12 February 2008

Interesting Tidbits

So, this second time through I'm planning to take the time to look up all the odd little bits that last time I wasn't sure what exactly what going on, but I wanted to know the story, so I just pressed on past it. Places I can't point to on the map, people and explorers that I'm unfamiliar with, that sort of thing. So here goes.

The first one is this cartographer, Zuane Pizzigano. So I googled him. The very first hit was this odd Mysteriuos World site that I'm not entirely sure that I trust. But they did say that his map is available for folks to go look at at the University where Mr. Menzies originally found it. It's not terribly far from here, maybe the next time Andy gets sent there for business I'll tag along and see if I can't see the map. But this site seems a bit ... off ... to me.

Here's an actual copy of the 1424 map, found on the 1421 website. That's pretty interesting, although it's a little small.

Here's an interesting (if a little long) article about the 1424 map. Looks like it was written well before our book, but one of the things that they mention at the end of the article is that you'd have to outline what voyage made landfall on "Antilia." But apparently Portuguese children are taught a different story of the discovery of the Americas.

Oh, hey, this is interesting. I looks like notes from a presentation that Mr. Menzie did at some point. Mr. Menzie & his buddies think the Chinese were a major factor in kicking off the Renaissance. Not that they say it in so many words, but the contributions they're crediting to the Chinese are things that contributed significantly to the flowering of knowledge and technology that became the Renaissance. Things like movable type and calculating latitude. Makes me wish that I could go to some of the sessions that he's talking about these other men presenting.

Here's another one, that starts out quite hostile to Mr. Menzies right from the get-go. It's a 39 page .pdf, so bring some hot chocolate and some cookies. However, be warned that the author of the paper is rather unfriendly to Mr. Menzies, preferring an Aribic-Islamic theory of the discovery of the world. It's not a pleasant read at all, but it does answer one question I had about Mr. Menzies's theory: he seems to discount the Arabs pretty early on as incapable, but I'd always thought that they were the folks that gifted us with the concept of "zero" among other important things, and it seemed odd that they should be so casually brushed aside. So it's somewhat comforting to discover that there are other theories out there. It also further muddies the water. I have come to the conclusion that we basically have No Idea who got to the Americas "first."

Anyway, back to 1421. (Although I still know little to nothing about this Zuane Pizzigano guy.)

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