cavo de diab, in that case, becomes Cape guardafui, or Madagascar according. Consequently, the degree of verisimilitude possessed by the southern portion of the African coastline is due, in part at least, to the exigencies of the maps circular form and, in extenuation of this, it may be urged that mauros purpose throughout seems to have been. Fra mauro himself certainly accepted the possibility of circumnavigating southern Africa. . On this and other evidence, the discriminating cartographer reached an important conclusion: Some authors state of the sea of India that it is enclosed like a lake, and that the ocean sea does not enter. But Solinus holds that it is the ocean, and that its southern and southwestern parts are navigable. And i affirm that some ships have sailed and returned by this route. The detailed knowledge of the northeast African interior extends as far as the river Zebe? The nile Blue nile is shown rising near a lake, undoubtedly lake tana, in the fountain of Geneth, a name for the source which was still in use in James Bruces time, more than three hundred years later. .
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The large island at the extreme southern end of Africa, named diab, is probably based upon reports of the existence of the great island of Madagascar. There would be no improbability in a vessel being driven down to the latitude of the cape of good Hope, or of Arabs at Soffala having some inkling of the trend of the coast to the south. In fact there are a number of place names on diab that are of Arab origin: Xegiba zanzibar, soffala, chelue kilwa and maabase mombasa. . It is extremely unlikely, as has been argued, that the cape of diab is nothing more southerly than Cape guadafui. . But an analysis of most of the features of the hinterland. Kimble makes it clear that they do not refer to south Africa, for the mareb and Tagas rivers with their affluents Mana, lare and Abavi, can be none other than the Abyssinian rivers Mareb, takkazye, menna, tellare and Abbai; while flumen Xebi and flumen avasi. The fact that these rivers are the southernmost feature of the map (they are placed at the same latitude as cavo de and diab) makes it almost impossible to believe that mauro knew anything of Africa south of the equator. . How then, says Kimble, are we to interpret diab, the hinterland of the cape described by the mapmaker as a very fertile region which was recently conquered by the great King of Abyssinia,.1430? . The only region with which it is at all comparable, within the limits imposed by mauros apparent knowledge of the interior, is the somali peninsula. . It is significant that in a contemporary document in the library. Michele at Murano we are told that diab is a great province in parts of which there is an abundance of very good things, its principal town being called Mogadis, which can be none other than Magadoxo of the somali coast. .
It does great damage to the inhabitants and is very fast in its flight. Fra mauros Indian must be taken to mean Arab. . The Arabs had established regular trade connections with places far to the south in East Africa, and it is not unlikely that a vessel may have rounded the cape of good Hope and sailed into the Atlantic, which the Arabs had long been calling the. Elsewhere mauro says that he had spoken to persons who had been driven forty days beyond the cavo de soffala. . The roc is, of course, an allusion to the fabulous bird of the Arabian Nights. . An interesting point is that 500 years before Fra mauros time an Arab chronicler writing about Soffala has a very similar story of a vessel not only being driven by storm but also encountering the roc. Fra mauro, then, was probably drawing ultimately on Arabic sources, and the doubt night arises whether any significance should be attached to the date of 1420. . There is other evidence of eastern sources in this quarter; for instance the names of the two islands Negila beautiful, sanskrit and Mangula fortunate, arabic. South Africa, cape of diab (oriented with the south at the top).
Kimble states that the chief cartographical need of the portuguese at this time was not so much a map of the world that would merely portray with precision what they already knew, as a map that would give the opinion of learned geographers on the. mauros planisphere fully met this need. . At the same time, by its allusions to navigators in the southern seas, the map was calculated to spur on the portuguese to renewed effort to reach their goal. It is, however, evident that Fra mauros map depicts the coasts of Africa as far as Senegal and Cape verde, which apple were explored by the portuguese expeditions of 1441, as well as giving evidence of that countrys penetration as far as the congo. . The coasts charted by diaz have been fitted into the limiting circular outline of mauros world picture, presenting such a marked trend to the southeast that the cape of good Hope (?) seems to be positioned due south of the persian Gulf, whereas. More than one student of cartography has shared Alexander von Humbolts conviction that the southernmost point, called cavo de diab, is none other than the cape of good Hope made known to mauro by some daring expedition similar to that which mauro himself speaks. One of the many legends on his map, near the southern extremity of Africa says: About the year of Our Lord 1420 a ship, what is called an Indian junk zoncho de India, on a crossing of the sea of India towards the Isle. Nothing but air and water was seen for forty days and by their reckoning they ran 2,000 miles and fortune deserted them. When the stress of the weather had subsided they made the return to the said cavo de diab in seventy days and drawing near to the shore to supply their wants the sailors saw the egg of a bird called roc, the egg being.
Crone, the principal cartographers were well informed on the progress of the navigators. However, it has also been pointed out by researchers such as Portuguese scholar Professor. Cortesão that, in pursuance of their ambition to hold a monopoly of the trade of West Africa, successive kings of Portugal decided on the suppression of all information calculated to excite the interest and jealousy of other powers. . This Portuguese colonial policy in the conspiracy of silence, as it has been called, reached formality with John ii (reigned using his energies to prevent leakages of the news of discoveries at a time when foreigners were seeking by every means to acquire. In the reign of his successor, manuel i, the vigilance of the government was even more intensified, especially after the return of Cabral from India. It is impossible to get a chart of the voyage, wrote an Italian agent concerning Cabrals expedition, because the king has decreed the death penalty for anyone sending one abroad. . It is also said that charts were sometimes only lent to navigators by the portuguese India house and at the end of a voyage the chart had to be returned to that institution. . But even if such a view was prevalent earlier in the 15th century, what could have been the motive or objective of King Alfonso in withholding from mauro information which would have enhanced the value of his planisphere and substituting for it presumably worthless caricature. In attempting to solve this riddle historian.
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They have framed new charts of these regions and given names to the writing rivers, bays, capes, and ports. I have many of these charts in my possession. Since very little of the coastline beyond Cape roxo shows a linear correspondence with the actual coastline, these charts may have been worthless counterfeits, the latest official Portuguese findings having been suppressed even at this early stage of exploration to protect the competitive advantage that. Actually the only contemporary names that mauro has included are. Virde and sso, immediately north of the great gulf; and the small river in the vicinity may be the rio grande. .
mauro portrays the sea outside the recently discovered guinea coast merely as a large gulf, the sinus Ethiopicus, cutting deep into the long coastline. . The delineation of this great gulf can scarcely rest on first-hand knowledge possessed by the portuguese, but rather it probably represents a feature derived from earlier medieval maps and perhaps is the result of rumors of the actual Gulf of guinea. According to some accounts, the portuguese are stated to have reached the meridian of Tunis (10 degrees East) and perhaps even that of Alexandria. . Curiously enough, on Fra mauros map the eastern end of the gulf may be said to be on the meridian of Tunis, as in fact the eastern terminus of the gulf of guinea. . As to the latter speculation, to have crossed the meridian of Alexandria would have entailed rounding daily the cape of good Hope. The lack of tangible examples displaying the latest information on the map has been criticized, especially as mauros assistant, bianco, was employed in its production, but it is scarcely justifiable to argue from this that information was deliberately withheld from the cartographer by the portuguese.
The orientation of the mappa mundi towards the south is perhaps the first aspect that surprises and intrigues the modern spectator who is used to north-oriented maps, and who is therefore disoriented by the effort required to identify landmasses which not only have 500-year-old outlines. Most of the diagrammatic manuscript mappae mundi of the period are oriented to the east. But among the maps contemporary with that of Fra mauro are the 1448 world map of Andreas Walsperger 245 the so-called Borgia world map 237) of the first half of the 15th century, and the zeitz mappa mundi 251) of the last quarter of that. Thus it is not surprising that, around the mid-15th century, a mappa mundi was oriented to the south. Fra mauro, in fact, did not even think it necessary to address the issue, probably considering it congruent with the wider culture of his readers and patrons. Some explanations also include the influence of the contemporary Islamic cartography, the cosmographical concepts of Aristotle, and, of course, the venetian maritime commercial focus of Fra mauros time of the Indian Ocean and thus towards the south.
Africa: Putting aside for the moment questions of interpretation, it is impossible not to be struck by the illusion of accuracy which the general shape of the continent produces here, especially when compared with most of the previous medieval European representations. . Africa, in outline, resembles the representations on the catalan-Estense map of 246) and pietro vescontes world map of 1321 228), save the fact that the Estense map is almost severed in two by the prolongation of the sinus Ethiopicus. . Details of Abyssinian topography have been expanded to cover most of the center and south, except for the southernmost extremity, which is separated by a river or channel, from the mainland and named diab. By 1459, the year of the maps construction, the portuguese had sailed some 2,000 miles beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, that is, as far as rio grande (i.e., the jeba river, 12 degrees north, or probably not beyond sierra leone - it is disputed whether. Mauro apparently had knowledge of this exploration for he tells us as much in a rubric near the west coast of Africa and adds, circumstantially, that. Everywhere they found the coast not dangerous, with the soundings good, convenient for navigation and with no risk from storms.
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Like the Greek geographers before Ptolemy and like the Arab cartographers, Fra mauro shows all of the continents as being surrounded on all sides by the great ocean. . he did not see the earth as simply a disk, the circular form of the map was his way shredder of depicting a sphere. . However he had not been able to arrive at an opinion on the overall size of the globe. Facsimile of the Fra mauro map oriented with south at the top. Likewise i have found various opinions regarding this circumference, but it is not possible to verify them. . It is said to be 22,500 or 24,000 miglia or more, or less according book to various considerations and opinions, but they are not of much authenticity, since they have not been tested. Fra mauro, therefore, did not have a very accurate conception of exactly what proportion of the earth that he was portraying in his map. . by moving its center eastwards, however, he had made the relative longitudinal extents of Europe and Asia approximately correct. . Putting the center at Jerusalem had of course resulted in the longitudinal extent of Asia being reduced in relation to that of the mediterranean: on his map he represents it as about twice the length of that sea, which is fairly accurate for that latitude.
it would be necessary. But principally in latitude, that is from south to north, he has much terra incognita, because in his time it was unknown. Fra mauro map outline re-oriented with North at the top. Ptolemy, he writes, like all cosmographers, could not personally verify everything that he entered on his map and with the lapse of time more accurate reports will become available. . he claimed for himself to have done his best to establish the truth. In my time i have striven to verify the writings by experience, through many years investigation, and intercourse with persons worthy of credence, who have seen with their own eyes what is faithfully set out above. Therefore, mauro did not use Ptolemys framework of longitude and latitude and he also opened up the sea of India, which in editions of Ptolemy is traditionally landlocked, but was generally left open to the circumfluent ocean by mauros contemporaries. Mauro did, however, take account of Ptolemys geography and travelers reports concerning the great extent of the east, and as a result, moved Jerusalem away from the position as the worlds center, a marked departure from medieval custom to its true position, west of center. This non-conformity clearly worried the friar, and he excuses himself by the following: Jerusalem is indeed the center of the inhabited world latitudinally, though longitudinally it is somewhat to the west, but since the western portion is more thickly populated by reason of Europe, therefore.
The first entry relating to Fra mauro as a mapmaker dates from 1443, in connection with his map of the district of smichele di lemmo in Istria; and during the years 1448-49 he was known to be at work on a mappamundi. . However, working from a commission granted by king Alfonso v of Portugal, a patron who supplied money and information on the on-going Portuguese discoveries, Fra mauro and his assistant, sailor-cartographer Andrea bianco 241), spent the years 1457 to 1459 constructing the requested world map that. The map was completed on dispatched to portugal, but for some reason has not survived. . A commemorative medal which was struck in honor of this event describes Fra mauro as geographus incomparabilis. . he died during the following year while working on a copy destined for the seignory of Venice; however, bianco or another of his colleagues produced the now extant second map, which was subsequently discovered in the monastery on Murano, then transferred to the ducal Palace. Fra mauros map was in many ways a more up-to-date map than the printed versions of Ptolemy which succeeded it two decades later. . Ptolemys geographia was rediscovered in Western Europe and had been circulating in Latin manuscript form since 1406, coming to Italy fresh from the byzantine conquests. It is clear from numerous legends paper on his map that Fra mauro was very much aware of the great deference then paid to the cosmographical conceptions of Ptolemy, and the likelihood of severe criticism for any map which ignored them.
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249, title: Fra mauros Mappamundi, dATE:, author: Fra mauro. Description: This large circular planisphere (6 feet 4 inches in diameter drawn on parchment and mounted on wood in a square frame, is preserved in the biblioteca nazionale marciana, venice. Unusual for medieval European maps, it is oriented with south at the top (Indian Ocean, top left; Mediterranean, right center) and so meticulously drawn and full of detail and legends that it has been described as a medieval cosmography of no small extent, a conspectus. Though the coasts are drawn in a style recalling that of the portolan nautical charts, loxodromes and compass roses are absent, and the effect is definitely that of a mappamundi, not a nautical chart. The map was fully described and reproduced on vellum for the first time published by william Frazer in London and Venice, 1804 Manuscript on vellum, bl add. Ms 11267 and by Placido zurla in ii mappamondo di Fra mauro camaldolese, 1806 in Venice (also now in the British Library and later by santarem in his facsimile Atlas of 1849. Fra mauro, a camaldulian monk from the island of Murano near Venice, was active in about the middle of the 15th century. He seems to have been, to some extent, a professional cartographer, substantiated by the monastic records that document expenditure on materials and colors for mapping, wages for draftsmen, and. .