The Story of Geographical Discovery eBook

Joseph Jacobs
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 165 pages of information about The Story of Geographical Discovery.


Coat-of-arms of del Cano (from Guillemard, Magellan.  By kind permission of Messrs. Phillips).—­It illustrates the importance attributed to the Spice Islands as the main object of Magellan’s voyage.  For the blazon, see pp. 129-30.

The earliest map of the world (from the Rev. C. J. Ball’s Bible Illustrations, 1898).—­This is probably of the eighth century B.C., and indicates the Babylonian view of the world surrounded by the ocean, which is indicated by the parallel circles, and traversed by the Euphrates, which is seen meandering through the middle, with Babylon, the great city, crossing it at the top.  Beyond the ocean are seven successive projections of land, possibly indicating the Babylonian knowledge of surrounding countries beyond the Euxine and the Red Sea.

The world according to Ptolemy.—­It will be observed that the Greek geographer regarded the Indian Ocean as a landlocked body of water, while he appears to have some knowledge of the so ces of the Nile.  The general tendency of the map is to extend Asia very much to the east, which led to the miscalculation encouraging Columbus to discover America.

The Roman roads of Europe (drawn specially for this work).—­These give roughly the limits within which the inland geographical knowledge of the ancients reach some degrees of accuracy.

Geographical monsters (from an early edition of Mandeville’s Travels).—­Most of the mediaeval maps were dotted over with similar monstrosities.

The Hereford map.—­This, one of the best known of mediaeval maps, was drawn by Richard of Aldingham about 1307.  Like most of these maps, it has the East with the terrestrial paradise at the top, and Jerusalem is represented as the centre.

Peutinger table, western part.—­This is the only Roman map extant; it gives lines of roads from the eastern shores of Britain to the Adriatic Sea.  It is really a kind of bird’s-eye view taken from the African coast.  The Mediterranean runs as a thin strip through the lower part of the map.  The lower section joins on to the upper.

The world according to Ibn Haukal (from Lelewel, Geographie du mon age).—­This map, like most of the Arabian maps, has the south at the top.  It is practically only a diagram, and is thus similar to the Hereford Map in general form.—­Misr=Egypt, Fars=Persia, Andalus=Spain.

Coast-line of the Mediterranean (from the Portulano of Dulcert, 1339, given in Nordenskiold’s Facsimile Atlas).—­To illustrate the accuracy with which mariners’ charts gave the coast-lines as contrasted with the merely symbolical representation of other mediaeval maps.

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The Story of Geographical Discovery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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