean is reduced to four islands, and the two bigger oblong islands to the east of them are in both maps. Instead of Biancoa€™s representation of the Arctic zones of Eurasia (with two zonal chords, delineations of skin-clad inhabitants and coniferous trees, and a descriptive legend), the Vinland map has only the two names frigida pars and Thule ultima. The nomenclature for Asia, with twenty-three names, is richer than that for the other two continents; some names come from the common stock found in other mappaemundi, but the greater number are associated with the information on the Tartars and Central Asia brought back by the Carpini mission. The cartographera€™s neglect to use any information from Marco Polo or from the travelers in his footsteps, notably Odoric of Pordenone, is common to all maps before the Catalan Atlas of 1375 (in which East Asia is drawn entirely from Marco Polo) and to most maps of the first half of the 15th century.
His delineation of them, indeed, closely resembles that in Biancoa€™s world map, which is in turn a generalization, with nomenclature omitted, from the fourth and fifth charts (or fifth and sixth leaves) in his atlas of 1436. The two islands appear, in exactly the same relative positions, in Biancoa€™s world map, although they are absent from the charts of his atlas. These islands, the Azores of 15th century cartography and the Madeira group, are represented in the Vinland map, in more generalized form and without Biancoa€™s characteristic geometrical outlines, by seven islands, having the same orientation and relative position as in Biancoa€™s map, and with the name Desiderate insule.
Their agreement in outline with the two large islands laid down in exactly the same positions at the western edge of Biancoa€™s world map is striking: in particular, the indentation of the east coast of the more northerly island and the peninsular form of its southern end, the squarish northern end of the other (and larger island) and its forked southern end, are common to both maps. That they lie outside the oval framework of the map suggests that they were not in the model, apparently a circular or elliptical mappamundi, which the cartographer followed in his representation of Europe, Africa, and Asia. For this part of the map there are no earlier or contemporary prototypes of kindred character for comparison, and indeed (except in respect of Iceland) no representations with much apparent analogy can be cited before the late 16th century. It is drawn as a rough rectangle, with a prominent west-pointing peninsula in the northwest, the EW axis being considerably longer than the N-S axis.
The northernmost point of Vinland is shown in about the same latitude as the south coast of Iceland and somewhat lower than the north coast of Greenland; and its southernmost point in about the latitude of Brittany. Residual from the representation described under the previous name, the large elliptical island being suppressed.
Buyslaua = Breslau (Bratislava), where Carpinia€™s party stopped on the outward journey and was joined by Friar Benedict.
Ayran (NE of the Caspian) Perhaps Sairam in Turkestan, a station on the old highway, east of Chimkent and N.E. Vinlanda Insula a Byarno re pa et leipho socijs [Island of Vinland, discovered by Bjarni and Leif in company].
The links between the map and the surviving texts which accompany it strongly suggest that it was designed to illustrate C.
There is a decided incongruity between, on the one hand, the care and finish which characterize the writing of the names and legends, with their generally correct Latinity, and, on the other hand, the occurrence of onomastic errors which knowledge of current maps and geographical texts or reference to the prototype used by the compiler would have corrected. If we are justified in supposing the scribe who made the surviving transcript of the map to have been ignorant or naive in matters of geography, the draft which he had before him for copying must have been the product of selection and combination already exercised by the compiler. The evidence, internal and external, which indicates that the manuscripts were produced in the Upper Rhineland in the second quarter of the 15th century can only apply to the map included in the codex.
In its representation of Europe, Africa, and Asia it can be referred to, and collated with, not only extant cartographic works of similar character and design, but also a text which is bound in the same volume and to which its content is clearly related. This information was limited in its scholarly impact by the failure of historians to find any other evidence of continuity or to discover that the evidence contained in the Map had ever been known to anyone concerned with exploration either before Columbusa€™s voyage or after.
In respect of toponymy, as of outline and design, the correspondences between this map and Biancoa€™s world map of 1436 are almost certainly too extensive to be explained by coincidence. Some of these anomalies (Aipusia, aben, Maori) are plainly the product of truncation or corruption in transcription, and indicate that the draftsman lacked the knowledge to correct his own errors in copying. In Asia however, while a number of names and the basic geographical design derive from O1, the authority of the Tartar Relation of other Carpini information generally prevails in the toponymy. The names for Iceland and Greenland may point to literary sources, perhaps of Norse origin (these names, however may have been in cartographic sources used by the compiler); so, with more certainty, do the name and legends relating to Vinland. For Europe and Africa, Biancoa€™s world map has considerably more names than the Vinland map; in Asia the balance is redressed by the introduction of names from the Tartar Relation. The lucky accident that his sources for the Old World can be easily identified or reconstructed allows us to hazard some inferences about his treatment of his sources for the Atlantic part of his map.
Patristic geography, as formulated in the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville (7th century, #205), envisaged the habitable world as a disc, the orbis terrarum of the Romans encircled by the Ocean and divided into three unequal parts, Europe and Africa occupying one half and Asia the other half of the orbis, with the Earthly Paradise in the east. Opicinus was a minor functionary and scribe at the papal court, which had moved to Avignon some thirty years earlier, and luckily for us he kept a kind of day-book that still survives. Numerous scholars such as Camille, Kris and Salomon point to Opicinusa€™ a€?frequenta€? self-representation in the drawings. Medieval mappaemundi often organized the land-forms of the earth around the shape of a crucifix (sometimes even a cruciform body), medieval astrological drawings commonly showed human figures at the center of cosmic and planetary networks, and the concepts of macrocosm and microcosm had been fully developed for a millennium. It is possible, and productive, to partially separate Opicinusa€™ texts from his diagrams and pictures, especially those that represent his body-worlds vision.
Opicinusa€™ works present a conundrum when it comes to audience and reception, since there is no textual or visual evidence that anyone ever actually saw the drawings. Their unusual forms complicate our most basic assumptions about what and how medieval artists could represent. These structures form the core of the drawingsa€™ disorientation and strangeness a€” maps are piled on top of other maps, sometimes transparent and sometimes opaque, in a seemingly endless play of permeability and superimposition. Some drawings contain one chart, others up to four; sometimes the continents and seas are embodied, while other times they are left plain. His drawings are so diverse and disorienting that generalizations about their design or meaning are difficult and often misleading.
These drawings depict a single Africa and a single Europe, separated by the Mediterranean Sea. The figure of Africa appears to be a woman; she is labeled Babilon maledicta [cursed Babylon] by the small caption above her forehead. Captions suggest various identities: Christ, Opicinus, and a female personification of prudence are all indicated. The face is smooth and beardless (many male figures in Opicinusa€™ work wear beards), and has long, flowing hair.
According to Whittington it is mainly a confrontation between two figures: a figure of Babylon (probably representing Islam) and a figure of Christianity. This interplay between the local and the global is not unusual within Opicinusa€™ texts and captions on other drawings, which often comment on the everyday world of his youth and family (we must remember that he made these drawings in Avignon, not Pavia), but the specific visual alignment of parts of Pavia with parts of the Mediterranean region is unique in these three drawings. In the bottom right corner of the page is a caption that reads, a€?Just as the islands of purgatory pay a tax to the Roman Church, so too the Chapel of St. Opicinus seems to say that when any two maps are placed in relation to each other, if they are true empirical representations of Goda€™s created earth, one will find correspondences between them. One interprets the significance of the placement of Opicinusa€™ home parish district, around the Chapel of Saint Mary, delineated with a red outline near Tunisia and Sicily on the lower map. 84v each part of Opicinusa€™ hometown is given multiple interpretations, usually based on its placement on the portolan chart, but other times simply based on etymological connections, family stories, dreams, or coincidence. Certainly the drawing contains multiple levels of reality: it is an allegorical depiction of three body-world characters in contact and dialogue, a depiction of the structural connections between local and regional realities, and a series of interpretive musings about the significance of these connections for Opicinusa€™ own life and family. As the reader may already have noticed, this grid strongly evokes the rhumb-line grids that were placed over contemporary portolan charts.
61r he uses the skeletons of two portolan charts of the Mediterranean region, which have been rotated and overlapped to form one image.
61r, parts of each of the charts remain intact, while others are distorted or hidden by the overlapping forms. In this particular example, the map shows the natural world at the bottom and the spiritual world at the top: labels on the drawing indicate that Affrica naturalis ypocrita and Europa naturalis occupy the continents of the smaller chart while Affrica spiritualis and Europa spiritualis talk to each other in the larger chart above. Europa naturalis bears a tarasque (a river demon from the Rhone) and Europa spiritualis contains an image of Christ showing his wounds, his side-wound situated suggestively close to Avignon, where Opicinus was living when he made the drawing. The message itself is simple enough: one must abandon the external senses that lead to sin in order to follow the internal senses to redemption. 58r of the Vaticanus Opicinus combines four small embodied portolan charts to create juxtapositions between the four seasons, the four cardinal directions, and the four states of the soul.


82r, we see many of the principles and techniques of the other drawings pushed to the limits of recognition and interpretability. On its surface lie two complete portolan outlines that retain the white color of the paper.
On the upper half of the page, the brown labels all point out the location of cities on the colored chart, even though all lie on the space of the white chart; they indicate the continued presence of the map below, even when it is obscured by the upper chart. At the precise center of the drawing, a cruciform shape is formed by the two mirrored shapes of Asia Minor and the Holy Land; Asia Minor forms the two arms, and the land below forms the body of a cruciform vestment.
While other drawings seem designed to convey a single allegory or a primary confrontation between figures (which are often reinforced by the particular cartographic forms that Opicinus chose for the drawing), this drawing resists this type of analysis.
According to the letter, this is a heretical position, since one species cannot be transformed into another. 84v, there are several depictions (or suggestions) of male genitalia in the Vaticanus manuscript, each of which is unique. 1350), a Pavian who worked at the papal court in Avignon, drew a series of imaginative maps, while acknowledging in a text written between 1334 and 1338 his use of nautical charts. Interest has been virtually international in scope and has covered every aspect pertinent to a document purported to be of seminal historical significance: its historical context, linguistics, paleography, cartography, paper, ink, binding, a€?worminga€?, provenance or pedigree, etc.
The Tartar Relation itself was initially bound as part of a series of volumes containing 32 books of Vincent of Beauvaisa€™ (1190-1264) Speculum Historiale [Mirror of History]. Clearly, Painter points out, any circulation that the Tartar Relation may have had in separate form was too limited, in view of the normal wastage of medieval manuscripts, to ensure its transmission to the present day. Based upon various internal and external evidence, it is likely that the juxtaposition of the Speculum Historiale and Tartar Relation first occurred prior to the drafting of the Yale manuscript of 1440, but sometime after the 1255 date of the original production of the Speculum, so that the Yale manuscript is itself a copy of an earlier manuscript, now unknown, in which the Speculum Historiale, Tartar Relation and Vinland map were already conjoined. The Yale manuscript contains only Books XXI-XXIV, and comparative calculations indicate that 65 leaves are missing that could account for the table and text of Book XX (these four Books cover the history from 411 A.D. The physical association of the map with the manuscript is demonstrated beyond question by three pairs of wormholes which penetrate its two leaves and are in precise register with those in the opening text leaves of the Speculum.
These texts may have included, in addition to the surviving books (XXI-XXIV) of the Speculum and the Tartar Relation, other books of the Speculum conjectured to have formed the missing quires and a lost final volume of the original codex. The nomenclature is densest in Asia, where it is largely borrowed from the Tartar Relation or a similar text. Moreover, in the light thrown on the cartographera€™s work-methods and professional personality by his treatment of sources which are to some extent known, we may visualize his mode of compilation or construction from materials which have not come down to us. The elliptical outline is interrupted, in its western quadrant, by the Atlantic Ocean and by the gulfs or seas of Western Europe, and in its eastern by a great gulf named Magnum mare Tartarorum; the curvilinear outline is however continued southeastward from Northern Asia by the coasts of the large islands at the outer edge of this gulf. The features common to both maps, and in some cases peculiar to them, are sufficiently numerous and marked (as their detailed analysis will demonstrate) to place it beyond reasonable doubt that the author of the Vinland map had under his eyes, if not Biancoa€™s world map, one which was very similar to it or which served as a common original for both maps. Some apparent differences in the rendering of particular major regions in the Vinland map, which may be due to the use of a different cartographic prototype or simply to negligence by the copyist, are discussed in the detailed analysis which follows. The distinctive shapes in which Bianco draws the Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Seas reappear in the Vinland map. This seems a more probable explanation of the feature than to suppose that it represents the gulf of the northern ocean supposed by medieval geographers to cut into the Scandinavian coast and drawn in various forms by cartographers of the 14th and 15th centuries, from Vesconte to Fra Mauro. The a€?Danubea€? is shown as rising just south of the Baltic and turning eastward in about the position of Poland; at this point it forks, and a branch flows in a general southeasterly direction to fall into the Aegean. Beyond it the coast line, conventionally drawn, trends southeastward with two estuaries or bays similarly shown by both cartographers, although the anonymous map has a slight difference in the river pattern.
They have in common the precise tracing of the northwest coast as far south as Cape Bojador, and if they shared a common prototype, this (it might be supposed) could not have been executed before the voyage of Gil Eannes in 1434. The latter repeats Biancoa€™s anachronistic reference to the Beni-Marin and his erroneous location of two names; but these aberrations, which appear to be peculiar to Bianco, do not help in dating.
This concept is the Magnum mare Tartarorum with, lying beyond it and within the encircling ocean, three large islands which appear to derive from the cartographera€™s interpretation of passages in C.
This great sea is connected in the north with the world ocean by a passage named as mare Occeanum Orientale [the eastern ocean sea].
The Tartar Relation also states that the Tartars have one city called a€?Caracarona€™ (Karakorum) but this city does not appear on the Vinland map. The elimination of East Asia by the western shoreline of the Sea of the Tartars has affected the distribution of place names in the Vinland map and its delineation of the hydrography. The location and arrangement of the names cannot, in general, be connected with Carpinia€™s itinerary (or any other itinerary order), nor with any systematic conception of Central Asian geography. The affinity between the two world maps, in this respect, is so marked as to distinguish them from all other surviving 15th century maps and to confirm the hypothesis that one has been copied from the other or that both go back to a common model for their drawing of the Atlantic islands. These islands (unnamed in the two world maps) are Satanaxes and Antillia, which make their first appearance in a map of 1424 and have been the subject of extensive discussion by historians of cartography. Greenland, somewhat larger than Iceland, is dog-legged in shape, with its greatest extension from north to south. Between these points Vinland is drawn as an elongated island, the greatest width being roughly a third of the overall length; the somewhat wavy details of the outline, if compared with this cartographera€™s technique in other parts of his map, seem to be conventional rather than realistic. To facilitate location of the name and legends on the original map, numbers have been added, keying them to the reproduction at the end of this section. Presumably intended for the Orkneys and Shetlands, or one of these groups and the Faeroes]. The form (for Dania) common in mediaeval cartography, and found in many charts and world maps. Mediaeval world maps commonly show a pair of such legends, indicating the regions, outside the oikoumene, too cold or too hot for human habitation. Although the second word is truncated, no trace of further letters can be seen in ultraviolet light.
The name is, however, placed too far inland and too far east for Mauretania, and this may be a corruption of another name in the prototype, e.g.
The concept of the Western Nile, or a€?Nile of the Negroesa€?, represented in mediaeval cartography arose from the identification of the Niger, by some classical writers, as a western branch of the Nile and from subsequent confusion of the Niger, the Senegal, and the Rio do Ouro (south of C.
Although of diverse languages it is said that they believe in one God and in our Lord Jesus Christ and have churches in which they can pray]. The remaining children of Israel also, admonished by God, crossed toward the mountains of Hemmodi, which they could not surmount]. This name is placed in the approximate position of India media of Andrea Bianco, who (like most medieval geographers) distinguished three Indiasa€”minor, media, and superior. According to Carpini, one of the nations of the Mongols: a€?a€¦ Su-Mongal, or Water-Mongols, though they called themselves Tartars from a certain river which flows through their country and which is called Tatar (or Tartar)a€?. The Khitai, who ruled in China for three centuries before the Mongol conquests under Ogedei and Kublai, a€?originated the name of Khitai, Khata or Cathay, by which for nearly 1,000 years China has been known to the nations of Inner Asiaa€?. Carpinia€™s statement that a€?they called themselves Tartars from a certain river which flowed through their countrya€? (see above, under Zumoal) reflects the opinion of other 13th century writers, such as Matthew Paris. In medieval cartography generally Thule is represented as an island north or NW of Great Britain; some writers identified it as Iceland.
The name and delineation probably embody the mapmakera€™s interpretation of what he had read or been told of the Caspian Sea. The last phrase of the legend is inconsistent with the geographical ideas of the Mongols, contrasting with those of the Franks, as reported by Rubruck: a€?as to the ocean sea they [the Tartars] were quite unable to understand that it was endless, without boundsa€?. These islands, and the Postreme Insule, are associated with the cartographic concepts in the two preceding legends (see notes on Magnum mare Tartarorum and on Tartari a rmant .
This is written in the center (between the fourth and fifth, counting from the north) of the chain of seven unnamed islands extending in a line N-S from the latitude of Brittany to that of C.
The name is placed westward of, and between, two large unnamed islands, to which it plainly refers. In no other map or text is the form Isolanda found, or the epithet Ibernica annexed to the name for Iceland.
The Icelandic name Groenland, in variant forms (including the latinization Terra viridis), is used in all early textual sources. 1001 rest on the sole authority of the a€?Tale of the Greenlandersa€? in the 14th-century Flatey Book. What other undetected changes or corruptions the copyist may have introduced into the final draft we cannot tell, since his original, the compilera€™s preliminary draft, is lost.
For its delineation of lands in the north and west Atlantic, the cartographic prototypes (if it had any) either have not survived or have been so transformed as to be difficult to identify; and if the codex once included a text relating to these lands, this too has now disappeared.
Finally, the inscriptions on Greenland and Vinland in the Map offered a few scraps of information which differed somewhat from what was commonly accepted. 1440 on the argument that it is in the same hand as the Tartar Relation, of which the Map is held to be an integral part. It seems to be an inescapable inference that the author of the Vinland map (or of its immediate original) employed no eclectic method of selection and compilation from a variety of sources, but was content to draw on a single map, which must have been very like Biancoa€™s, for the majority of the names, as well as the outlines, in Europe, Africa, and part of Asia.
Thus, in Europe, Ierlanda insula may perhaps arise from his misinterpretation of O1 or of some other map in which the names for Ireland and for the islands north of Scotland misled him; and Buyslava may come from the reports of the Carpini mission. The degradation of names from this source points again to carelessness or ignorance in the copyist, although in one instance - Gogus, Magog - he, or the compiler of O2, has emended the debased form (moagog) in the Tartar Relation by reference to O1. In the absence of the prototype O1, we cannot say whether its author or the compiler of the Vinland map was responsible for introducing the few names in the Old World which must have come from classical or medieval literary sources and the nomenclature for the Atlantic islands. His apparent preference for the simple solution or the single source admits the possibility that the western part of his map also derives, in the main, from one prototype rather than that it combines features from several; it may have been modified by interpolation or correction from another source (as is the representation of Asia from the Tartar Relation), and this too must be taken into account. This theoretical and schematic construction did not necessarily imply belief in a a€?flat eartha€?, although it is uncertain whether Isidore himself admitted the sphericity of the earth. In a passage that describes what sounds like a stroke, Opicinus details how his body slowly became paralyzed; he temporarily lost his ability to speak, and much of his memory. Opicinus almost always dated the Vaticanus drawings, which were composed between June and November of 1337. The passage describes a visionary experience: through oculus meis interioribus, Opicinus is granted a new view of the earth, one in which the land and the sea take on human attributes. Most examples, however, lie in the realm of the theoretical, the academic, or the theological. A significant problem with many previous studies of Opicinusa€™ drawings is that they take a few lines of text, from folios of the Palatinus, or from distant pages of text in the Vaticanus, and use them to a€?explaina€? the content of Opicinusa€™ strangest imagery. The captions (and some of the texts), then, are often the evidence of Opicinusa€™ self-analysis a€” he uses himself as a case study, personalizing the drawings through the text. Simply put, we do not know if they were ever viewed as more than a curiosity by those who encountered them. Visual parallels to these drawings certainly exist: body-maps have been produced in numerous periods, including such famous examples as the Ebstorf Map (#224, Book II, a medieval world map that placed Christa€™s body in the corners of the earth), the Leo Belgicus (a map of the Netherlands and Belgium formed into the shape of a lion, the earliest example of which dates from 1583), or the Europa Regina, a depiction of Europe as a royal female (see below). In these drawings, Opicinus was not trying to express a single concept or doctrine, but rather to visualize the possibilities raised by an entire new way of looking at the world, based on what he had seen during his visionary experience of 1334. The varied formats of these diagrams cannot be taken for granted a€” their arrangements form a crucial and underexplored aspect of their meaning. But looking at them as a group, perhaps the first thing one notices is that the map itself is incredibly accurate. The drawings in this first a€?categorya€? are not all alike, and there is no evidence that Opicinus thought of them as a group, but finding language to describe and categorize their forms is a critical first step in their interpretation. This folio includes a cartographic picture in the upper two-thirds of the page, and text at the bottom.
She is a rare example of a figure with a distinct racial identity: Opicinus darkened her skin with a grey-brown wash, in a clear reference to an African or Middle-Eastern skin tone.
One could even identify Europe in this drawing as a kind of conglomerate figure of Christianity.
The strongest indicator that the figure is female is the small child lying over Lombardy a€” the area always associated with the womb of the European figure. The simplicity of this contrast stands out despite the extensive texts and interpretations written around it. Binary themes in similar drawings include a contrast between the mouth of hell and the temple of the Lord (fol.
Opicinus played with this arrangement differently in each of the three drawings, changing the scales and position of the two maps, presumably seeking different correspondences. On the page we see the body-worlds with which we are now familiar: here, a female Europe confronts a female Africa, and the Mediterranean devil lies between them, his head to the east.
84r, in which the scale of the portolan chart is completely different (much smaller in comparison to the grid of Pavia); here, Opicinus identifies different correspondences and comes to different conclusions as a result of the change in scale. Yet the drawing is all about experimentation, layering, and play; to claim that creating or interpreting a drawing like this is a burden or struggle may be a modern misperception. But Opicinus piles on meanings, multiplies forms, and plays with realities seemingly as a form of experimentation.
The grid may offer a clue to Opicinusa€™ working process, or the way he was inspired to create these drawings.
Each of the two charts is rendered in a different scale, with a larger one oriented toward the top of the page and a smaller one pointed toward the bottom. On each map, the western Mediterranean retains its integrity a€” France, Spain, and the northwestern coast of Africa are clearly visible both at the top and the bottom of the page. In the Italian peninsula of the upper map, for example, which is overlapped by the eastern Mediterranean of the lower map, we see the word Roma written over the sea (on the sea-mana€™s forehead), signaling where the city would have been on the map below. Both figures of the a€?natural worlda€? are male (a bearded, older figure in Europe and a tonsured monk in Africa), while both of the a€?spirituala€? figures are female (Africa is a robed nun and Europe is a younger woman with long, flowing hair).
The question, just as in the previous examples, is how its meaning is changed, activated, complicated, or simplified by its construction within the doubled and overlapped forms of the portolan charts. Within the drawing, small lines suggest points of correspondence between elements in each of the four quadrants. The three previous drawings were characteristic of a particular type; in contrast, this drawing is unique in Opicinusa€™ oeuvre.
At the top of the page are two labels for Europe and Africa: Europe is the aduena rector novus, the strange new priest, and Africa is the parrochia aliena, the parish of another.
This is labeled in a caption on the right side of the page, which reads a€?behold the vestment of the Church soaked in blood.a€? Opicinus accentuated the form of the vestment by adding a small cutout for the neck. The longer captions on this folio do not always contain a single focus, and many make no comment at all on the drawing.
But spiritually there is truth in this mirror [i.e., in this drawing], since no heresy, fiction or allegory can be found that in this mirror does not give birth, at least in part, to a certain truth?
Here, Opicinus seems to say that men do not transition literally into angels of light or darkness a€” the figures of the priest and parish at the top of the page do not actually become the figures at the bottom of the page. Even as Opicinusa€™ drawings make use of the natural world and empirical science, the arrangement of their forms expresses the detachment from reality that characterizes a dream. At first, we would not identify these as genitalia a€” they are simply two small, robed bodies that stand within the genital region of the European body.
Four of these drawings depict the body-worlds, and the reproduction always takes place within the body of the European figure.
In each of these drawings, Opicinus drew a small copy of the body-worlds over the area of Lombardy, even extending it slightly into the sea near Genoa. The choice of the name Vinland and the appearance of this Norse discovery prominently displayed on the map was what attracted such immense popular and scholarly attention. All indications (paper, binding, paleography, etc.) point to an Upper Rhineland (Basle?) source of origin for the present three-part manuscript. This foregoing explanation or scenario has been the one put forward by the a€?believersa€™. The sources of all of the names and each of the legends are examined in great detail in Skelton, et ala€™s The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation.
We may even catch a glimpse of these materials, as they are reflected in the Vinland map, and of the channels by which they could have reached a workshop in Southern Europe (this assumes that the ascription of the manuscript to a scriptorium of the Upper Rhineland is valid).
The only parts of the design which fall outside the elliptical framework are the representations of Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland, in the west, and (less certainly) the outermost Atlantic islands and the northwest-pointing peninsular extension of Scandinavia. If this original was circular, the anonymous cartographera€™s elongation of the outline to form an ellipse may be explained by his choice of a pattern into which elements not in the original, notably his delineation of Greenland and Vinland and his elaboration of the geography of Asia, could be conveniently fitted, perhaps also, or alternatively, by the need to fill the rectangular space provided by the opening of a codex. The Peloponnese and the peninsula in the southwest of Asia Minor are treated with the anonymous cartographera€™s customary exaggeration. On the source of this farrago, which is in marked contrast with the relatively correct river pattern drawn in Central Europe by Bianco and the chart makers, it is perhaps idle to speculate; it seems to involve a confusion of the Oder, the lower Danube, and the Struma. Yet this section of coast had been laid down in very similar form on earlier maps; as Kimble puts it, a€?Cape Non ceased to be a€?Caput finis Africaa€™ about the middle of the 14th centurya€?, and a€?the ocean coast as far as Cape Bojador (more correctly, as far as the cove on its southern side) was known and mapped from the time of the Pizzigani portolan chart (1367)a€™a€™. Nor was the transference of the Prester John legend to Africa a novelty in the middle of the 15th century. Against the most northerly island is inscribed Insule Sub aquilone zamogedorum [Northern islands of the Samoyeds]; then in the center Magnum mare Tartarorum.
It may be recalled here that there is nothing in the Tartar Relation referring to Greenland and Vinland. The four streams issuing from Eden, shown by Bianco as the headwaters of two rivers flowing west and falling into the Caspian Sea from the northeast and south, have disappeared from the Vinland map, in which we see only the two truncated rivers entering the Caspian from the east and south respectively.
They appear, rather, to be dictated by the cartographera€™s need to lay down names where the design of the map allowed room for them. In point of date, Biancoa€™s atlas of 1436 is the third known work to show the Antillia group, and the fourth chart of the atlas names the two major islands y de la man satanaxio and y de antillia.
Its outline, on the east side, is deeply indented and in the form of a bow, the northeast coast trending generally NW-SE to the most easterly point, and the southeast coast trending NNE-SSW to a conspicuous southernmost promontory, in about the latitude of north Denmark; from this point the west coast runs due north, again with many bays, to an angle (opposite the easternmost point) after which it turns NW and is drawn in a smooth unaccidented line to its furthest north, turning east to form a short section lying WE. The island is divided into three great peninsulas by deep inlets penetrating the east coast and extending almost to the west coast. This legend, the first part of it seems to be distilled from references to the defeat of a€?Nestoriansa€? by Genghis Khan and their diffusion in Asia.
The course of the river of the Tartars, as depicted in the Vinland Map, recalls Rubrucka€™s statement that the Etilia (i.e.
The Vinland Mapa€™s location of the name, in the extreme north of Eurasia, places Thule (as Ptolemy and other classical authors did) under the Arctic Circle. The name Magnum Mare was applied by Carpini and Friar Benedict to the Black Sea while Rubruck called it Mare maius. As the examples already cited show, the name Insulee Sancti Brandani (in variant forms) is commonly ascribed by chart makers to the Azores-Madeira chain. Medieval mapmakers, from the 10th century (Cottonian map, Book II, #210) onward called the Island or Ysland (v.l. This legend on Vinland Map, if it faithfully reproduces a genuine record, accordingly authenticates Bjarnia€™s association with the discovery of Vinland and adds the significant information that he sailed with Leif.
They also prompt the suspicion that missing sections of the original codex may have been illustrated by the other novel part of the map, namely its representation of the lands of Norse discovery and settlement in the north and west of the Atlantic. In a map of this form, drawn like the circular mappaemundi, on no systematic projection, we do not of course expect to find graduation for latitude and longitude, even if the quantitative cartography of Ptolemy had been known to its author. If Biancoa€™s world map be assumed to have resembled, in form and content, the model followed by the compiler for the tripartite world, we can however assess the performance of the final copyist by comparison of his work with Biancoa€™s map, so far as it takes us. Bjarni, it was implied, had accompanied Lief on his first discovery of Vinland; Bishop Henricus, the Eirik of the annals, who was said there to have gone to look for Vinland, was stated to have found it, and at a different date. Some students have been reluctant to accept these propositions; the provenance of the Map had not been established, the nomenclature also presents difficulties, as does the representation of certain topographical features, in particular the accurate delineation of Greenland, a point heavily stressed by the editors of The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation. For convenience of reference, this Bianco-type original, which has not survived, will be cited as O. In Africa, Phazania must have been taken by the author of O1 or from Pliny or Ptolemy; and magnus fluuius (if not a coinage of the cartographer) perhaps from a geographical text of the 14th or early 15th century. The names for Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland, with the legend on Vinland, must, like their delineations, be held not to have been in O1. He returned to these folios frequently in the years that followed a€” many include changes, graphic additions, or new captions, which he dated individually (we find dates from the years 1338-1341, especially).
Morsea€™s other crucial innovation, in addition to asserting the rational and intentional basis of Opicinusa€™ thought, was to place the Vaticanus manuscript at the heart of her research.
Salomon and others characterize the themes of the Vaticanus manuscript as just an extension of those in the Palatinus.
The shapes of Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea each contain (or form) a human figure; these are the forms that Whittington calls a€?body-worlds,a€? and they constitute Opicinusa€™ most original and perplexing contribution to 14th century visual culture.
One of the things that makes Opicinusa€™ drawings so unusual is that they also incorporate a visual tradition that was practical, empirical, and scientific a€” medieval sea charts, usually called portolan charts. He often kept adding to the drawings over many years, including new details or textual explanations, and dating them to a specific day.
As mentioned above, it seems possible that the Vaticanus was never meant to be viewed by others; much of it is arranged chronologically (like a diary), rather than thematically, and the subject matter of the texts and images suggests a private function. The meaning of such imagery obviously depends on context, but these diverse examples demonstrate how a land, country, or region has often been embodied within a human figure, to show the potential power of that space, or even the dominion of a figure over it.
The images of Africa and Europe as human figures were the core of this experience, but the interpretation of the vision was left up to him. According to Whittington the formats of Opicinusa€™ body-world drawings can be grouped into four categories: (1) single portolan charts, (2) portolan charts overlapping with local maps, (3) multiple portolan charts overlapping with each other, and (4) multiple, mirrored portolan charts. The coastlines of the Mediterranean and the relative scale and position of the landforms are almost exactly the same as we know them to be today.
The figure appears to be bare-chested, although no breasts are visible (perhaps they are covered by her long hair). But the label above the head of the figure seems to identify it as Opicinus assuming the identity of a€?the house of God.a€? Another caption in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern coast of France labels the figure as an Ymago Prudentie.
The fact that the face is labeled as Christa€™s would indicate on the surface that the figure is male. Yet beyond the basic characters and the captions, the drawinga€™s meaning is clearly activated or shifted by the placement of the two personifications within the geographical forms of the portolan chart; after all, it is not difficult to imagine a much simpler way to express this confrontation, using only pictures and no maps.
The scene is full of interesting and surprisingly graphic details, many of them interpreted in the marginal texts.
Such interpretations are, I think, meant as models; as Morse demonstrated, Opicinus hoped that the drawings could be used by others to probe their own consciences and personal histories. Many parts of it must have been intentionally humorous, such as the basket for collecting the sea-mana€™s excrement, the graphic sexual organs, the interpretation of the Europe womana€™s pearl earrings, or the depiction of the Africa womana€™s cloak as a green river. Even when texts in the Vaticanus indicated the stressors in Opicinusa€™ life a€”spiritual, moral, legal a€” the drawings remain exploratory and even lighthearted.
Without any words from him on the subject it is impossible to know where such an idea comes from, but perhaps the grids on the portolan chart(s) from which Opicinus was working reminded him of a gridded map of Pavia that he had seen, or perhaps even made. The mapsa€™ superimposition encourages the viewer to seek correlations between them, and Opicinus reinforces these correspondences by drawing actual lines and lines of text to connect various parts. He grafts a spiritual system of correspondences and coordinations onto this new representation of the physical world, but specifically includes details that undermine both systems, seeking instead a negotiation between the two. The rota on the breast of Affrica naturalis shows the mental processes that lead to sin: thinking, imagining, deciding, and delighting in (cogitatio, ymaginatio, electio, delectatio) lead the sinner to consent to sin (consensus peccati). These can either connect the same geographical location between two separate maps (as in the line drawn between the two Carthages on the upper left map and the lower left map), or establish a point of contact between the same physiological parts of two body-worlds on the same map (as in the line drawn between the reproductive areas of the Europe-woman and the Africa-woman in the upper-right map). It contains four complete portolan charts, all the exact same size, placed in careful relation to one another through overlapping and mirroring. This is different from the numerous drawings in the previous category, in which the two charts overlapped one another; here, the two white charts on the surface of the page are both complete diagrams of the region, reflecting one another along an invisible horizontal line in the Holy Land and Asia Minor.
The figures seem to present the encounter between a new priest and his new parish (a situation that Opicinus underwent several times in his early career).
The role of this form in the drawing is ambiguous a€” its cruciform shape and its a€?soaking in blooda€? certainly evoke Christa€™s sacrifice, and its position at the heart of the drawing, precisely where the two white maps are mirrored, suggests that it may be significant in the transition between the two. One caption on the left side of the page is a short rant about the mosquitoes that were bothering Opicinus while he made the drawing, while another, longer text at the lower left is an extended metaphorical description of the penis, describing how, like a heretic disobeying the Church, the penis disobeys the orders of the body.
It is the caption that tells us something different; over their heads are written the words a€?matrixa€? and a€?virgaa€? a€” womb and penis. Representing pregnancy and birth inside of Europe was a way for Opicinus to convey how both good and evil tendencies enter the world. Some researchers have convincingly explained this positioning of the tiny body-world figures as indicating a Caesarian birth; as Opicinus explains, the two figures are born through Genoa, the a€?forced porta€? in the stomach of the European figure, rather than through Venice, the a€?natural porta€? of the figurea€™s vaginal canal (Opicinus makes the pun about Venetian a€?canalsa€? several times). The earliest depiction of Europe as a woman is believed to be by the 14th century Pavian cleric Opicinus de Canistris for the papal court, then at Avignon.
It must be noted that the textual content of these Books show no relationship with either the Vinland map or the Tartar Relation, but, instead, are to be seen within the context of all 32 Books of the Speculum Historiale.
These two explanations, taken together, may account for a further modification probably made by the cartographer to his prototype.
The outline of Spain is depicted with slight variation from Biancoa€™s, the Atlantic coast trending NNW (instead of northerly) and the north coast being a little more arched.
Some have concluded that, if authentic, the Vinland map was not drawn primarily to illustrate the Tartar Relation. The four longer legends written in Asia or off its coasts are all related, by wording or substance, with the Tartar Relation. Since the outline given to these two islands both in the world map and in the fourth chart of Biancoa€™s atlas is easily distinguishable from that in any 15th century representation of them, the concordance with the Vinland map in this respect is significant. Here we have at once the most arresting feature and the most exacting problem presented by this singular map. The approximation of the east coast and of the southern section of the west coast to the outline in modern maps leaps to the eye.


The more northerly inlet is a narrow channel trending ENE-SSW and terminating in a large lake; the more southerly and wider inlet lies roughly parallel to it. The second part of the legend relates to the medieval belief that the Ten Tribes of Israel who forsook the law of Moses and followed the Golden Calf were shut up by Alexander the Great in the Caspian mountains and were unable to cross his rampart.
The first to cross into this land were brothers of our order, when journeying to the Tartars, Mongols, Samoyedes, and Indians, along with us, in obedience and submission to our most holy father Pope Innocent, given both in duty and in devotion, and through all the west and in the remaining part [of the land] as far as the eastern ocean sea]. The cartographer has perhaps confused the Great Khan (Kuyuk) with Batu, Khan of Kipchak, whom the Carpini mission encountered on the Volga.
Hence their identification with the Tartars and their location by Marco Polo in Tenduc, with a probable reference to the Great Wall of China. Volga) flowed from Bulgaria Major, on the Middle Volga, southward, a€?emptying into a certain lake or sea . Members of the Carpini party were somewhat confused about the courses of the rivers flowing into the two seas, supposing the Volga to enter the Black Sea. These are the Azores, laid down in charts with this position and orientation from the middle of the 14th century to the end of the 15th, and the Madeira group. The Vinland Map is the earliest known map to move the name further out into the ocean and apply it to the Antillia group, the word magnce being added to justify the attribution and make a clear distinction from the smaller islands to the east.
It might be said that the dominant interest of the compiler or cartographer lay in the periphery of geographical knowledge, to which indeed the accompanying texts relate; and such a polarization of interest is exemplified in the themes of the seven legends on the map. He emerges from this test on the whole creditably, for the outlines of the two maps are (as we have seen) in general agreement. Much argument has centered around the possibility that Norse voyagers might have circumnavigated and charted its coasts, or provided a written description of them. The fact that, in regard to a few names or delineations, the Vinland map seems to show affinities with charts in Biancoa€™s atlas of 1436, rather than with his world map, may suggest that O1 was of Biancoa€™s, or at any rate of Venetian authorship. Sinus Ethiopicus could have been deduced from Ptolemya€™s text; Andrea Biancoa€™s connection with Fra Mauro, in whose map this very name is found, and his conjectural association with O1 lend substance to the possibility that this name stood in O1, although corrupted in Biancoa€™s own world map. This hypothesis indeed, while it must be tested by collation of other extant maps from which the prototype may be reconstructed, has (prima facie) some support both from the analogy of the cartographera€™s treatment of the tripartite world and also from the uniformity of style which characterizes all parts of the drawing, alike in the east and in the west, in those parts where we know, and in those where we suspect, a cartographic model to have been followed.
The dating of the Palatinus is more complicated a€” the large autobiographical calendar on fol. The Vaticanus was often mentioned by earlier authors, but had never been the object of extensive study, perhaps because its visual material is smaller and less elaborate than the large Palatinus folios.
These and other claims are refuted by Whittington with a basic statistical analysis of the manuscriptsa€™ subject matter. Their enigmatic forms, expressions, and arrangements have the power to arrest the attention of modern viewers, reversing expectations about what sorts of imagery were possible in the early 14th century.
The a€?world,a€? in Opicinusa€™ drawings, is always represented using these charts; they form the drawingsa€™ structural basis and frame their meanings. Still, crucially, this does not make the drawings, in their inception, a€?abouta€? Opicinus.
The large size of the Palatinus folios suggests a more public function, given their physical similarity to large medieval wall maps and portolan charts. Here one sees before a map of the Mediterranean world a€” Europe, North Africa, Anatolia and part of the Near East are left the white color of the paper, and the seas around them are tinted with a reddish-brown wash. The incredibly diverse drawings that he created in the years that followed were his way of exploring the meaning of this vision and experimenting with different strategies for representing its shape and scope, searching for the arrangements and combinations that would lead him to the deepest meaning. Opicinusa€™ maps were based on the most modern and technically accomplished cartography of his day a€” marinersa€™ sea-charts, which we call portolan charts. Several folios depict only the western portion of the standard Mediterranean portolan chart, limiting their view to the area between Gibraltar and the boot of Italy. The geographic range of the depicted portolan outline is narrow - we see Gibraltar, Tunisia, France, Spain, and Italy, but none of the eastern Mediterranean, which is cut off by the drawinga€™s lower edge.
Little is visible of her lower body, but she wears some kind of cloth wrapped around her waist.
However, the most prominent indicator of the figurea€™s identity is the large rota around the face in the Iberian peninsula, which seems to label the figure as Christ. The drawing thus suggests a combination of male and female elements: a pregnant female personification of Christendom, with Christ at the head and heart. In this first example, where the contrast between the two figures is simple and direct, we can more easily explore two ways that the form of the drawing a€” its geographical frame a€”may change the meaning of these figures. For example, the Mediterranean figure appears to have two sexual organs a€” one massive penis that seems to be ejaculating onto the southern coast of Spain, and another that he clutches in his fist (presumably in an act of masturbation) near Venice.
84v, numerous captions explore the moral, theological, quotidian, and incidental correspondences created by the overlay of the city grid on the portolan chart.
In addition, the monastery with which they were both associated fell near Rome on the portolan chart. The revelation and the experiment were meant to be used by anyone a€” Opicinus is using himself as a test case, taking examples from his own life, family history, and childhood, and using them to interpret the correspondence between the two charts. These are all examples of Akbaria€™s horizontal allegory, or of allegory as a primarily interpretive act; Opicinus creates the structure (which may or may not have an intrinsic meaning a€” in this case, it seems not to), but the primary work is put into interpretation, play, and the creative exploration of his visual construction.
Opicinus created, an over-determined world because of its opportunities and flexibility, not to build a burdensome system that would collapse on top of him. This basic format is repeated on at least eight other pages in the Vaticanus; again, there are variations in the size and placement of the two maps, but all of these examples include two portolan charts that are laid on top of one another. In the smaller, lower image, the negative space of the chart a€” the sea a€” is tinted with a light brown wash, delineating the body of the so-called a€?Mediterranean Man,a€? often labeled a€?Lucifera€? His head and beard occupy the eastern Mediterranean (his ear tucked against the Nile delta and curving beard shaping the coast of the Anatolian peninsula), his arms gesture near Italy (one fist plunging violently east of Italy, forming the Adriatic), and his feet poke out near Gibraltar, between the faces of Europe and Africa. On this page he connects the two representations of the Adriatic with a diagonal line that slices through the center of the image, running from Venice on one chart to Venice on the other.
Morse also points out that different renderings of the sea in the two charts likely correspond to their content; the embodied a€?devil seaa€? lies between the natural worlds, while the a€?spiritual seaa€? is left empty, perhaps to indicate its purity. Small lines connect the first four concepts to the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth of the Africa-figure, indicating the complicity of the exterior senses in this pathway to sin. 74v how Opicinus, by framing his allegories within the portolan charts, solidified their meaning into measured form, aligning the worlda€™s shapes with the truths and figures they revealed. The meaning of such lines remains ambiguous, but they do suggest points of contact and interconnection between elements that are otherwise set in opposition to one another.
All four of these portolan charts are embodied, creating eight distinct characters: four male figures of Europe, and four figures of Africa (two angels and two male figures). Rather than containing the figure of the diabolical sea, the spaces of the Mediterranean and Black Seas on these two charts are left as windows through which the viewer can see the other maps in the drawing.
The colored worlds below are not labeled, but the figures seem to be a precise mirror of those on top, in both gender and physical appearance. Opicinusa€™ statement about the generation of meaning seems to apply both to this drawing and to many others that depict multiple levels of reality (usually through multiple iterations of the body-worlds).
82r becomes overwhelming, Opicinus provides the viewer with visual cues to make sense of the drawinga€™s disorienting forms. This drawing contrasts two complete sets of body-worlds, one overlapping and partially obscuring the other, and two very different depictions of genitalia are found in the area around Venice on both depictions of Europe. In a passage early in the Vaticanus, Opicinus describes how the a€?diabolical seaa€? inseminates an already-pregnant Europe, splitting the child unnaturally into two figures a€” Europe and Africa.
Victoria Morse shows the way that Opicinus read meaning even into the precise position of these two tiny body-worlds over Lombardy below, determining which local cities fell under Africa and Europe.
Therefore, no proverbial rock has been left unturned in subjecting these manuscripts to all of the state-of-the-art technology and worldwide scholarly debate. The Vinland map and Tartar Relation had become physically separated from the 15th century Vincent text and were later re-bound together as a separate volume in their present 19th century (Spanish) binding. Some authorities speculate that possibly the link or actual reference to the Vinland portion of the map could be supplied in the missing 65 leaves. The northerly orientation of the map should perhaps be attributed to expediency rather than to the adoption of a specific cartographic model, for it enabled the names and legends to be written and read in the same sense as the texts which followed the map in the codex.
The latter, however, deserves credit for originality in his removal of the Earthly Paradise, an almost constant component of the mappamundi; for, as Kimble observes, a€?the vitality of the tradition was so great that this Garden of Delights, with its four westward flowing rivers, was still being located in the Far East long after the travels of Odoric and the Polos had demonstrated the impossibility of any such hydrographical anomaly, and the moral difficulties in the way of the identification of Cathay with Paradisea€?.
Here again we have plain testimony to the derivation of the Vinland map from a cartographic prototype, and to the character of this prototype. The a€?shut-up nationsa€? were also identified with Gog and Magog and with the Tartars, who were held to be descended from the Ten Tribes. In many 15th century charts the chain has (usually written in larger lettering to the north of Madeira) the general name Insule Fortunate Sancti Brandani, or variants. The alternative form Branzilio (or Branzilia), suggesting an association with the name of the legendary island of Brasil, is not found in any other surviving map.
The chart-forms characteristic of Biancoa€™s style of drawing are not reproduced in the Vinland map; at what stage these disappeared we do not know, and they were not necessarily in the original model followed by the compiler. The historical statements about Vinland contained in the map, on the other hand, doubtless come from a textual source, as those in Asia and Africa can be shown to do. The first 48 contain little visual material besides a few marginalia, while the second half of the book includes some text-only pages, some full-page drawings, and some smaller drawings with extensive text on or around them. 11r, which provides the most complete information about his life, ends with June 1336, suggesting that this drawing was finished by that date.
In contrast, Morse demonstrated that the Vaticanus holds the key to understanding Opicinusa€™ thought: its drawings are more intimate and revealing, and it contains over a hundred pages of text. Portolan charts were modern, cutting-edge diagrammatic maps of the Mediterranean region, and Opicinusa€™ use of them transforms what would otherwise have been old-fashioned, theoretical, and primarily textual drawings into a completely new type of representation.
Interpreting the vision with relation to his own body and life was only one of the tactics that he used. The drawings in both manuscripts could have been preparatory studies for some larger-scale project or commission that was never carried out. According to Whittington, to explain what the body-worlds a€?mean,a€? one must explore how and why Opicinus harnessed these maritime maps to a completely different purpose from that for which they were created. Others include the entire range of the chart, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea and the Holy Land. Small captions and rotae are positioned at various points on the map; some of these are placed to comment specifically on a geographical feature, while others remark more generally on the drawing and its characters.
A worm or snake emerges from an otherwise empty circle on her stomach, twisting along the North African coast, its mouth gnawing on the figurea€™s thumb near Carthage. Large red capital letters spell out C-R-I-S-T-U-S, with each letter also being the first letter of one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Opicinus uses the portolan chart to construct a binary system in which values can be opposed, and also to place these allegories or personifications within a space that is, in the broadest sense, real.
On the southern coast of France, a basket-woven pattern is explained in a caption as a basket to catch the excrement of the sea-figure. For example, in a short passage in the upper left corner of the page, Opicinus mentions that the body of the sea-devil extends beyond the inner city wall of the Pavian map, which he interprets as a sign that malice and mischief are spread out in the city; beyond the old city walls. An over-determined world allowed him to make visible to himself and his potential readers the primary concerns, impulses, histories, and spaces of his world and his body in a way that led to potentially productive connections and revelations. In contrast, the sea of the larger top map is not embodied, and retains the color of the paper.
This line could help the viewer perceive the imagea€™s orientation, by providing a reference point for the location of the same city on each map at this crucial juncture at the center. The sea-figure takes control of the pagea€™s center, superimposing his twisting body over the eastern half of the upper, spiritual chart a€” his a€?negativea€? space dominates the positive space of the other chart. In contrast, a caption on the rota for Affrica spiritualis points to the interior senses (sensus interiores) that indicate spiritual progress: meditation, contemplation, discernment, and rumination (meditatio, contemplatio, discretio, degustatio).
They also establish that the body-worldsa€™ identities as both bodies and maps remain significant on their own; because connections rely on their status as both maps and bodies, one is not emphasized over the other. This window or outline a€” the negative space of the upper drawing a€” provides a view onto a world of color. The mirror of any of his creations, which he acknowledges are fabrications (in the sense that they are imaginary and exploratory), will always contain some new level of meaning. The two red lines indicate the precise point where worlds are mirrored, and the differentiation in color a€” white, brown, and red a€” brings the forms of the body-worlds into a near-sculptural relief. In the overlapped body-worlds, which are tinted with red and brown wash, we see a small penis depicted inside the figure of Europe, just past the fist of the Mediterranean figure. It must be acknowledged that both figures are shaped like small penises, but it is also true that in medieval anatomical texts the female genitalia are often described as an interiorized mirror image of a male penis, so perhaps we should not be surprised that the two are a€?personified,a€? if we want to use that term, in similar ways.
According to Victoria Morse, Europea€™s pregnancy was also related to local political situations, visualizing the (sexual) corruption of Lombardy within an otherwise holy European body. She then contrasts this a€?violenta€? delivery of the figures with the small baby depicted on fol.
In 1537 the Tirolese cartographer Johann Putsch celebrated the Hapsburg rule over Europe by presenting a placid a€?Europa Reginaa€? wearing Charles Va€™s Spain as a crown and Ferdinanda€™s Austria as a medal at her waist, representing the triumph of the Hapsburgs.
The result has been a polarization of many prominent authorities from many disciplines into three camps: the a€?believersa€™, the a€?nonbelieversa€™, and the a€?undecideda€™. Only through extremely fortunate circumstances did the ultimate reunion with this particular copy of Vincenta€™s manuscript occur, also in 1957, in Connecticut. The classical Insulae Fortunatae were the Canaries, the only group known in antiquity, and the association with St. The name Brasil, in many variants, was generally applied by cartographers of the 14th and 15th centuries (a) to a circular island off the coast of Ireland, and (b) to one of the Azores, perhaps Terceira; the variant forms of the name include Brasil, Bersil, Brazir, Bracir, Brazilli. Eric [Henricus], legate of the Apostolic See and bishop of Greenland and the neighboring regions, arrived in this truly vast and very rich land, in the name of Almighty God, in the last year of our most blessed father Pascal, remained a long time in both summer and winter, and later returned northeastward toward Greenland and then proceeded [i.e. All the major divergences, in the geographical elements of the Vinland map, from the representation in Bianco can be traced to its compilera€™s reading of the Tartar Relation or to changes forced upon him by the design adopted. These instances suggest that the draftsman of the Vinland map, as we have it, may not have been its compiler, but that the map may have been copied from an immediate original or preliminary draft (having the same content) by a clerk or scribe who was no geographer and did not have access to the compilation materials. Kemmodi) montes, where a borrowing from a classical text (such as Pomponius Mela), in which the rendering of the initial aspirate was retained, may be suspected; the form in the Vinland map could hardly have been derived from Ptolemya€™s. The representation and interpretation of this divine image of the earth would occupy much of the rest of his life. Other dates in the manuscript are scarce; most scholars agree that the bulk of the drawings were completed between February 1335 and June 1336, with later additions stretching all the way to 1350.
Opicinus was working during a crucial moment in the history of cartography, when numerous artists and mapmakers sought to combine old and new forms. Most of the drawings suggest other interpretive avenues, through personifications, allegorical confrontations, or superimposition; one does not have to turn to Opicinusa€™ biography to explain them. It is also possible that these works were intended, like several of Opicinusa€™ earlier treatises, for the Pope. In this example, Europe is embodied as a man a€” his head occupies the Iberian Peninsula, his chest and stomach lie in France (where some kind of beast in the ocean tries to bite at his shoulder), his arm arches up through the lowlands and Germany, and his legs occupy the Italian peninsula and the Dalmatian coast.
He used this technical, practical, scientific cartography to probe deeper into the nature of God and the created world. But all of the drawings in this category share a single feature: they include only one map, one level of cartographic reality on the page. The two figures that constitute, lie within, or coexist with Africa and Europe are classic examples of Opicinusa€™ body-worlds (the third figure that often appears in the Mediterranean is not included, in this particular drawing). In two outer concentric rings Opicinus places the names of the seven planets and the days of the week. Yet their placement within a map, particularly an empirical one which was actually used for travelling, emphasizes the tenuousness of such binary oppositions.
Despite these and other details on the figures, the actual bodies seem less important to Opicinus in these three drawings; the commentary focuses more on the physical interplay and connections between the two overlapping maps.
It is not that he thinks that this image of the two maps placed in this particular arrangement is necessarily a€?correcta€? or a€?truea€? a€” on fol. 84v offers further evidence that Opicinus viewed the portolan charts as empirical representations.
At the centre of the page the embodied eastern Mediterranean of the lower map (including the Black Sea) overlaps both the land and the sea of the upper map, so that its eastern half (part of Italy and all of Greece, Egypt, and Turkey) is obscured. Or, given the opposing genders of the two Europes in the maps, and the fact that the area at the top of the Adriatic was understood as the erogenous zone of the European body, the line could suggest a sexual point of contact a€” even intercourse a€” between the two figures. It is necessary first to describe and explain the drawinga€™s complex structure, before discussing its content in relation to several captions that surround it. In the space below, the continents are shaded a brick red, while the seas are painted a soft brown-grey. The interpretive paradigm for this drawing must be one of experimentation; it is the only image in the manuscript with this particular arrangement of forms, and through it Opicinus only seems to have arrived at fragments of meaning. The small caption nearby simply reads Venetie [Venice] and without further explanation it is unclear whether the penis belongs to the European body, depicted lying back against his stomach, or whether he is somehow being penetrated by a small penis belonging to the sea-figure.
Here, reproductive sexuality is a sign of corruption; elsewhere, as we will see, it is a marker of generative spirituality.
74v, which is positioned for a normal delivery through Venice, with its head down and its arms folded peacefully in prayer. The queena€™s crown (Spain), orb (Sicily), and heart (Bohemia) from a triangle that directs the viewera€™s eye away from Eastern Europe toward the West. While the coupling of this name, in the Vinland map, with one from the Tartar Relation (Nimsini) may however mean that Hemmodi too came from a Carpini source, it is more likely that the cartographer was here trying to integrate his two sources. In over eighty surviving drawings, now kept in the Vatican Library and referred to by scholars as the Vaticanus and Palatinus manuscripts, he experimented with how he could uncover the meaning that he was sure God had planted in the vision he saw, in the hope that his drawings would help to renew the faith of all Christians. Far more drawings in the Vaticanus portray body-worlds (23), while few in the Palatinus do so (6).
This encounter between the scientific and the spiritual is best explored by looking at the structures that Opicinus used to create the drawings. Another rota lies inside France, near the location that Opicinus usually associates with the a€?hearta€? of the Europe figure a€” Avignon.
On a map you can literally sail by sea from one a€?placea€? or a€?bodya€? to the other a€” each place is accessible to the other.
Here, the grid structures the space of the local map, but also shapes the way we view the portolan below. It looks like a kind of symbolic twin to the spatio-indexical rhumb lines of the original portolan charts.
61r demonstrates that Opicinus was also aware of the dangers of aligning appearance with truth; appearances could just as easily deceive as reveal.
The arrangement of these colored maps beneath the surface of the white ones is the most complicated aspect of the drawing. The angels are labeled angelus lucis and angelus tenebrarum a€” an angel of light and an angel of darkness. Given the penises in this region that we discussed above, this latter proposition is not without basis, but it seems more likely that it belongs to the European figure, since it is tinted the same color.
The general name Desiderate insule given in Vinland Map to these islands is not found in any other map; the only explanation we can hazard is that it may allude to the Portuguese attempts at discovery and colonization of the Azores from, probably, 1427 onward. Nearly all of the drawings in the Palatinus feature what Whittington calls an a€?overarching containing structurea€? a€” a geometrical framework that contains all of the drawinga€™s content. Her face is to the west, shown in profile as she seems to whisper into the ear of the European figure across the Straits of Gibraltar. She seems to speak directly into the ear of the European figure, depicted partly in profile and partly from the front.
At the center of the roundel is a seated figure of Christ showing his wounds; around this are the names of seven episcopal seats, and the seven planets and their positions.
In these simplest drawings, though, such a possibility is only hinted at; a much fuller manipulation of the metaphor of travel and movement between binaries, and indeed a subversion of the very concept of binary opposition, is found in Opicinusa€™ more complicated images, discussed below. This grid, eight squares by ten, is oriented in the same way as the map below, with east at the top of the page (the street grid of Pavia was, and still is, slightly off-axis from the cardinal points because of its alignment with the river, which is reflected in its positioning at a slight angle on the page). Opicinus just seems to be testing each possible arrangement on either side of the folio, turning it back and forth to see which parts of it align with things he believes to be true. Any resident or visitor familiar with the city would recognize that the local map of Pavia was a measured, accurate representation, and the fundamental hypothesis of this image and its interpretation is that correspondences can be deduced through the alignment of one measured map with another. One complete map lies below the upper white map, and one complete map lies below the lower white map, but each is placed in a different relation to its chart above.
The angel of light in the surface map whispers into the ear of the upper male Europe, labeled homo spiritualis, while the angel of darkness whispers to homo carnalis. 61v, where two tiny figures with the same labels hold between them a baby, its head positioned downward, pointing toward the area near Venice through which we presume it would be born. The danger of any study of Opicinus is that in seeking out the contexts in which one may understand Opicinusa€™ work as logical and coherent, one risks losing sight of what makes them so exceptional. But he also used this idea in order to create images unrivalled in their complexity and interpretive difficulty, multiplying maps and figures across the page in kaleidoscopic networks. The local grid is filled in with detail; the numerous small labels in brown indicate churches, city gates, bridges, and monasteries in Pavia, while the few red captions refer to cities or regions on the portolan below (here, like elsewhere, Opicinus uses color to clarify his content for the reader).
Once again, a grid serves two functions, measuring the space of one reality and indicating the measurability of another.
On the top half of the page, the tinted map below is a precise mirror image of the upper map, reflected from it along a red horizontal line that bisects the upper, white body-worlds.
The arrangement recalls nothing so much as the angel and devil of the human conscience that perch on the shoulders of cartoon figures in modern movies and comics, offering advice and urging the character towards good or bad decisions; in the drawing, the heads of the angels seem to rest directly on the shoulders of the figures below them. Here, the two a€?personificationsa€? of the penis and the womb have produced a tiny child and are preparing it for birth. Later editions of Europe as a queen were issued by Sebastian Munster, Heinrich Bunting and Matthias Quad. The handwriting is similar in character to that of the manuscript and shows the same idiosyncrasies in individual letters.a€™a€™ The map was therefore probably prepared by the scribe who copied the texts of the Speculum and the Tartar Relation. The inner or western coasts of the three islands and the eastern coast of the mainland, fringing the Sea of the Tartars, have no counterpart in any known cartographic document, but are drawn with elaborate detail of capes and bays.
This river has many other very large branches, besides that of Senega, and they are great rivers on this coast of Ethiopiaa€?.
This a€?manuscripta€? is a collection of 27 huge unbound parchment sheets, averaging about two by three feet, although some are significantly larger. This observation prompts the next a€” that the Palatinus drawings almost always include calendars (usually as part of the overarching containing structure), while few of the Vaticanus drawings do. Looking at the drawings as a whole, there can be no doubt that there are distinct threads running through them a€” themes, problems, and possibilities that Opicinus set out to explore. And just as the drawingsa€™ forms combine simplicity and complexity, their content also veers from the straightforward to the impenetrable.
The relationship between these human figures and the landforms is, as is always the case in Opicinusa€™ drawings, very difficult to describe. The huge green swath at the right of the page indicates the Ticino River, which is coextensive with the long veil or cloak worn by the Africa woman. The white body-worlds in the top layer always overlap the lower, colored ones, which are only visible in the negative space of the sea.
These personificationsa€™ sexuality is normative and non-transgressive a€” male and female members come together inside of the female body.
Considering that this sea represents (so far as we know) the cartographera€™s interpretation of a textual source, it may be suspected that the outline of its shores was seen by him in his minda€™s eye and not in any map.
Depending on the individual viewera€™s perception, the figures can seem to be lying on top of the land, growing out of it, or somehow placed under it a€” as if the landforms are windows through which we are looking. The green lines at the top and bottom of the page show the path of several Pavian canals, and the three concentric red boundaries drawn around the page indicate the city walls.
The same system is repeated in the lower half of the drawing, except that the lower tinted map is reflected along a vertical line, also colored red.
From these observations, Whittington generalizes some of the basic differences between the two manuscripts. Most of all, however, these enigmatic forms seem to depict the earth and the bodies as coextensive, and of the same material a€” bodies made out of the earth. The two maps on the bottom half of the page are also mirror images of one another, but along a different axis.
The Vaticanus seems to be more of a personal manuscript, perhaps never intended for a wider audience. The more one looks at these body-worlds, the more one sees the human figures as figures a€” the stranger parts of their bodies, where the landforms do not align so easily with a normative human shape, become less and less noticeable. The two red axes are thus crucial to understanding the drawing: they must have been used to construct it and also intended to aid in its decoding. Its drawings are less structured and presentational, contain more sexual imagery, and include more personal themes, all of which we might associate with a private, rather than public function (although such distinctions were perhaps more fluid in 14th century Italy than they are today).
Secondly, the drawings in the Vaticanus and Palatinus have very different structures; the Vaticanus uses the form of the portolan [nautical] chart to structure meaning and representations of bodies, while the Palatinus drawings use larger geometric, ecclesiastical, and temporal frames, which in turn often contain representations of the earth.
Finally, the Palatinus drawings contain a temporal, cyclical element (numerous calendars and representations of the zodiac) that the Vaticanus drawings usually lack.




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