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Piri Reis and the Columbus Map

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« on: June 07, 2007, 03:11:01 pm »

                                P I R I   R E I S   A N D   T H E   C O L U M B U S   M A P


Written by Paul Lunde

In 1501 an admiral in the Ottoman navy named Kemal Reis captured seven Spanish ships off the coast of Spain, near Valencia. Aboard one of the prizes he found a strange feather headdress and an unfamiliar black stone. He was told by one of his prisoners that both came from newly discovered lands to the west, beyond the Sea of Darkness. The prisoner claimed to have visited these lands three times, under the command of a man named Colombo - and what was more, he had in his possession a chart, drawn by this man Colombo himself, that showed the newly discovered lands.

This was probably not the first time Kemal Reis had heard of Christopher Columbus's discovery. He had been sailing the Mediterranean for years, originally as a corsair. In 1490 he had gone to the relief of Granada, then besieged by Ferdinand and Isabella, but had been able to do little to alleviate the city's plight. In 1500, he had won a major victory over the Venetians in the eastern Mediterranean, capturing the important strongholds of Lepanto, Coron and Modon. He had almost certainly heard of Columbus within months of Columbus's return from his first voyage, either from prisoners of war or from contacts in the Genoese and Venetian colonies in the eastern Mediterranean.

Between 1492 and 1501, while Columbus was mak­ing his first three voyages, the Ottoman sultan Bayazid II was occupied on all fronts. The Mamluks of Egypt were still a very real threat to the Ottomans on the borders of Anatolia. The safawiya movement, soon to give birth to the powerful Safavid dynasty in Iran, was gathering momentum among the Turkoman tribes on Bayazid's eastern frontiers, and even within Anatolia itself. In Europe, the Ottoman victory in the war with Venice had resulted in a powerful Ottoman presence in what is now Yugoslavia, at the borders of the Venetian republic. Important victories had also been won in Austria, and although the Ottomans were defeated in the very year Columbus discovered America, it was only a matter of time before more Austrian territory was lost to the Turks. Convinced of the need for a powerful modern navy, Bayazid opened shipyards at Gallipoli and in the Adriatic and appointed men like Kemal Reis, with wide experience of Mediterranean waters, as admirals. To European observers, it seemed only a matter of time before the Turks would be at the gates.

 The preoccupation of European courts with the rise of the Ottoman Turks in the East partly explains their relative lack of interest in Columbus's discoveries in the West - especially since no one, including Co­lumbus, was clear about what had been discovered. Bayazid, however, was very interested in maps and meant good maps were vital for military purposes. We know that Bayazid possessed a magnificent Arabic copy of Ptolemy, still in the Topkapı Palace Library (See Aramco World, March-April 1987), a large-scale map of the Balkans, probably of European origin, and many other important charts and maps.

 Columbus's discoveries in the Atlantic, however, were very remote from Ottoman interests. Closer to home were the Portuguese. Vasco da Gama found the way around Africa into the Indian Ocean in 1497 and within a very short time the Portuguese virtually controlled the trade routes to the Spice Islands - routes which had been under Muslim control for centuries. These were the very islands Columbus thought he had reached by sailing west: The Portuguese suc­ceeded in reaching them the other way round. As yet, the Ottomans were unable to respond, but the Mam­luks in Egypt, through whose ports the lucrative spice trade had traditionally run, sent a fleet to the Indian Ocean under an admiral called Husayn after the Por­tuguese sank 17 Arab trading vessels in an Indian port. In 1508, Husayn won a naval encounter against the Portuguese, sinking the admiral's ship. The Portu­guese countered in the following year, and the Mam­luks fortified Jiddah, using it as a base for naval opera­tions in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The situation changed dramatically when the Ottomans, under Bayazid's successor Selim the Grim, conquered Egypt in 1517 and put an end to Mamluk rule. The security of Muslim shipping off the Arabian coasts and in the Indian Ocean was now the Ottomans' responsibility.

 This was the background against which the famous world map of Piri Reis was made. Piri Reis was the nephew of Kemal, and had sailed with his uncle since he was a boy. In his Kitab-i Bahriye, he touchingly com­memorates his uncle, from whom he learned so much:

 Good friend, I want you

To remember us in your prayers,

And remember Kemal Reis, our master,

May his soul be content!

He had perfect knowledge of the seas

And knew the science of navigation.

He knew innumerable seas;

No one could stop him ....

We sailed the Mediterranean together

And saw all its great cities.

We went to Frankish lands

And defeated the infidel.

One day an order from

Sultan Bayazid arrived.

"Tell Kemal Reis to come to me,"

It said, "and advise me on affairs of the sea.

So in 1495, the year of this command,

We returned to our country.

By the sultan's command we set out

And won many victories....

Kemal Reis sailed hoping to come back,

But was lost at sea.

Everyone once spoke of him;

Now even his name is forgotten....

The angel of death caught him

While he was serving Sultan Bayazid.

May God give peace to those

Who remember Kemal Reis with a prayer.

Kemal died and went to the next world

And we found ourselves alone in this.

 Kemal Reis went to the next world in 1511, having apparently entrusted the precious chart captured in the Spanish ship to his nephew Piri. Piri Reis, from the time he was a boy, had kept notes of harbors entered, compass bearings, reefs, shallows and hidden rocks, and was by now an experienced cartographer: The more than 125 large-scale maps in the Kitab-i Bahriye, "The Book of the Navy," show just how skillful he was.

 Piri Reis spent the next two years in Gallipoli draw­ing a world map. Though Bayazid died in 1512, it is probable that this project was supported by the sul­tan, or at least known in official circles. This can be deduced from the fact that Piri used 20 source maps; he may have collected some of these personally, either by capture or purchase, but it is probable that up-to-date Portuguese charts were supplied to him by the sultan's officials.

 In one of the inscriptions on the map itself, Piri Reis lists these sources, and tells us how he used them: No one now living has seen a map like this. I have composed and constructed it using about twenty maps and mappaemundi; these are the maps which were composed in the time of Alexander of the Two Horns, and which show the inhabited portion of the earth. The Arabs call these maps ja'fariya.

 I have used eight ja'fariya maps, an Arab map of India and four recent Portuguese maps - these maps show the sea of Sind, India and China according to mathematical principles - and also a map of the western regions drawn by Colombo. The final farm was arrived at by reducing all these maps to the same scale. Therefore the present map is as accurate for the Seven Seas as the maps of our own countries used by sailors.

 Another note gives the date and authorship of the map: "This map was drawn by Piri ibn Hajji Muham­mad, known as the nephew of Kemal Reis, in the month of Muharram of the year 919 [1513]."

 The mappaemundi, or world maps, that Piri Reis says were "composed in the time of Alexander of the Two Horns," as Alexander the Great was known in the Muslim world, were maps based on Ptolemy. (Arab authors confused Claudius Ptolemeus, astronomer and geographer, who lived in the second century, with Ptolemy I, friend of Alexan­der and ruler of Egypt, who died in the third century BC.) It is obvious, however, from looking at Piri Reis's map that the mappaemundi he used as a source for the west Atlantic were European, as the depic­tion of St. Brendan's Island shows. Piri's caption to the charming picture of two men lighting a fire on the back of the fish reads: "They say that long ago a priest named San Vulrandan [St. Brendan] sailed the seven seas. It is said that he encountered this fish and, taking it for dry land, lit a fire on its back. When the back of the fish grew hot, it dived under the water. The people fled in their boat back to their ship. The Portuguese do not mention these events; they have been taken from old mappaemundi."

 This is not the first time the story of mariners mis­taking giant fish for islands and lighting fires on their backs occurs in an oriental context. Al-Jahiz tells the same story in his Book of Animals, written in the ninth century (See Aramco World, May-June 1982); it occurs in the Arabic translation of the Life of Alexander as well as in The Thousand and One Nights. But it is fascinating to see a reference to St. Brendan in a Turkish context. It also shows something significant about at least one of Piri Reis's source maps. Pictures of legendary islands - or in this case, a picture of an episode from a legendary voyage - were not depicted on Ptolemaic map­paemundi, which were produced in learned circles; they did occur on mariner's charts made for practical use (See "Voyages of the Mind," in this issue). Piri Reis must have had at least one European mariner's chart, probably showing the coasts of Spain, North Africa and the Atlantic islands. It may have looked very like the map by Grazioso Benincasa, which is dated 1473 and shows two large imaginary islands, Antilia and Satanazes - although unfortunately it does not include a giant fish.

 A number of captions on the Piri Reis map seem to point to the Genoese origin of one or more of his source maps. The caption next to the Azores, for exam­ple, reads: "A Genoese ship out of Flanders was driven by a storm to these islands, and they thus became known." As far as we know, the Azores were first sighted around 1420 by a Portuguese, not a Genoese, ship. An earlier discovery by the Genoese is not unlikely, however, but knowledge of it may have been limited to Genoese circles.

 The caption to the Cape Verde Islands seems to reinforce the idea. It reads: "The Genoese call the cap­tain of this caravel Messer Anton, but he grew up in Portugal. One day his caravel ran into a storm and was driven to these islands. He found much ginger and was the first to describe these islands." One of the Por­tuguese ships that discovered the Cape Verde Islands in 1456 was commanded by a Genoese in Portuguese service named Antoniotto Usodamare. The islands in the archipelago were not fully explored until 1460, when another Genoese, named Antonio da Noli, was appointed governor of the island of Sant 'Iago. Since Piri's captain speaks of a chance discovery, the "Mes­ser Anton" of his source map was probably Antoniotto Usodamare, the first of these two Genoese Antonios associated with the islands. Again, this points to a Genoese origin for the chart Piri was copying: Local pride would explain why the Genoese captain, and not the more important Venetian, was mentioned as the discoverer.

 The mention of ginger in the Cape Verde Islands is significant too. Ginger does not grow in these islands, but it is possible that the ginger substitute asarabacca did. It was widely believed in the 15th century that valuable spices grew anywhere along the equator; Columbus was constantly "discovering" old world spices in the West Indies where they did not in fact exist. The statement that ginger grew in the Cape Verde Islands sounds very "Columbian," and it is possible that this note may have originated with Co­lumbus himself.

 These associations with Genoa are particularly interesting in view of Columbus's own Genoese ori­gin. When the Piri Reis map was discovered in the Topkapı Palace Museum in 1929 (See Aramco World, January-February 1980), it was naturally the long inscription referring to Columbus that excited the most interest. Paul Kahle, the first scholar to write about the map, suggested that the Caribbean portion of it was based on a map drawn by Columbus himself, just as Piri Reis states. If so, this Turkish map is the only evidence we possess for how Columbus visual­ized his discoveries.

 Here is what Piri Reis tells us in a long legend on the map itself:

 These coasts are called the shores of Antilia. They were discovered in the year 896 of the Muslim era [AD 1490]. It is reported that a Genoese called Colombo was the first to discover these territories. It is said that a book came into his hands which stated that at the end of the Western Sea, on its western side, were coasts and islands and different kinds of metals and precious gems. This man, having studied the book thoroughly, explained these things one by one to the great men of Genoa and said: "Give me two ships and I will go and find these regions!" "O foolish man" they said, "in the West there is nothing to be found but the end and limit of the world! It is full of darkness" The said Colombo saw there was no help to be had from the Genoese so he went to the king of Spain and told him his story in detail. The king gave him the same answer as the Genoese. At last, after Colombo had been very insistent, the king gave him two ships, equipped them well, and said: "O Colombo, if what you say is true, I will make you admiral over that country!' Having said this, he sent the said Colombo to the Western Sea.

 The late victorious Kemal [Reis] had a Spanish slave. This slave said that he had been three times to that land with Colombo. He said: "First we sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar, then we voyaged straight ahead for 4000 miles, sailing a middle course between west and southwest in the Western Sea. Then we saw an island ahead of us and the waves became still and the sea becalmed. The North Star... gradually became veiled and finally invisible" He also said that the stars in that region are not disposed as they are here; they are in a different arrangement.

 They anchored at the island they had sighted in front of them. The inhabitants of this island approached, shot arrows at them and did not allow them to land and get information. The men and women shot arrows, the tips of which were made of fishbone. The entire population goes naked. When they saw that they could not land on the island, they sailed to the other side, where they saw a boat. When it saw them, the boat fled and the people ran away onto the land. They took the boat and saw that it was full of human flesh. The people of that nation went from island to island hunting men and eating them. The said Colombo saw another island; they drew near it and saw that it was covered with large snakes. They did not land on this island, but stayed at anchor for seventeen days. The inhabitants of this island saw that no harm came to them from the ship, so they caught fish and brought them in their little boats. The Spaniards were pleased and gave them glass beads. It seems that Colombo had read in a book that glass beads were valued in that region. When they saw the beads, they brought still more fish and the Spaniards gave them more beads.

 One day they saw gold on the arm of a woman; they took it and gave her beads. They told her to bring more gold and said they would give her more beads. The natives went and brought more gold. It seems that in their mountains there were gold mines.

 One day they saw someone with pearls. When they gave glass beads for them, more pearls were brought to them. Pearls were found on the shore of this island, in a place one or two fathoms deep. They loaded their ships with brazilwood and took two natives with them and returned within the year to the king of Spain. The said Colombo, not knowing the language of these people, traded with them by signs. After this trip, the king of Spain sent priests and barley. The Spaniards taught the natives how to sow and reap and converted them to their religion. The natives had no religion at all. They went naked and lay about like animals. Now these regions have been opened to all and have become famous. The names which mark the places on the islands and coasts were given by Colombo, in order that these places might be known by them. Colombo was also a great astronomer. The coasts and islands on this map are taken from Colombo's map.

 This short account is filled with interesting varia­tions from what we know of Columbus' first three voyages. The first paragraph, which is based on some other source than Kemal Reis's Spanish captive, gives the name Antilia to the coast of the American mainland. Antilia was marked on medieval charts; it was a legendary island to the west, to which seven bishops, fleeing the Arab invasion of Spain, supposedly sailed with their flocks and where they founded seven flourishing cities. It is prominently marked on Martin Behaim's globe of 1492 and its distance from Spain is given in the Toscanelli letter. The name itself may be a corruption of the Arabic transliteration of "Atlantis," the story of which reached Europe through transla­tions of Plato's Timeus. Although Columbus fre­quently mentions Antilia, it is obvious from his jour­nals that on his third voyage, when he finally reached the American mainland, he thought he had found a province of China.

 The mistake about the year of discovery is perhaps not too important; other contemporary writers also got it wrong, and Piri Reis, in the Kitab-i Bahriye, later "corrected" it to 1465!

 The form of Columbus's name, written Kolonbo in the Arabo-Turkish script, again reveals an Italian source. The name of the discoverer of America is "Cristobal Colon" in Spanish, "Cristovao Colom" in Portuguese, but "Colombo" only in Italian.

 The book that "came into" Columbus' hands was probably Pierre d'Ailly's Imago Mundi (See Aramco World, January-February 1992). This late medieval work, printed at Louvain, in today's Belgium, in three volumes between 1480 and 1482, was Columbus's favorite bedside reading. His own copy, the margins full of annotations in his own hand, survives in the Biblioteca Colombina, founded by his son Hernando, in Seville. A single quotation from the Imago Mundi will show why it fired the imagination of Columbus: "The end of Spain and the beginning of India are not far distant but close, and it is evident that this sea is navigable in a few days with a fair wind."

 Columbus was absolutely convinced, from stories he had heard, from his wide and indiscriminate read­ing and from his very mistaken mathematical calcula­tions that Asia lay only some 3900 kilometers (2400 miles) west of Spain.

 Columbus spent years in frustrating negotiations with the Portuguese and Spanish monarchs; his brother Bartholomew laid the plan before the English kings Henry VII and Henry VIII, as well as Francis I of France. Not so well known is Columbus's attempt to gain Genoese backing. This is referred to by Peter Martyr in his invaluable Decades, based on interviews with Columbus and other early navigators. After all, at this very time, Genoese bankers were financing sugar cultivation in the Atlantic islands and their agents were well established in Seville, the city from which the early voyages were orchestrated. It was natural for Columbus to approach his countrymen, but the fact that he did so is not very well known; mention of it here - together with the absence of any reference to his negotiations with the Portuguese - again hint at a Genoese source.

 The interview with the Spanish king, with the refer­ence to the granting to Columbus of the title almirante, of course really happened, although not quite as simply as related here. It is odd that only two ships are mentioned; perhaps the little Niña, of only 50 tons, was not thought worth mentioning.

Kemal Reis's Spanish captive's estimate of the dis­tance between Spain and the New World - 4000 miles, or 6400 kilometers - is much closer to the true distance than Columbus' own, which varied between 1600 and 2400 miles (2500 and 3800 kilometers). Co­lumbus kept two logs, one with the true distance sailed each day - as far as could be estimated - and another with shorter distances so the crew would not realize how far they had sailed and want to turn back. Both figures are considerably less than the 4000 miles mentioned here.

 No cannibals were actually encountered on Col­umbus's first voyage, although the Arawak Indians of Hispaniola and Cuba repeatedly told Columbus of raids by cannibalistic Carib Indians. Columbus at first discounted these stories: "And so I repeat what I have said on other occasions ... the Caniba [Caribs; hence our word cannibal] are nothing else than the people of the Great Khan, who must be very near here and pos­sess ships, and they must come to take them captive, and as the prisoners do not return, they believe that they have been eaten." It was only on the second voyage, in 1493, when Columbus reached Dominica and Guadaloupe, that cannibals were found.

 The island "covered with large snakes" is rather mysterious. Columbus was very interested in snakes, and in the journal of his first voyage carefully noted their appearance, not for herpetological reasons, but because he believed that where there were snakes, there was gold. This belief had the authority of the great Pliny. Although the sources we know of mention snakes -- and iguanas, a favorite food of the Indians - on a number of islands, including Hispaniola, no island is specifically mentioned as particularly snake-ridden. The trade in glass beads had been going on for years on the Guinea coast, where Columbus had been himself. He had no need to read about "beads for the natives" in a book.

 The Spanish didn't only trade beads for gold, but bits of broken crockery, metal tips of boot laces and lit­tle bits of leather straps. It is quite true that the Indians were willing to exchange gold for these exotic goods.

 The pearls were found on the third voyage, off the coast of Venezuela, but in large amounts not by Co­lumbus but by Alonso de Ojeda and Pedro Alonso Niño on an independent expedition in 1499. Anyone sailing with Columbus would have learned of this, and of the brazilwood, which was used for dye.

 Priests and wheat - rather than barley - were a fea­ture of the second voyage of 1494. Over and over in his journal of his first voyage, Columbus stresses that the Indians "have no creed," and would be easily won to Christianity. Their nakedness was a sign that they inhabited an earthly paradise, innocent of The Fall.

 By the time Piri Reis charted these coasts in 1513, in far away Gallipoli, it was true that "these regions have been opened to all," if by "all" we understand "all Spaniards." It is equally possible that Piri Reis means this phrase in the sense of "known to all".

Forty-two place names are inscribed on the islands and coasts of the New World on Piri Reis's map. All but three are transcriptions from Spanish or Portuguese, with the odd exception of one Italian place name - undizi virgini, Italian dialect for "Eleven Virgins," the present-day Virgin Islands. The correct name, given by Columbus on his second voyage in 1493, was "Las Once Mil Virgenes" after the legend of St. Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins. The word "thousand" had been dropped, and oddly enough, twelve little islands are depicted. Paul Kahle thought this single Italian place name went back to Columbus himself, which is possible, although only two annotations in Italian in Columbus's hand are known, both full of errors. Even when writing to bankers in Genoa, Co­lumbus used Spanish, and all the names he gave his discoveries were in that language. It is possible that this name, along with the other references to Genoese discoveries in other captions, goes back to a Genoese source chart.

 Some of these names are easily identifiable - Izle de Spanya is obviously Hispaniola, modern Haiti/ Dominican Republic. The shape, however, reproduces that of "Cipangu" - Japan - on the Behaim Globe of 1492, rather than the true shape of the island. This is evidence for the famous chart Columbus took along on his first voyage, showing the location of islands in the western Atlantic. Here is the entry, made in his log on September 25,1492: "The admiral talked with Mar­tin Alonso Pinzón, captain of the other caravel, the Pinta, concerning a chart which three days before he had sent to him to the caravel and in which, as it appears, the admiral had certain islands depicted as being in that sea." It is possible that Columbus at first marked his discoveries on a pre-existing chart, and this would explain the retention of the conventional shape of Hispaniola. Two other place names occur on Izle de Spanya; al-Jazira, which is simply the Arabic word for "The Island," and Paksin Vidada, almost cer­tainly Puerto Navidad.

 Two names just north of Izle de Spanya may also come from the original chart carried on his voyage by Columbus. They are a word that can be transcribed istunasid, which may conceal the imaginary island of Satanazares marked on the Benincasa map, and, near it, Ile Verde, the mythical "Green Isle" marked on so many medieval and Renaissance charts. The variation in the two transcriptions used by Piri Reis for island - izle and ile - must reflect Spanish (isla) and Portuguese (ilha) originals respectively.

 Another name that is transparent is Sancuvano Batisdo, San Juan Bautista, now Puerto Rico. Opposite this island, on what appears to be the mainland, is a purely Arabic place name - Qal'at Faridat, "Fort Pre­cious Pearl." There is no reference to anything of the kind in the sources.

 The place name Sancuvano Batisdo is also applied to another island, in the Lesser Antilles just west of Vadluq, which is obviously Santa Maria de Guadalupe. This argues that Piri Reis had more than one chart of the Caribbean; the repetition of this place name and of certain coastal features probably resulted from his attempt to fit together two quite different maps.

The chain of islands in the Lesser Antilles, discov­ered on the second voyage, is well drawn and most of the names jibe with those given by Columbus.

 The proof that the source of the Caribbean section of the Piri Reis map was a map drawn by Columbus is the absence of Cuba. Columbus was convinced that the island of Cuba was part of the Asiatic mainland. He sent his Arabic interpreter, Luis de Torres, into the interior of Cuba with a royal letter of credence to the Great Khan. The failure of this diplomatic mission had no effect on Columbus's obsession, and he forced his crews to sign a statement to the effect that they believed Cuba to be mainland Asia, under pain of hav­ing their tongues cut out. That is why Cuba does not appear on the Piri Reis map. The indented triangular point on the "mainland" just west of Izle de Spanya is meant to be Cuba - or to Columbus, the empire of the Mongol Khan.

 No one who looks at the southern part of the map can help being struck by the accuracy of the South American coast, derived from Portuguese charts, as the place names show. A caption explains:

 A Portuguese ship on the way to India met a contrary wind blowing from the shore. The wind drove it from the coast.... After being driven south by the storm, they sighted a coast opposite them. They approached it... and saw that there were good anchorages, so they dropped anchor and went ashore in boats.... They stayed eight days, trading with [the] people by signs.... The said bark returned to Portugal without going to India, and made a report. Eight caravels were sent. They described these coasts in detail and this has been copied from them.

 This refers to Pedro Alvares Cabral's accidental dis­covery of Brazil in 1500, on his way to India. As Piri Reis makes clear in his Kitab-i Bahriye, the secret of rounding the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern tip of Africa, was first to head far to the south west to pick up the winds that would drive one around the Cape. Doing just this, Cabral discovered Brazil and spent a number of days at anchor. Contrary to what Piri says, Cabral did go on to India, but he sent a ship back to Portugal with news of the discovery. The king sent an expedition to Brazil the following year, commanded by Gonsalvo Coelho, aided by the ubiquitous Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci. Some of the place names along this coast seem to go back to those given by Ves­pucci. Others are more mysterious. Sanu Saniyru must be Rio de Janeiro, but what is Qatinu? Is it Cananea, the southernmost point reached by Vespucci? And what of the next four names south - Izle Matus, Ila de Dasane, Ila de Viyola and Ila de Sara?

 Ila de Sara has a caption: "These islands are unin­habited, but spices abound." This, the unnamed islands nearby and the stylized, indented coastline, seem to repeat Caribbean features. Again, one sus­pects that an error has been made by trying to recon­cile a number of divergent charts. On the mainland an inscription reads: "In this country are found white-haired creatures like this, as well as six-horned cattle. The Portuguese had written this on their maps." What are six-horned cattle?

The last caption to the south, apparently describing the triangular indented coastal feature so reminiscent of "Cuba" in the Caribbean portion of the map, reads: "There is no trace of cultivation in this country. Every­thing is desolate, and big snakes are said to be there. For this reason the Portuguese did not land on these shores, which are said to be very hot." Wherever this is meant to be, it is not Patagonia!

 In the Kitab-i Bahriye, Piri Reis gives more details of "Antilya" and of his map. It was a world map, and depicted the Indian Ocean and the China Sea as well as the Atlantic, and the Kitab-i Bahriye is filled with fas­cinating information on the Portuguese irruption into the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, these portions of the map are missing. It is possible that we owe the pre­servation of the Atlantic portion to the fact that the Ottoman Empire had no military interest in the Atlan­tic. The eastern portions of the map may have been removed to be used as sea charts, and never returned.

 The Kitab-i Bahriye was written in 1521. The bulk of the book is a very accurate and detailed guide to the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean, perhaps the most detailed work on the subject until modern times; the introduction in verse deals with such things as cartography, navigation and general geography. The book was presented to Sultan Süleyman the Magni­ficent in 1526, and 29 manuscripts of two different ver­sions survive.

 At the end of the introduction, Piri again takes up the subject of "Antilya." Curiously, the name "Co­lombo" now occurs in its Spanish form as Kolon. Although a few new details are given, the general tenor of the account is very much that given in the captions to the 1513 map.

 They call the country Antilya.

Listen and I will tell you of it.

Let me explain how

That land came to be discovered.

There was an astronomer in Genoa

Whose name was Kolon.

A rare book no doubt from the time of Alexander

Came into his hands.

Everything known about navigation

Was gathered and written in that book.

Finally the book reached the land of the Franks

But they could not understand it.

Kolon found it and read it;

Then he took it to the king of Spain.

When he told the king its meaning,

The king gave him ships.


My friend, by using that book

Kolon sailed to Antilya

He continued to explore those lands;

So the way there became well known.

His map too has come into our possession....

Alexander once voyaged

Over all these seas

He wrote down everything he saw

And everything he heard.

Until he had gathered and written down

All the knowledge of the seas.

Know that this book

Was kept in Egypt.

Later the Franks came to Egypt in great numbers

And conquered the country.


'Amr ibn al-'As then conquered Egypt.

Now see what the people did!

When they saw Egypt was about to be conquered,

The leaders of the country fled.

They went to the land of the Franks,

Crossing to the other side of the sea.

And the book I mentioned

That had survived from the time of Alexander

Was taken with them when they fled.

They came and conquered many lands.

They had that book translated

Entirely into their own language.

If you want to know the truth,

I will tell you who translated it:

It was a man named Bortolomye.

They say he did the translation.

 Here again is the story of an ancient book which led Columbus to his discovery. But now it is identified with Ptolemy's Geography, Claudius Ptolemeus as usual being identified with Alexander's friend and successor. This strange version of the transmission of a classical text, which in fact first reached "the Franks" through versions from the Arabic, has a certain poetic justice. For it was indeed Ptolemy's underestimate of the circumference of the earth that led Columbus to set sail across the Sea of Darkness.

 Historian and Arabist Paul Lunde, author of the whole issue of Aramco World , is a frequent Contributor to the magazines with some 50 articles to his credit over the past two decades, including special multi-article sections on Arabic-language printing and the history of the Silk Roads. His immediate research for this issue was carried out in Seville, Rome, London and Cambridge, and he wrote from his base in Seville’s Barrio do Santa Cruz, a stone’s throw from the city’s cathedral—once a mosque—and from Alcázares Resales, the Moorish palace complex that remains today one of the residences of Spain’s Christian kings.
This article appeared on pages 18-25 of the May/June 1992 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 02:15:53 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 01:34:09 pm »


                                                       P I R I   R E I S   M A P


In 1929, a group of historians found an amazing map drawn on a gazelle skin.
Research showed that it was a genuine document drawn in 1513 by Piri Reis, a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet in the sixteenth century.
His passion was cartography. His high rank within the Turkish navy allowed him to have a privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople.
The Turkish admiral admits in a series of notes on the map that he compiled and copied the data from a large number of source maps, some of which dated back to the fourth century BC or earlier.

 The Controversy

The Piri Reis map shows the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica. The northern coastline of Antarctica is perfectly detailed. The most puzzling however is not so much how Piri Reis managed to draw such an accurate map of the Antarctic region 300 years before it was discovered, but that the map shows the coastline under the ice. Geological evidence confirms that the latest date Queen Maud Land could have been charted in an ice-free state is 4000 BC.

On 6th July 1960 the U. S. Air Force responded to Prof. Charles H. Hapgood of Keene College, specifically to his request for an evaluation of the ancient Piri Reis Map:

6, July, 1960
Subject: Admiral Piri Reis Map
TO: Prof. Charles H. Hapgood
Keene College                                             

Dear Professor Hapgood,
Your request of evaluation of certain unusual features of the Piri Reis map of 1513 by this organization has been reviewed.
The claim that the lower part of the map portrays the Princess Martha Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctic, and the Palmer Peninsular, is reasonable. We find that this is the most logical and in all probability the correct interpretation of the map.
The geographical detail shown in the lower part of the map agrees very remarkably with the results of the seismic profile made across the top of the ice-cap by the Swedish-British Antarctic Expedition of 1949.
This indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap.
The ice-cap in this region is now about a mile thick.
We have no idea how the data on this map can be reconciled with the supposed state of geographical knowledge in 1513.

Harold Z. Ohlmeyer Lt. Colonel, USAF Commander

The official science has been saying all along that the ice-cap which covers the Antarctic is million years old.
The Piri Reis map shows that the northern part of that continent has been mapped before the ice did cover it. That should make think it has been mapped million years ago, but that's impossible since mankind did not exist at that time.

Further and more accurate studies have proven that the last period of ice-free condition in the Antarctic ended about 6000 years ago. There are still doubts about the beginning of this ice-free period, which has been put by different researchers everything between year 13000 and 9000 BC.
The question is: Who mapped the Queen Maud Land of Antarctic 6000 years ago? Which unknown civilization had the technology or the need to do that?

It is well-known that the first civilization, according to the traditional history, developed in the mid-east around year 3000 BC, soon to be followed within a millennium by the Indus valley and the Chinese ones. So, accordingly, none of the known civilizations could have done such a job. Who was here 4000 years BC, being able to do things that NOW are possible with the modern technologies?

All through the Middle Ages were circulating a number of sailing charts called "portolani", which were accurate maps of the most common sailing routes, showing coastlines, harbors, straits, bays, etc. Most of those portolani focused on the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas, and other known routes, just as the sailing book which Piri Reis himself had written.
But a few reported of still unknown lands, and were circulating among few sailors who seemingly kept their knowledge about those special maps as hidden as they could. Columbus is supposed to have been one of those who knew these special sailing charts.

To draw his map, Piri Reis used several different sources, collected here and there along his journeys. He himself has written notes on the map that give us a picture of the work he had been doing on the map. He says he had been not responsible for the original surveying and cartography. His role was merely that of a compiler who used a large number of source-maps. He says then that some of the source-maps had been drawn by contemporary sailors, while others were instead charts of great antiquity, dating back up to the 4th century BC or earlier.

Dr. Charles Hapgood, in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Turnstone books, London 1979, preface), said that:

It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and the compilations of them were made by the geographers who worked there.

Piri Reis had probably come into possession of charts once located in the Library of Alexandria, the well-known most important library of the ancient times.
According to Hapgood's reconstruction, copies of these documents and some of the original source charts were transferred to other centers of learning, and among them to Constantinople. Then in 1204, year of the fourth crusade, when the Venetians entered Constantinople, those maps begun to circulate among the European sailors.

Most of these maps - Hapgood goes on - were of the Mediterranean and the Black sea. But maps of other areas survived. These included maps of the Americas and maps of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. It becomes clear that the ancient voyagers travelled from pole to pole. Unbelievable as it may appear, the evidence nevertheless indicates that some ancient people explored Antarctic when its coasts were free of ice. It is clear too, that they had an instrument of navigation for accurately determining the longitudes that was far superior to anything possessed by the peoples of ancient, medieval or modern times until the second half of the 18th century. [...]

This evidence of a lost technology will support and give credence to many of the other hypothesis that have been brought forward of a lost civilization in remote times. Scholars have been able to dismiss most of those evidences as mere myth, but here we have evidence that cannot be dismissed. The evidence requires that all the other evidences that have been brought forward in the past should be re-examined with an open mind." (Ibid.)

In 1953, a Turkish naval officer sent the Piri Reis map to the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Bureau. To evaluate it, M.I. Walters, the Chief Engineer of the Bureau, called for help Arlington H. Mallery, an authority on ancient maps, who had previously worked with him.
After a long study, Mallery discovered the projection method used.  To check out the accuracy of the map, he made a grid and transferred the Piri Reis map onto a globe: the map was totally accurate. He stated that the only way to draw map of such accuracy was the aerial surveying: but who, 6000 years ago, could have used airplanes to map the earth??

The Hydrographic Office couldn't believe what they saw: they were even able to correct some errors in the present days maps!!
The precision on determining the longitudinal coordinates, on the other hand, shows that to draw the map it was necessary to use the spheroid trigonometry, a process supposedly not know until the middle of 18th century.

Hapgood has proved that the Piri Re'is map is plotted out in plane geometry, containing latitudes and longitudes at right angles in a traditional "grid"; yet it is obviously copied from an earlier map that was projected using spherical trigonometry! Not only did the early map makers know that the Earth was round, but they had knowledge of its true circumference to within 50 miles!

Hapggod had sent his collection of ancient maps (we will see the Piri reis map was not the only one...) to Richard Strachan, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hapggod wanted to know exactly the mathematical level needed in order to draw the original source maps. Strachan answered in 1965, saying that the level had to be very high.

In fact Strachan said that in order to draw such maps, the authors had to know about the spheroid trigonometry, the curvature of the earth, methods of projection; knowledge that is of a very high level.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 02:11:01 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 01:46:54 pm »


                                                  (As seen by PIRI REIS)


 Era l'alba quando disse: — Sire, ormai ti ho parlato de tutte le città che conosco.

— Ne resta una di cui non parli mai.

Marco Polo chinò il capo.

— Venezia, disse il Kan.

Marco sorrise. — E di che altro credevi che ti parlassi?

L'imperatore non batté ciglio. — Eppure non ti ho mai sentito fare il suo nome.

E Polo: — Ogni volta che descrivo una città dico qualcosa di Venezia.

ITALO CALVINO, Le città invisibile

TRANSLATION by bianca2001:

It was dawn when he said: - Sire, by now I have spoken of all the cities I know.

- There is one left of which you never speak

Marco Polo inclined his head.

-Venice, said the Khan

Marco smiled. - And of what else did you think I was speaking?

The Emperor did not bat an eyelash.- But yet I have never heard you say its name

And Polo: - Every time that I describe a city I tell something of Venice

ITALO CALVINO - The Invisible City
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 12:02:25 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2007, 07:05:44 pm »


The Piri Reis Map of 1513 is the first surviving map that shows the Americas (the Vinland map may be older but only shows a part of North America). The Piri Reis map shows North America, South America, Greenland and Antarctica which had not yet been discovered. The map was made by a Turkish Admiral Piri Ibn Haji Mehmed. Reis means admiral. Piri Reis did not long bath in the light of this famous work but was beheaded in 1554 for an unsuccessful foray into the Persian Gulf. The map became lost and was only rediscovered in 1929 by a group of historians working in the harem section of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul (Constatinople) found the map in a pile of rubble.

Because of the details on this map, many claims have been made for this map. Some even believe that it is so perfect that it could only have been made from very high altitude photographs. Some of this claims can be found at the following web sites:

The Paranormal - Anomolies
The Piri Re'is Map, Another World

The Piri Reis map is not made like modern maps with horizontal and vertical grid for location purposes but with an older method perfected by Dulcert Portolano which instead had a series of circles with lines radiating from them. Maps made by this method are thus termed "portolan" maps. Their purpose was to guide navigators from port to port and not for the modern idea of find position. This makes it more difficult to compare features from the Piri Reis map with modern maps.

The Piri Reis map also has a number of notes written on the map. These notes cover everything from Columbus discovering the New World to sea monsters. A translation of these notes is supplied.
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 07:12:57 pm »

Life And Work of the Turkish Admiral: Piri Reis
Prof. Dr. Afetinan
Dr. Lenian Yolac



Let us take a trip into some periods of the past. The first stop on this trip will be Turkey thirty years ago. The first quarter of the present century shows Turkey at the end of the War of Independence, and the Republic established by Kemal Ataturk (1923). The Turkish Republic, now thirty years old, was founded on the remains of another Turkish state, the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923).

For the second stop let us take the year 1929. Let us go into the Palace of Topkapi of the Ottoman Sultans, situated on one of the most beautiful spots of Istanbul called Sarayburnu. The palace, which consists of various buildings, each surrounded by vast gardens, testifies to the different characteristics of the Ottoman period. The Turkish Republican Government decided to turn this palace into a museum.

Discovery of the map of America
In the process of classifying the numerous articles in the buildings, Mr. Halil Edhem, Director of the National Museums, discovered a map* (9 Nov.1929) till then unknown in the world of science. Upon hearing of this discovery of the oldest map of America Ataturk showed great interest in the matter. He asked for the map to be brought to Ankara, studied it and ordered it to be published as it stood and to be submitted to scholarly research.
To study this map for the first time with Ataturk was an immense thrill. It had been drawn hundreds of years ago on a roe-skin, with various coloured illustrations and writings on it. As I held it in my hands, I felt as if I were living in the long forgotten past. My emotions are twenty-four years old now, but let us, with the same national and scholarly pride, take a glimpse into the period when this map was drawn and into the history of the man who had drawn it.

This is one of the oldest and yet most perfect maps of America, drawn by a Turkish admiral. Now, if you do not mind being centuries old for a few minutes, come with mc to the XVI th century. In this third stop our journey suddenly covers a vast ground.

The Sea-Power of the Ottoman-Turkish Empire
[img]XV th and XVI th centuries               
In the XVth century, particularly after the conquest of Istanbul, the Ottoman state grew into an Empire. To secure Turkish domination over the Black Sea and the Mediterranean she had to possess naval strength, which she did. To get the upper hand on the Mediterranean, the Turkish forces had to fight against the Venetians, the Genoese, their usual ally the Knights of St. John, and the Spanish. They finally succeeded in acquiring territorial sovereignty as far as Vienna in west, to the Caucasus, Iran and Iraq in the east, and south and the as a result of adding Syria, Egypt, Tunis, Algiers, the Hejaz and Arabia to the former conquests, formed close contacts on various seas. The Black Sea and the Mediterranean, including the Adriatic shores, came under the domain of the Turkish banner. The fleet carried it across to the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Amman Seas up to the Indian Ocean. The great Turkish admiral, Pin Reis, whose life will be our topic of discussion now, was one of those great Turkish admirals like Burak Reis, Kemal Reis, Muslahiddin Reis, Barbaros Hayrettin, Turgut', and Kilic Ah, who, at the end of the XVth and during the XVI th centuries, won splendid victories for the Turkish fleet, and thus established Turkish power and preserved it over the seas.

Site Courtesy of:
Dr. Joseph M. Richardson, PhD, PE http:
Asociate Professor of Civil Engineering
McNeese State University
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 07:44:23 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 07:17:33 pm »

Biography of Piri Reis

We do not exactly know the date of his birth, but we presume it to be between 1465-1470. He was born at Gelibolu or Gallipoli as the Anglo-American world calls it, a lovely coastal town on the Marmara Sea, which was then used as a naval base. He was named Muhiddin Piri. His father was Haci Mehmet, and his uncle, the famous admiral of the period, Kemal Reis. About the children born and brought up in this town, Ibni Kemal, the Turkish historian says: "The children of Gelibolu grow up in water like alligators. Their cradles are the boats. They are rocked to sleep with the lullaby of the sea and of the ships day and night."
This Turkish boy, too, falling asleep with the sound of the sea in his ears spends eleven years of his life in his native town. Like other Turkish children of the time, he acquires his early notions about the world from the ideas at home and around him, and also from the elementary teaching he was given. After he is twelve, he joins the crew of his uncle, Kemal Reis. Thereafter he is no longer an unknown Turkish youth, but Piri, a careful observer, and a sea-hero whose name will be remembered in history. He starts his career under the vigilance of his uncle, and takes part in all kinds of naval activities for fourteen uninterrupted years. We can follow him at this period of his life through his book, "Bahriye - On Navigation" in which he recorded his experiences of the places he visited with his uncle, and the historical events of the time in a most vivid and delightful style. The first fourteen years of Kemal Reis'  life is spent in piracy, as was the custom at the time. After becoming a considerable power on the sea through his own personal efforts, in 1494 Kemal Reis accepted official recognition and position from the Ottoman Government, along with his worthy and experienced crew.

Several sources confirm the indication - that Piri was with Kemal Reis before this date. For instance, during a period when his uncle was at Egriboz, he says in a passage in the "Bahnye", about the monasteries of Athos, "The aforesaid place is a long cape, 80 miles in length; to the Tracian side lies a dried up channel" (pp. 117-119). In his book, the "Bahriye", he makes the following remarks about the ports on the coast of Athos on the Khalkidhiki peninsula: "In front of the monastery of Alaviri stand native rocks, among which there lies a natural port. It can take only one boat at a time, but since the mouth of the port lies open to the north, the North and the East winds do much harm to the boat lying there. It so happened to us once. As we were lying in harbour the strong East-wind blew across to the north and damaged our boat, whereupon the monks from the monastery came to our rescue. They tied the boat down on all the four sides after which she could not move at all. Thus we were saved from the storm, and proceeded on our way."  (Bahriye, p. 113).

The remarks refer to the coast of Athos. For the. third peninsula he gives this information: "There is a cape at. Karaburun. People call it the. cape of Kesendere. From this cape to "Kumburnu" it is all covered with pine woods. Kumburnu is a low and sandy cape; at the point it grows quite shallow. On it, 100 miles to the North-West lies the city of Salonica." In another version of the book he says something different about the same cape: "The coast of Kesendere as far as Kum Burnu is very shallow. Along the coast run tall pine trees. But nobody knows where one can obtain drinking water. To the humble author of these lines Kara Hasan Reis showed the spot."

In 1494 the Moslem population in Granada in Spain asked for help from the Tunisian, Egyptian and the Ottoman Governments. It was just then that Kemal Reis was leading a life of piracy and used his ships to transport these Moslems over to Africa. From 1487 to 1493 Piri participated in various activities on these seas under the supervision of his uncle.


Piri Reis gives remarkable information about the western coast of the Med4terranean and the islands there, and says the fol lowing about the island of Minorea of the Balearie Isles: "They call that port Portulano. It has a good harbour. As soon as you leave the harbour and turn along the eastern coast to the north you come upon a natural spring. It emerges from under a fig tree. Around that spring you are sure to meet Arab and Turkish boats most of the time, for they obtain their water there. Further over it stands a fortress." (Bahriye p. 532).

During six years of piracy around various islands and coasts on the Mediterranean, they fought against other pirates of the time, conquered ships and in bad weather spent the winter in favourable harbours. Kemal Reis stayed a long time along the African coast, in Algiers, Tunis and Bona, and formed friendly relations with the people there having an exceptionally good reception there. (Bahriye, 1935 Introduction). P. IV Thus while spending the winter months of I490~I49I in the harbour at Bona they took part in the battle led by Kemal Reis against Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica.

One of these battles is recorded by Piri in this way: "There are some shallow spots along the aforesaid bay of Resereno; Terranova is a fortress on a low ground. "Terranova" means "new town" in Sicily. Now, the fore part of the town is a beach, a good shelter in the summer. The vessels lie three to four miles away from the land across the fortress. In the aforesaid harbour we overcame three vessels this time." (Bahriye, p.493),

Thus each event is recorded with the correct dates. For the island of Corsica Piri wrote a new chapter (pp.523-529) and added a map of the island with detailed explanations giving the contour of the island as 400 miles, and said: "On this island stands a tall mountain rising from the north to the south. At this date I counted 25 peaks of this mountain in the eastern part of it. They looked just like the teeth of a saw. Every one of those peaks is covered with snow all through the year" (p.524).

Fig. 5 Map of Sardinia, in the Bahriye.

About the inhabitants he says: "The aforesaid island of Corsica was a demesne of the Genoese, but later when the French conquered Genoa, among the others, this island, too, passed over to the French."

At the time, the ruling sultan was Bayezid II, son of Melimet II, the Conqueror. After the death of his brother, Prince Jeni, in 1495 Bayezid started ruling the country without a rival. Aiming at greater conquests he endeavoured to reinforce the territorial as well as the naval powers, and for that purpose brought 'under his banner the various units of Turkish pirate ships. He invited Kemal Reis to join the imperial fleet. He did so, with Piri Reis and Kara Hasan to help him. They all were

experienced and trained sailors with good knowledge of the seas. In such a capacity did Piri Reis take part in the Mediterranean campaigns under Kemal Reis' supervision.

The first official acknowledgment of Piri's deeds is an account of the sea fights in the years 1499-1502. The actual commander-in-chief of the fleet belonging to the Supreme Admiral of all the Sea-Forces was Kemal Reis. In this fleet Piri was given official command of some of the vessels. His service in the battles (1500-1502) against the Venetians was remarkable. The great advantages that the Ottoman Empire acquired by the Treaty of Venice in 1502 were made possible mainly by the brave deeds of these seamen. After this date Piri works as an admiral of the fleet again, but at his uncle's death during a sea battle, Piri was deprived of his great protector. Because of some reason unknown to us, Piri had not taken part in that battle. There can be no doubt as to how deep a source of sorrow this loss was to Piri. The knowledge acquired in the tutorship of Kemal Reis and the accumulated experience during his life at sea had secured him fame and a firm position. After his uncle's death he left the open seas and started working on his first map of the world at Gelibolu. The portion of the map we now possess is a part of it.

Along with this map he arranged his notes f6r the book "Bahriye" which later turned out to be a kind of guide book on navigation. In 1516-1517 Piri was given command of several vessels taking part in the Ottoman campaign against Egypt. Under the command of Cafer Bey the fleet took Alexandria. With a part of this fleet Piri

sailed to Cairo through the Nile, and later drew a map and gave detailed information about this area, too.

After Egypt was joined to the growing Empire, Piri had a chance of making the personal acquaintance of the ruling sovereign, Yavuz Selim; during the battle of Alexandria. He presented the map he had previously drawn to the Sultan. After the Egyptian campaign, during a period of relaxation at Gelibolu, he put his notes on "Bahriye" into book form.

The reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, who ascended the throne in 1520, is a history of successive victories. Piri's taking part in the Turkish fleet going to the campaign on Rhodes in 1523 is to be regarded as only natural.

Piri commemorates the royal command of Sultan Suleyman to him to act as a guide to Pargall Ibrahim Pasa, the Chief Vizir, in verse (pp. 549-550).

It was after this campaign that Ibrahim Pasa realized the importance of the "Bahriye" and urged Piri to put the notes into book form and copy them out again. Piri records that incident, too, at the end of the book in verse. Because of a storm at sea they cannot proceed on their way, and are compelled to take refuge at Rhodes. For Piri, however, this proves to be a good opportunity to make the Pasa's acquaintance.. Piri's frequent references does not fail to attract the Vizir's attention.
Encouraged by his words Piri rearranges the book to Gelibolu and copies it all out, and with the help of Ibrahim Pasa presents it to the Sultan. The date of the book is given in verse in the traditional way. From the final couplet one makes the date to be 1526 A.D. (923 by the Arabic Calendar).

In his preface to the book, Piri mentions the favourable reception it received from the Sultan. Later he draws another map and presents that, too, to Suleyman.

One can follow his life up to 1526 in this book. After this date, we deduce from the state records that Piri was appointed an admiral of ships in the south seas. He rendered many services to the government in this capacity, in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Arabian. Sea. Thus we find him growing old at the head of his ships. He died exactly 400 years ago in 1554, as an old man of 84. Mortal though he himself was, he left behind him immortal works and unforgettable services to the world of civilization.

With this ends the biography of Piri Reis. Most of it has been taken from his own memoirs on his experiences at seafaring. On the science of navigation, Piri was one of the most outstanding scholars of his time. Apparently, besides his native tongue, he knew Greek, Italian, Spanish and even Portuguese. He acknowledges his debt to various works in these languages, in drawing his map of the world.

A galley from the Turkish-Ottoman period. The flags have a crescent or a sword on red and blue. All these ships were built in Turkish docks and belonged to a powerful organization. Those serving in this fleet had to go through a strict course of training.

Site Courtesy of:

Dr. Joseph Richardson, PhD, PE
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
McNeese State University
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 07:45:30 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 07:19:16 pm »

Piri Reis' Scholarly Works

If Piri were only a helpmate to Kemal Reis, even with the grand titles and high posts that he had won, he would not be a subject important enough for the history of civilization today. We would cite him only as one of the great admirals of the Ottoman Empire when she was a great power on various seas. For, at the time, not only were the Black Sea and the Marmara exclusively Turkish seas, but the eastern and the southern coasts of the Mediterranean and all the neighboring islands as well as the eastern coast of the Adriatic were under Turkish domination. The Turkish banner reigned on the Red Sea and the Arabian; the Turkish fleet carried it to the coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean.
To be the ruler of so many seas the Ottoman Empire was bound to have great seamen. And yet Piri Reis, life and works differ from those of his contemporaries. He was not content to secure for his country more powers and victories but left written works on the science of navigation, which have survived to this day.

The Book "Bahriyye-on Navigation"
Piri Reis then young but quite experienced, traveled on Kemal Reis' ships almost the full length of the Mediterranean coasts, and on many occasions he was able to study various Spanish, Tunisian, French and Adriatic harbours. Acquiring information on various geographic and naval conditions of these legions, he recorded his own observations on them, and all this formed the basis for his book "Bahriye-On Navigation". In it Piri described the towns and countries along the Mediterranean coasts, and drew maps, charts and pictures of them. He did not neglect giving important information on navigation there, either. Reading the book page by page will take us on a delightful trip along these regions in the XVI th century. It is, basically, a kind of naval guide book. He gathered all previous information on the subject, but added to it other practical knowledge necessary for sailors on the most important coastal routes, and drew large maps of all the spots he considered important there. In this way the book came out not only as a mere guide book, but also it became the greatest contemporary "portulano" with the most advanced technique of cartography.
One can see in this book a most significant invention: to make available all that he could not squeeze into the maps, for his readers he drew large maps and complemented them with indexes.

The book has many versions. 29 of them exist in the libraries of Europe and Istanbul. Some of them bear the date 1520 (Arabic 927) the others 1525 (Arabic 932).

The book was published in 1935, with an introduction, an index and a facsimile, based on the version now in the St. Sophia Museum in Istanbul. It has 858 large pages and a section all in verse form, consisting of 78 pages; the latter is divided into 23 chapters, 1107 couplets in all. Into these lines Piri has put all that he learned and observed as well as information indirectly acquired, on the seas of the world, in a style easy to remember and memorize.

The main theme in the book is the Mediterranean coast and the islands there. In Chapters I and II (pp. 7-19). he explains his aim in writing the book and also his life at sea with Kemal Reis In Chapters III, IV, and V (pp. 19-23).he gives information about storms, winds and the compass Chapters VI and VII (pp.23-29) are about maps and emblematic signs on maps. In Chapter VIII (p. 29) he says that one fourth of the seas that cover the earth has continents on them, and by giving names to each he cites 7 seas. Chapter IX (pp.30-32) is devoted to the geographic discoveries of the Portuguese. In Chapter X (pp. 33-37) he discusses Abyssinia as extending as far as the Cape of Good Hope and wishes that the Turks may drive back the Dutch and the Portuguese from the Red Sea. In Chapter XI (pp.37-43) on the globular chart which he calls "the ball of the earth" be talks about the poles, the tropics, and the equator, and relates what the Portuguese know about them. Chapter XII (pp. 43-52) recounts how the Portuguese make voyages from their own country to the Indies with favourable winds, in a most profitable way. Chapter XIII (pp. 52-56) is general information on navigation, but it also relates some sailors' stories based on fantastic rumours.

It includes an account of the Chinese seas, and considering that part of the world as the end of the East, he gives information on the Chinese people, their customs and traditions and their skill in pottery. The explanations in Chapters XIV and XV (pp. 56-61) about the Indian Ocean and the monsoons are valid even today. He also discusses the wind situations in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas. He describes, here, the implement called the "Indian Measure" which measures heights, and also gives information about the Pole Star.

In Chapter XVI (pp. 61-66) he describes the Persian Gulf from what he has heard about it, because then he has not yet been able to visit that part of the world. He gives a very good account of pearl-fishing and the spots for it. This piece of information is as good as modern since pearl-fishing is still performed in the same way and at the same spots. In Chapters XVII, XVIII, XIX and XX (pp.67-77) he calls the Indian Ocean "the Sea of the Negroes", and gives an account of the coast and the islands there.

In Chapter XXI (pp. 77-84) he studies the Atlantic Ocean under two different names: "the Western Sea" and "The Great Ocean". He says that the "Western Sea" begins from the Straits of Gibraltar and extends 4000 miles towards the west. He also informs the reader of the continent he calls "the Antilia". He says, that there the mountains contain rich gold ores, and four fathoms deep in the sea pearl is to be found (p.78). He discusses the history of the continent and says that it was discovered by sailors. About the inhabitants there he says that they have flat faces, and eyes a full span apart from each other; they are large in build and frightful creatures. He recounts all this on hearsay. He adds to it, though, some personal experiences as to how he once got a hat belonging to the natives on some Mediterranean island. The hat was made of parrots' feathers. There was also an axe made of some hard, black stone that could cut even iron. In this way Piri wrote most of the information in the margin of the map of America into this book.

In the chapter on this "Western Sea" we read all that is known about the' discovery of America at the time. Of this he recounts, on hearsay again, how a certain book from the time of Alexander the Great was translated in Europe, and after reading it how Christopher Columbus went and discovered the Antilles with the vessels he obtained from the Spanish government.

It is quite evident today that Piri Reis came into possession of the map that the great discoverer had used.

He makes a reference to the Caspian Sea and says that it is a closed sea. He gives no information, however, about the Red Sea or the Black Sea.

Thus in these 74 pages of verse he was able to gather all the contemporary information about navigation.

The main body of the book consists of 743 pages (pp. 85-848), and these are divided into 209 chapters with 215 maps and charts. This part is written in prose, the aim being to make it available and easy for every sailor. It begins with the Dardanelles, then goes on to the Aegean Sea, the coastline and the islands there, then the Adriatic Sea and the coasts along Western Italy, Southern France and Eastern Spain; geographic and historical information about the islands there are given and then along the Straits of Gibraltar to the African coast as far as Egypt, then to the shores of Palestine and Syria, to Cyprus and then the Anatolian coastline up to Marmaris. At the end of this part he studies Crete and other islands which he had not previously mentioned. Later coming back to the Straits of Dardanelles he finishes the book with a description of the Gulf of Saros.

In composing the work Piri first gives historical and geographical information and then he discusses the necessary practical knowledge on navigation. Each chapter contains detailed charts, some in different colours. Since his method is still used in modern guide books on navigation and seas one cannot help wondering at the advanced outlook, which the book presents. On many points the accuracy of his statements are indisputable. The work, therefore, must he regarded as very important for the science of navigation.

The great sailor-writer draws maps of and gives information about the Adriatic coast in general and about the Bay of Venice in particular. About the latter he says, "The city of Venice extends to an area of 12 miles. The whole district consists of parts of land and parts of an "ear" of the sea. The sea is at some places quite shallow and at others deep. The people have put piles upon these shallow spots and upon them built their city. Before the city was thus constructed fishermen used to come to these lonely spots, spread their nets and catch fish. When fishing flourished there, more people began to come and then to settle there by building houses over those piles. In the course of time they increased in number. The wise ones among them thought that they must see to it that the city they were building must be able to stand for all time". (Bahriye, p.422-423).

Then Piri describes the building of the famous St. Marco, the purpose and the process involved in building it. He later tells us that the inhabitants live by trade, and that one has to hire a guide from the fortress of "Yaransa" to go to the city, otherwise, they do not take the responsibility for any loss or damages incurred because of the shallow waters.

The final judgment arrived at about the book, after profound study, is as follows: "Research work done on it reveals that not a single statement can be found in it that is not based on facts". This becomes very obvious in the ease of Crete when knowledge concerning the island at two different periods in history is compared. Unfortunately, however, since this great work was not published in the XVI th century and was there fore unknown to the world of science, it has not been as useful as it could have been. Nevertheless the work still retains its Importance and value despite the intervening centuries.

Site Courtesy of:

Dr. Joseph Richardson, PhD, PE
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
McNeese State University

« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 07:46:16 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 07:21:13 pm »

Piri's First Map of the World, 1513

Let us now concentrate on the first map of the world drawn by Piri. His own ideas about cartography in general are recorded in verse form (p. 24). He says that drawing maps requires profound knowledge and specification. He believes that the slightest error in drawing a map makes the map useless (p. 25). To see how faithful he was to this principle of accuracy and exactitude one need only study his maps.

Foreseeing the development of maritime possibilities of the Ottoman Empire in the early decades of the XVIth century, Piri realized the necessity for a map of the world to help those sea-men that would take voyages on the seas, with practical information. In drawing this map, as a sailor devoted to his profession, he applied all the resources then available.

In his preface to the "Bahriye" he refers to the map and says that he has made use of all the known maps, including those on the Chinese seas and the Indian Ocean, which were unknown in the western world at that time. He also records that he presented it to Sultan Selim II. From a note in the margin hand-written by the author himself, we conclude that the map was drawn by Piri at Gelibolu between March and April of 1513 (Arabic 919). In one of these notes Piri cites his references and some twenty maps he had made use of.. Eight of these were new maps of Mappa Mundi, four drawn by the Portuguese, an Indian one in Arabic, and one by Christopher Columbus on the western hemisphere. The most important point to be noted here is the fact that Piri had a map of Columbus, in his hand when 'drawing his own. He himself refers to it in the "Bahriye" (p.82) when talking about Columbus' discovery of the Antilles. This can be accounted for in the following way: he came into possession of the map when he was with Kemal Reis on the Spanish shores on the Mediterranean. In a reference to the shores of Valencia he says that once on those shores he and Kemal Reis took, at a single engagement at sea, seven Spanish vessels (Bahriye, p. 596). We have already noted how he refers to the "Antilia" and the natives of the Antilles.

In one of the marginal notes on the map Piri mentions a Spaniard who had taken part in three of Columbus's two expeditions and was later taken prisoner by Kemal Reis. This Spaniard had given a most interesting account of Columbus to Kemal Reis. It is quite possible that he was captured during the battle when some of those articles belonging to the natives were also taken.

The map of Columbus in Piri's possession. was drawn in 1498, and, since we know that Kemal Reis and Piri had fought against the Spanish in 1501, Piri's acquisition of the map during that war is quite plausible.

Although Piri had drawn a map of the whole world, the portion we now have of it is only of the western coasts of Europe and Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, Central and North Americas.

The map is drawn on a roe-skin in various colour. Like other contemporary maps it has no lines of longitude or latitude. Nevertheless We can see two rose-compasses one in the north and the other in the south. Each of the roses is divided into 32 parts and the division lines are extended beyond the rose frames. Each wind-rose is equal to one sea mile, as is shown in the measurements on the areas near the wind-roses. The map is 90/65 centimeters in size.

It is in various colour and is decorated with numerous illustrations. In the capitals of Portugal, Marrakesh and Guinea, there are pictures of their respective sovereigns. Besides these, on Africa there are pictures of an elephant and of an ostrich, and on South America of lamas and pumas. On the oceans and along the coasts we see illustrations of ships. On both the lands and the seas there are entries sometimes relevant, sometimes irrelevant of the pictures. They are all written in Turkish, and can also be found in his book "Bahriye".

You can follow the entry-notes beginning from the north-west corner, turning southward, then proceeding along the perimeter, and finally continuing in a winding fashion towards the center.

Reading some of the notes is really difficult. The map is transcribed by experts as follows:

I. There is a kind of red dye called vakami, that you do not observe at first, because it is at a distance . . . the mountains contain rich ores. . . . There some of the sheep have silken wool.

II. This country is inhabited. The entire population goes naked.

III. This region is known as the vilayet of Antilia. It is on the side where the sun sets. They say that there are four kinds of parrots, white, red, green and black. The people eat the flesh of parrots and their headdress is made entirely of parrots' feathers. There is a stone here. It resembles black touchstone. The people use it instead of the ax. That it is very hard . . . [illegible]. jPe saw that stone.

[NOTE: Piri Reis writes in the "Bahriye": "In the enemy ships which we captured in the Mediterranean, we found a headdress made of these parrot feathers, and also a stone resembling touchstone."]

IV. This map was drawn by Piri Ibn Haji Mehmed, known as the nephew of Kemal Reis, in Gallipoli, in the month of muharrem of the year 919 (that is, between the 9th of March and the 7th of April of the year 1513).

V. This section tells bow these shores and also these islands were found.

These coasts are named the shores of Antilia. They were discovered in the year 896 of the Arab calendar. But it is reported thus, that a Genoese infidel, his name was Colombo, be it was who discovered these places. For instance, a book fell into the hands of the said Colombo, and be found it said in this book that at the end of the Western Sea [Atlantic] that is, on its western side, there were coasts and islands and all kinds of metals and also precious stones. The abovementioned, having studied this book thoroughly, explained these matters one by one to the great of Genoa and said: "Come, give me two ships, let me go and find these places." They said: "O unprofitable man, can an end or a limit be found to the Western Sea? Its vapour is full of darkness." The above-mentioned Colombo saw that no help was forthcoming from the Genoese, he sped forth, went to the Bey of Spain [king], and told his tale in detail. They too answered like the Genoese. In brief Colombo petitioned these people for a long time, finally the Bey of Spain gave him two ships, saw that they were well equipped, and said:

"O Colombo, if it happens as you say, let us make you kapudan [admiral] to that country." Having said which be sent the said Colombo to the Western Sea. The late Gazi Kemal had a Spanish slave. The above-mentioned slave said to Kemal Reis, be bad been three times to that land with Colombo. He said: "First we reached the Strait of Gibraltar, then from there straight south and west between the two . . . [illegible]. Having advanced straight four thousand miles, we saw an island facing us, but gradually the waves of the sea became foamless, that is, the sea was becalmed and the North Star-the seamen on their compasses still say star-little by little was veiled and became invisible, and he also said that the stars in that region are not arranged as here. They are seen in a different arrangement. They anchored at the island which they had seen earlier across the way, the population of the island came, shot arrows at them and did not allow them to land and ask for information. The males and the females shot hand arrows. The tips of these arrows were made of fish bones, and the whole population went naked and also very . . . [illegible]. Seeing that they could not land on that island; they crossed to the other side of the island, they saw a boat. On seeing them; the boat fled and they [the people in the boat] dashed out on land. They [the Spaniards] took the boat. They saw that inside of it there was human flesh. It happened that these people were of that nation which went from island to island hunting men and eating them. They said Colombo saw yet another island, they neared it, they saw that on that island there were great snakes. They avoided landing on this island and remained there seventeen days. The people of this island saw that no harm came to them from this boat, they caught fish and brought it to them in their small ship's boat [filika]. These [Spaniards] were pleased and gave them glass beads. It appears that he [Columbus] had read-in the book that in that region glass beads were valued. Seeing the beads they brought still more fish. These [Spaniards] always gave them glass beads. One day they saw gold around the arm of a woman, they took the gold and gave her beads. They said to them, to bring more gold, we will give you more beads, [they said]. They went and brought them much gold. It appears that in their mountains there were gold mines. One day, also, they saw pearls in the hands of one person. They saw that when; they gave beads, many more pearls were brought to them. Pearls were found on the shore of this island, in a spot one or two fathoms deep. And also loading their ship with many logwood trees and taking two natives along, they carried them within that year to the Bey of Spain. But the said Colombo, not knowing the language of these people, they traded by signs, and after this trip the Bey of Spain sent priests and barley, taught the natives how to sow and reap and converted them to his own religion. They had no religion of any sort. They walked naked and lay there like animals. Now these regions have been opened to all and have become famous. The names which mark the places on the said islands and coasts were given by Colombo, that these places may be known by them. And also Colombo was a great astronomer. The coasts and island on this map are taken from Colombo's map.

VI. This section shows in what way this map was drawn. In this century there is no map like this map in anyone's possession. The-hand of this poor man has drawn it and now it is constructed. From about twenty charts and Mappae Mundi-these are charts drawn in the days of Alexander, Lord of the Two Horns, which show the inhabited quarter of the world; the Arabs name these charts Jaferiye-from eight Jaferiyes of that kind and one Arabic map of Hind, and from the maps just drawn by four Portuguese which show the countries of Hind, Sind and China geometrically drawn, and also from a map drawn by Colombo in the western region I have extracted it. By reducing all these maps to one scale this final form was arrived at. So that the present map is as correct and reliable for the Seven Seas as the map of these our countries is considered correct and reliable by seamen.

VII. It is related by the Portuguese infidel that in this spot night and day are at their shortest of two hours, at their longest of twenty two hours. But the day is very warm and in the night there is much dew.

VIII. On the way to the vilayet of Hind a Portuguese ship encountered a contrary wind [blowing] from the shore. The wind from the shore . . . [illegible] it [the ship]. After being driven by a storm in a southern direction they saw a shore opposite them they advanced towards it [illegible]. They saw that these places are good anchorages. They threw anchor and went to the shore in boats. They saw people walking, all of them naked. But they shot arrows, their tips made of fishbone. They stayed there eight days. They traded with these people by signs. That barge saw these lands and wrote about them which. . . . The said barge without going to Hind, returned to Portugal, where, upon arrival it gave information. . . . They described these shores in detail. . . . They have discovered them.

IX. And in this country it seems that there are white-haired monsters in this shape, and also six-horned oxen. The Portuguese infidels have written it on their maps. . . . .   

X. This country is a uninhabited. Everything is in ruin and it is said that large snakes are found here. For this reason the Portuguese infidels did not land on these shores and these are also said to be very hot.

XI. And these four ships are Portuguese ships. Their shape is written down. They traveled from the western land to the point of Abyssinia [Habesh] in order to reach India. They said towards Chalice. The distance across this gulf is 4200 miles.

XII. .... on this shore a tower

.... is however

.... in this climate gold

.... taking a rope

.... is said they measured

[NOTE: The fact that half of each of these lines is missing is the clearest proof of the map's having been torn in two.]

XIII. And a Genoese kuke [a type of ship] coming from Flanders was caught in a storm. Impelled by the storm it came upon these islands, and in this manner these islands became known.

XIV. It is said that in ancient times a priest by the name of Sanvolrandan (Santo Brandan) traveled on the Seven Seas, so they say. The above-mentioned landed on this fish. They thought it dry land and lit a fire upon this fish, when the fish's back began to burn it plunged into the sea, they re-embarked in their boats and fled to the ship. This event is not mentioned by the Portuguese infidels. It is taken from the ancient Mappae Mundi.

XV. To these small islands they have given the name of Undizi Vergine. That is to say the Eleven Virgins.

XVI. And this island they call the Island of Antilia. There are many monsters and parrots and much logwood. It is not inhabited.

XVII. This barge was driven upon these shores by a storm and remained where it fell. . . . Its name was Nicola di Giuvan. On his map it is written that these rivers which can be seen have for the most part gold [in their beds]. When the water had gone they collected much gold [dust] from the sand. On their map. . . .

XVIII. This is the barge from Portugal which encountered a storm and cam( to this land. The details are written on the edge of this map. [NOTE: see VIII.]

XIX. The Portuguese infidels do not go west of here. All that side belong,, entirely to Spain. They have made an agreement that [a line] two thousand mile., to the western side of the Strait of Gibraltar should be taken as a boundary. The Portuguese do not cross to that side but the Hind side and the southern side belong to the Portuguese.

XX. And this caravel having encountered a storm was driven upon this island. Its name was Nicola Giuvan. And on this island there are many oxen with one horn. For this reason they call this island Isle de Vacca, which means, Ox Island.

XXI. The admiral of this caravel is named Messir Anton the Genoese, but be grew up in Portugal. One day the above-mentioned caravel encountered a storm, it was driven upon this island. He found much ginger here and has written about these islands.

XXII. This sea is called the Western Sea, but the Frank sailors call it the Mare d'Espagna. Which means the Sea of Spain. Up to now it was known by these names, but Colombo, who opened up this sea and made these islands known, and also the Portuguese, infidels who have opened up the region of Hind have agreed together to give this sea a new name. They have given it the name of Ovo Sano [Oceano] that is to say, sound egg. Before this it was thought that the sea had no end or limit, that at its other end was darkness. Now they have seen that this sea is girded by a coast, because it is like a lake, they have called it Ovo Sano.

XXIII. In this spot there are oxen with one horn, and also monsters in this shape.

XXIV. These monsters are seven spans long. Between their eyes there is a distance of one span. But they are harmless souls.

Site Courtesy of:

Dr. Joseph Richardson, PhD, PE
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
McNeese State University
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 07:48:39 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2007, 07:23:13 pm »

* * *
The mountains are drawn in outlines and the rivers are marked with thick tines. In the map Pin Reis adopts and applies the rules of emblematic signs mentioned on page 28 in the 'Bahriye". Thus he indicates the rocky regions with black, the sandy and shallow waters with reddish dots, and the rocky parts in the sea which cannot be seen by sailors with crosses.
A close study of the map shows us how faithful Pin was to his sources. In the bibliography attached to the map he claims that his map is as sound and accurate f(r the seven seas as the map of the Mediterranean. From the various Turkish names on these coasts like Babadagi, Akburun, Yesilburun, Kizilburun, Altin Irmagi, Guzel K6rfcz, Kozluk Burnu, Iki Hurmalik Burnu etc., we deduce that in his drawing he made use not only of the Portuguese maps in his possession, but also of the information supplied by various Turkish sailors faring along these coasts. In his drawing of the coastline and in his marking of the sites of importance on it we again notice his remarkable accuracy. He is quite accurate also in the positions of the Azores, Madeira and the Canary islands.

As for the northern part of the map, we see here how Pin Reis benefited by the new Portuguese maps and recorded on it the discoveries made before 1508 on the North American Coast by Amerigo Vespucci, Pinzon Juan de Solis Some of the place names on the South American coast, like Santa Agostini, San Megali, San Francisco, Port Rali, Total Sante, Abrokiok, Cav Frio and Katenio show a close resemblance to their modern forms. Except for the two entries about the name and the date of the map, all the other entries are written by a calligrapher. This fact can account for the changes to be observed in various names on the map. Another reason for this may easily be the inadequacy of the Arabic script then in use, for expressing Turkish words.

All the principal rivers in South America are marked on the map, though the names are not written It is remarkable that he should have shown the river La Plate on the map, when Pinzo and Juan de Solis passed by it and from all accounts, never even noticed it. Outside the parts relating to Columbus' map, the scales in miles are astonishingly accurate. The land extends unipemeded to the west from the south of lie Plate. Evidently this part of the map is drawn in accordance with the Ptolemic idea of the world, as is also observed n Mappa Mundi. Eight years later, when he had finished his ~ in the preface to the book he affirms that, further south it is not land but sea, which shows that he was following le later discoveries with careful attention. And yet, from it point of view of the historical importance of these geographic discoveries, this map is particularly significant for Central America.

Close studies here confirm the idea that the map possesses all the important information that was on the map of C. Columbus drawn and sent to Europe in 1498 and also on the map of Toscanelli that Columbus had in hand when he first ventured Out on his voyages. This part of the map contains many imaginary islands with a picture of a parrot on each. The island of Trinidad is written as "Kalerot", which probably is derived from a cape on this island which Columbus called "Galera". Porto Rico is named here San Juan Batichdo, and on its eastern coast is drawn the picture of a fortress. There is, however, another island to the west of Trinidad, again with a picture of a parrot near which is written San Juan Batichdo. Drawing various islands on the South American coast opposite Trinidad shows the influence of Colombus, who believed this newly discovered continent to be a group of islands. This is to be observed also on the island of Haiti, called by Columbus Hispanyola, and by Pin the Island of Spain: instead of showing it extending from the east to the west, as it does, he shows it extending from the north to the south, which proves that Columbus took this island to be Zipang, i.e. Japan as Marco Polo calls it and in accordance with Marco Polo's descriptions of it, the island is given this mistaken position.


The real Antilles are shown on the map not as islands, but as C. Columbus believed it to be, as a continent. Hence Pin calls Central America "the County of Antilia", and the North American coast "the coast of Antilia". It is true that at a certain spot quite near the North American Coast there is marked an island called the Antilia, but evidently that stood for the legendary island popularly regarded as fabulously wealthy and prosperous at the time when Columbus first started on his voyages. It is to be noted, however, that beside the island is a note that states that, contrary to the common fallacy, the island is not prosperous. Cuba, too, is shown as a continent in accordance with Columbus' firm belief. So confident was Columbus in this that while he was near the coast of Cuba in ]494 he had his conviction recorded by the notary public on the boat, Fernand Perez de Luna, and asked all the crew to sign it, as we can now see from the document signed on the 12th June, 1494, which declares that, since it is quite evident that this is a continent, thereafter whoever attempts to contradict this statement shall be fined to 10.00 Maravedis pieces and also his tongue shall be cut out. Undoubtably the reason why Pin, too, shows it as a continent was not because he was afraid for' hi's tongue, but because he would not 'question the veracity of a piece of information given by such an authority as Columbus, who had been to those parts of the world several times. Cuba is shown as a continent also in the map of Columbus dated 1498, which formed the basis for Pin's later on; in the rough sketch drawn by Christopher Columbus' brother, Bartholomeo, in 1503, in the map of the world made by Ruysch in 1508, and even in the marine map by Waldeesmuller in 1507.

Click on image for Large Format .A comparison of the Piri Reis map with the modern conception of this area. As it will be easily perceived the distance between South America and Africa is quite correct. Comparison with the other contemporary maps reveals Piri's greatness in the technique of cartography.

Pin calls the eleven islands on the south-east of Haiti "Undizi Vergine," which shows that the number of the islands is not expressed by the word "onze" which means eleven in Spanish but by its equivalent in Columbus' mother tongue, Italian. This is another indication of how faithful Pin was to Columbus' map, Keeping close to the information of Columbus' map which apparently

possessed all that was on the earlier Toscanelli map, Pin harided dbwn to us the oldest map of America and informed us about various aspects of the most important phase in the history of the discoveries. By recording the explanations given by the Spaniard who had taken part in the three expeditions of Columbus and was later captured by Kemal Reis, he related the story of these discoveries from an original source free from the later legendary tales which have grown about them.

Scattered about the map are some other entries which also enlighten us about various details in the discoveries. Beside the picture of a ship near the Azores is written that this Genoese vessel came from Flanders, was shipwrecked, and that the survivors discovered these islands. From another entry we learn that the sea there is the Western Sea, but the Europeans call it the Spanish Sea, and after the discoveries of Columbus' the name is changed to Ovasana, i.e. "Osean".

By a picture near the island of Santiano is a note stating-that the names of these places were found and given by a Genoese sailor brought up in Portugal. In anther entry close' to the picture of a ship drawn near the South American coast he summarizes all the information given in a map by Nikola di Juan who was shipwrecked there. In one of the notes on the Atlantic Ocean he mentions the treaty of "Tordesillas" 1599, and a certain line that divides the Spanish and the Portuguese possessions.

Towards the north, on the map is a picture of a fish on which is drawn a woman and a man making a fire, nearby is another ship and three people in a boat. This is the story of' Santa Brandon which was very popular in the middle ages, and was recorded in the "thousand and one night" stones.~ But Pin does not neglect to add that the legend comes down not from the Portuguese but from 'the old Mappa Mundi. This shows that the Turkish geographer made use of many sources and did not neglect the latest information nearest to his age, and that he was very careful about his bibliography.

From various kinds of research work done on the' map we conclude that compared with the other maps of the period, Pin's is the most perfect and original. It will interest the Americans as one of the oldest maps of their country, and we Turks will always be proud that the author of the maps was one of us.

Site Courtesy of:

Dr. Joseph Richardson, PhD, PE
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
McNeese State University

« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 07:49:42 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2007, 07:25:15 pm »

The Second Map of America

Fifteen years after this first map, Pin Reis drew a second one, again at Gelibolu. Like the previous one it bears his signature. Unfortunately to-day we have only a small portion of it i.e. a small portion of the western hemisphere. It is 68/69 centimeters in size. Ornamental figures are drawn in the margins and most of it is in colour.

There we find the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean and the newly discovered regions of North and Central America. There are four wind-roses on it. The tropic of Cancer is shown here, though it was not on the first map. There are also scales of mules on it, each with twenty divisions. From the notes beside them we gather that the distance between the divisions stand for 50 miles, and that between two dots for 10 miles. The scales here are bigger than in the previous one. We see Greenland in the north and the Azores towards the south. Some of the latter bear the names "San Mikal", "Santa Mariya", "Euriko", and "San Jorjo". To the south of Greenland two large pieces of land are shown; the one in the north is called Baccalao. On the map there is a note saying that Baccalao was discovered by the Portuguese. In another note further down near "Terra Nova" he says that though these coasts were discovered by the Portuguese ,all is not known as yet, and only the parts that have been discovered are shown on the map. Further south still one can see the Peninsula of Florida drawn very much as we know it today. He calls it San Juan Batisto. The name was first given to Porto Rico on the previous map.

The pieces of land seen at the side are the peninsulas of Honduras and Yucatan, discovered in 1517 and 1519 respectively. Unlike the first map, drawn under the influence of Columbus, the islands of' Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Antilles are drawn quite accurately. One can read the words "Is! di Vana" over Cuba. Although there are numerous names along the coast of Venezuela, very few can be read. Among the legible words are San Cilormi, Monte Krago, Detonos, Die Sagram, Ponte Sogon, Didas and Sare.

In this second map the drawing of the coastlines shows greater improvement in technique and also close resemblance to the modern conception of these areas. The stony and rocky sections are given special care. There is, however, a slight distortion in the map from the true position of the continent as we know it today-

This error was committed, due to neglect in not taking into consideration the ten to thirteen degrees of difference in angle on the contemporary compass. This error is to be observed in all the contemporary maps without any exception.

On this map, as on the previous one, there are some explanatory notes, but they are recorded more briefly. The note on the left-hand corner of the map, under the scales with the long and ornamental points, gives the signature of the author as well as the date 1528 (A. H. 935). Beside the measurements there is a note indicating the milage, where he says that the distance between two sections is 50 miles and between two dots 10 miles.

Over the second set of scales further north he says again that the distance between two sections is 50 miles and between two dots 10. The idea in the two statements is the same but one or two words differ.

Beside place-names in the notes near Labrador he says "This is Baccalao, The Portuguese infidels discovered it. All that is known about it is recorded here". From the position on the map we understand that these coasts are of "Terra Nowa". Today we know that the Portuguese explorer, Carl Real, discovered Terra Nova in 1500, and his brother, Miguel Real, a year later in 1501, discovered Labrador.

Though part of the note over Central America is damaged what remains is quite interesting. "Dividing the land... to find where the sea begins... the vilayet that... beyond which", can be read.

Here there is a reference to an explorer who planned to cross overland to reach the ocean. It is quite possible that Piri meant by that Balboa who crossed Central America and reached the Pacific Ocean in 1513.

Another interesting term used on the map is what he calls the tropics: "Day's Lengthening". In his own words the explanation runs as follows: "Bu hat gu"n gayet uzadigi yere isarettir" which means that these lines indicate the part of the world where the days grow longer.

Sailors in the 16th Century, in crossing the Atlantic Ocean, from the coast of Africa
used to take advantage of the trade winds and the gulf streams. In this map the latter are shown with pointed arrows indicating the direction taken.

The line drawn over Cuba should, of course have been drawn further north, and the peninsula of Yucatan should have been put entirely below it; but that much accuracy could not be expected of the cartographical techniqne of the period.

Such technical errors can be observed also in other contemporary maps. We should, therefore, acknowledge the greatness and value of the work among other maps of the period after pointing out briefly to its various merits and demerits.

As it can be easily observed from this map, Pin Reis continued following the new discoveries with great interest. It is remarkable that, by taking into account the results of the new discoveries, he should correct in this map the inaccuracies of the first in which he was misled through his unquestioning confidence in Columbus' map. In this second map Pin Reis showed only the parts of the world that had been already discovered and left the unexplored areas blank, explaining this by the fact that they were as yet unknown. Thus, Pin proved, once again, how he observed the principles of scientific methods in drawing this map.

Site Courtesy of:

Dr. Joseph Richardson, PhD, PE
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
McNeese State University
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2007, 07:27:17 pm »

Comparison of Piri Reis' Maps with Other Contemporary Ones

The maps or charts called portulanos, 1. C. handbooks On navigation, were first drawn in the thirteenth century. We do have examples of such works previous to that period, but the kind that could bear comparison with Pin Reis' are mainly in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.
The first portulano in Europe is found in the work of Adamus Biemensis in 1076. Then comes the map called pisane, presumably drawn in the thirteenth century The maps which appear after that bear the name of the author and the date of the drawing. The earliest among these is the portulano of Pietro Vesconti, dated 1320. To this is added a section of Marino Snudus' work, under the name of "Liber Secretaruin Fidehum Crucis".

Thus, considering the devclopment of this type of handbook and charts, it will be useful to make a short compara tive review of other such contemporary works, especially of maps showing Ameuca.

The portulanos and the handbooks written after the fourteenth century mention the island of "Brasil", and in 1414 the island of "Cipangu" and the "Antilia" are shown. It is believed that between 1474 and 1482 Toscanelli sent a portulano together with a letter to Christopher Columbus.

Unfortunately, these documents have not survived. In that letter he is supposed to have said that according to the testimony of several who had gone that way, if one kept on going to the west he was bound to reach Asia eventually.

According to what De la Ronciere wrote, this Portuguese map was drawn between 1488 and 1493. A photograph of the map will be found on another page in this book, together with the portion that Kretchner re-drew (p. 39).

The information spread all over the world after 1507 when Amerigo Vespucci wrote in a letter that it was a new continent and he called it "Novus Mundus". St. Die, who published the letter, suggested the name "America" for it.

On the other hand there are some who claim that the name of America was adopted because the natives of Nicaragua called a part of their land "America". It is true that in the first half of the XVIth century this new continent drew the attention of geographers, and that resulted in various maps being drawn of it. Piri Reis was one of these cartographers. Hence, a comparison of his works with sonic other contemporary maps drawn between 1507-1550 will reveal to us the greatness of Piri maps as historical documents in the discovery of America.


As it has already been stated, at the time of Piri Reis, the Ottoman-Tuikish Empire was the dominant power over the Black Sea, the Marmara and the Red Sea, and was fighting for prevalence over the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. For such a position the Empire had to have a fleet equipped with all the latest weapons. The State Archives give us some most interesting and rich material concerning these organizations. What the author of this booklet wanted to show, however, was only some of the characteristic features of a Turkish sailor and scholar, the writer of a marine guide-book and the cartographer of two maps of the world, a man who had taken part in numerous private and state enterprises on various seas.
Close studies of the maps reveal to us the fact that when compared with other contemporary maps these prove to be composed with a most advanced scientific spirit and method. The two maps of Pin complete each other. We are indebted to such valuable guides in the world of scholarship for enlightening us in this most important phase of the geographic discoveries. In any history of the period they must he taken as data of direct information. The bibliography will show the wealth of publication on these works. The author has always taken intense pleasure in studying this subject on various occasions, and thought it to be her duty to share some of the information with an increasingly larger group of readers.

Piri Reis' life and works show not only the great heroic and warlike qualities of the Turks in the XVth and XVIth centuries, but also their contribution to the world of scholarship and civilization. Pin lived in an age when the Turkish culture was fertile in every field. The XVIth century is universally regarded as the Golden Age of the Turkish civilization in history. Pin was one of those who left great works behind them not only for their own nation but for all the science of world geography, and thus became an important figure for the history of civilization. A nation lives as long as she can produce cultural works through each epoch.

To conclude: the two maps of Piri Reis will not fail to interest the Americans as the oldest maps of their own land. And we Turks will always be proud to have had the author of such works, and will be glad to remember that our ancestors were also interested in the American continent.

La Cosa Map of 1500
Gloreanus Map of 1510
John Severs' Map of 1514
Lopa Hamen Map of 1519
XVIth Century Map showing North America
Portugese Map dated 1520
XVIth Century Portulano Map
Sebastian Munster's Map of 1550

Different Versions of The "Bahnye"
Bahriye bears two different dates : 1520 (Arabic 927) 1525 (Arabic 932) The first version of it received popularity among the contemporary seamen and was copied out to be used in the fleet.

The other version is the one that was presented to Suley-man after the author made new additions to it. Neither of the original copies have been found as yet. The existing copies in the libraries are later versions of these.

1521 Version
1- Istanbul. The Library of the Treasury Department, Top-kapi Palace. No 575
2- Istanbul. Topkapi Palace Library. No : 333

3- Istanbul. Nuruosmaniye Library. No : 2290.

4- Istanbul. Nuruosmanlyc Library. No : 2292 Date : I62~

5- Istanbul. Koprtilti Library. No :172. (No date)

6,7- Istanbul. Library of the Naval Museum. No : 59, 50 (2 copieS).

8- Dresden. Date of copy : 1544 (Arabic : 961). Part of it was published in 1926 by Paul Kable.

9-90 Bologne. No : 3612-3613. Only one has a date : 9574 (A. 982)

11- Berlin. Prof. Martman. 1644 (A. io~o)

12- Berlin. State Library.

13-14- Paris. National Library. No : 220-965 (956). One bears the date :1587 (A. 996)

15- Vienna. No date.

16- London. Oxford Bodleian Library.

1525 (Arabic 932) Version
17- Istanbul. Library of St. Sophia. (This version was puhlis hed In 1935 in tstanbul with an introduction, an index and a facsimile.)
18- Istanbul. University Library. No : 4654

19- Istanbul. Koprulu Library. No 171

20- Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, Revan Library. No : 18-1633

21-Istanbul. Husrev Pasa Library. No : 264. 1770 (A. 1184)

21- Istanbul. Husrev Pasa Library. No : 1770 (A. 1184)

22,23- Istanbul. Library of the Naval Museum. No : ) 88. (No date)

24- Istanbul. Millet Library. No :1

25- Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, Bagdad Kiosk Library. No : 388

26,27- Istanbul. Nuruosnianiye Library. No. 2989 - 3004.

28- Istanbul. Atir Efendi Library. No : 227

29- Istanbul. Yeni Cami Library. No 790

B 1 B L I 0 G R A P H Y
ABDU'LHAK ADNAN La Science chez les Turcs Ottomans. Paris, 1939, pp. 59-64.
A. ADNAN ADIVAR-Osmanh Tt'irklerinde him. tstanbul, '943, pp. ~~-68.

ARET-Bir Turk Amirali, XVI. asrzn buyuk ceogafi: Piri Reir, S. 317-332. Un Amiral, Geographe Ture du XVLe si!cle-Piri~Reis, auteur de la plus ancienne Carte de l'Amtrique. pp.333-348. Belleten, Vol. I, 2 Ankara I, April, 1937.

Aretinan-America's oldest map, made by an Turkish admiral: Pirt Reis, Translated by: Miss Leman Yolac, Ankara, 1950. (From a talk given at the National Library in Ankara.)

Akcura, Yusur-Map drawn by Pin Reis. Turkish interest in America in 1513: Pin Reis' Chart of the Atlantic Made some ten years after Columbus' first discoveries and seven years before Magellan rounded Cape Horn! pp.142-143 "Illustrated London News", 23, luly 1932.

Akucura, Yusur- Fir' Reis haritasi hakkznda izahname - Die Karic des Pin Reis. Pin Reis map. Carte de Pir~ Reis. T. T. K. No. I Istanbul, 1935.

ALPAGUT H. ve F. KURTO 0 LU - Mukaddime, I - LV. Pin Reis: Kitab-i Balinyc. T. T. K. No. 2, Istanbul 1935.

BATAiLLON, LiONEL - La ae'couverte de 1' Univers par l'homme vzsage du monde (Evolution humaine) Paris, 1934.

BAYKAL, BEKIR SI KI - XIX. Asra kadar Akdeniz'de h6kimzyet devresi. Ankara 1938. C.H.P. publications, Serial No: t, Bk. 29, pp.29 - 30.

CALLIEN W. Y. MC - The evolution of the map of the Earth. S. 122-148. Du~nya haritasinin evrimi (hulasa). pp. 149-153. Ankara Universitesi Dii ve Tarih-Cografya Fakultesi der gisi, Vol. VII. Serial No: Ankara 1, March, '949.

DEISMANN A. - Forschungen und Funde im Serai. Berlin-Leipzig, 1933. pp. 111-122.

EFTALEDDiN~Bir Vesika-i Mijellim. Tanhi Osmani Encumeni mecmuasi, Vol. 4. i Octobcr (A. H. 1326-1328), pp. 201-210.

HALIL ETHEM-Topkapz Sarayl. tstanbul 1931.

HUMPHREYS, A. L. SKELTON, R. A. - Decorative Printed Maps of the '5 th to i8 lb Centuries. London, 1952. Old decorative Maps and Charts. (by A H. Humphreys).

IBNI KEMAL-"(Kemal Pa~azadc Semseddin Ahmed d. '535)", Tevarih-i Al-i Osman. The ninth of the ten books: "Yavu7 Scum devri".

JOMARD Les monuments de la geographie, Paris, 1864.

KAHLE, PAUL-Piri, Reis Bahnye, Das turkisches Segelhandbuch frr dos Mittelldndische Meer vom Jahre 1521. Berlin-Leipzig 1926. Band I. Text, Band II. Ubersetzung.

KAHLE, PAUL-Pin Reis, und seine Bahrzye, (Beitra'~ge zur his-torischen Geographic) 1927.

KAHLE, PAUL-Die Verschollene Columbus Karte von 1498 in emer Turkisehen Weltkarte von 1513. Berlin, Leipzig 1933.

KAHLE, PAUL-Jmprorte Colombiane in una carta Turea del 1513 "La Cultura" anno, X - Vol. I. Fas. 10. Roma 1531.

KATIP CELEBI - Keffi~zzunun Toplap Kutuphanesi No.233/35362. "Cihannjima" Ltanbul 1659 (1065)

K0NYALI, IBRAHiM HAKKI- Topkapz Sarayznda deri u.~zenne yapzlmz~ eski haritalar. tstanbul, 1936.

K. KRETEHMER-Die Entwicklung der Kartographie von Amerika, Gotha 1891.

MAHMUT, ~EvKET-Teskilat ve k~afet-i askenyc. Vol. j and II Istanbul, 1325, Umuru Bahriye pp. 33-~7.

MAIIMOUD, CHEVKET PACHA-L'organisation et les unzformes de l'Armee' Ottomane (depuis sa creation jusqu, a' nos jours)

MEHMED, SU~REYYA-Sieil-i Osmani, yahut te~kere-i me~hin. Osmanzy.e. Vol. II. Istanbul, 1319, p.44.

MUHARREM, FEYZi-XVIII. aszrda Turk asken kzyafrtleri. Turkish Military Uniforms in XVIII th Century. Istanbul, 1933. Tho. MC. Lean- i8i8, London.

N0RDENSKJOLD A. E.~(Facsimihe) Atlas to the Early History of Cartography With reproduction of the most important maps printed in the XV. and XVI. centuries, ~tokholm.

OBERHAMMER-Eme Tarkische Karte zur Entdeckkung Amerikas, aus dem Anzeiger der Akademie der Wissenschq/ten Wien 1931, pp. 99-112.

D'0HSS0N-M. DE M. Tableau Ge'?ze'ral de i'Empire Othoman (Vols. 1, II, III,) Vol. III. Paris, (1820). PP. 340-436.

PIRI REIS-Piri Reis Haritasz. (Facsimile from the first map of the world).Istanbul i935, T.T.K. No. I.

PIRI REIS-Kitab-z Bahn~e. (Facsimile of the St. Sophia Museum, No. 202). Istanbul 1935, T. T. K. Publications No.2.

PAULIN, CHARLES-Atlas of the Historical Geography of the l7nited States, Washington, 1932, Edited by J. K. Wright, Amencan Geographical Society of New York. (Although this book was published after the discovery of Piri Reis' map, it has no reference to this work.)

RONCIERE CH. DE LA - La carte de Ch. Colombe. Paris, 1924.

RONCIERE CH. DE LA L'e'uoluhon humaine des origines a nos jours, Paris '934.

SADI, HAMID - Tu~rklerde Haritaclllk ve Cogrqfya, (Turk tarihinin ana hatlari, Sen II. No.40) T. T. K. Istanbul.

SELEN, SADI HAMiD -Fir' Reis'in Simali Amerika Haritasi, PP. ~1~-5i8. Belleten Vol. I, 2 April, 1937. Die Nord Amerika-Karte des Pin Reis (1528).

UZUNSARSILI, ISMAlL HAKKI - Osmank Devletinin Merkez ve Bahrzye Te#ila~t~. Ankara 1948, pp. 389-528. T.T.K. VIII. No. i6.

UZUNCARSIH-ORD. PROF. I. H. Osmank Tarihi. Ankaia 1949, Vol.1. T.T.K. XII. No.16/2. 192-195 pp.284-286.

YURDAYDIN, HUSEYIN G.-Kitab-z Bahrtyenin telif mesele~i PP. 143-146 June 1952 D. T. C. quarterly; Vol. X, 12. Map drawn by Piri Reis, one of the Turkish Geographers. "Illustrated London News", 25, February 1932.

Site Courtesy of:

Dr. Joseph Richardson, PhD, PE
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
McNeese State University

« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 02:07:25 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2007, 04:06:53 pm »

                 T H E   A C C U R A C Y   O F   T H E   P I R I   R E I S   M A P S

                SATELLITE PHOTO

                PIRI REIS MAP

Throughout  history Gümüşlük (Ancient Myndos), Turkey has always been a natural harbour for medium size boats.

Even PIRI REIS, the famous Turkish admiral has devoted two full pages for Gümüşlük harbour in his book.               

It is astounding to see that the Satellite Photos of today and the map of Gümüşlük drawn by "Piri Reis" are almost

the same.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 04:37:00 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2007, 04:19:09 pm »

                                     G U M U S L U K (Ancient port of Myndos) - T U R K E Y

Our Gumusluk Pictures page shows you the picturesque village of Gümüslük on the Bodrum (*) peninsula between Turgutreis & Yalikavak. We show you a selection of Gumusluk pictures below to give you an idea what this pretty Turkish village is like. Gümüslük is on the site of the ancient city of Myndos, parts of which slid into the sea during an earthquake many years ago. Some of Myndos ruins can still be seen if you snorkel in the bay.



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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2007, 03:16:44 pm »

 Shocked Wow Bianca, there's more information here than the History Channels expo on Peri.  Hapgood would be proud of you!! I own a copy of his book, "Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings"  It is a scholarly work, with impecable sources.

Hapgood was a History of Science professor at Keene College in New Hampshire, although his areas of inquiry obviously went far beyond simple history.

Charles Hapgood, however his theories did not initially start with these maps.
Hapgood's basic theory concerns Earth crustal displacement, a close analog to the idea of "pole shift," where the surface of the Earth actually changes position. Hapgood says that the entire surface crust of the Earth "may be displaced at times, moving over the soft inner body, much as the skin of an orange, if it were loose, might shift over the inner part of the orange all in one piece." This theory drew the attention of Albert Einstein as well, who contributed the forward to Hapgood's 1953 book. Einstein's quote, reprinted on pg. 10 of Hancock's book, is definitely worth inserting here:

Here's what Einstein had to say in the preface to Hapgood's book:

I frequently receive communications from people who wish to consult me concerning their unpublished ideas [Einstein observed]. It goes without saying that these ideas are very seldom possessed of scientific validity. The very first communication, however, that I received from Mr. Hapgood electrified me. His idea is original, of great simplicity, and - if it continues to prove itself - of great importance to everything that is related to the history of the earth's surface.

Of course this all ties in with what I'm posting about ley lines.  The maps are evidence of the Atlaltean civilization, and ancient technology.  The following quote is taken from this site;

Therefore, it is almost inevitably obvious that there must have been many Atlantean maps of the world at one time. These maps would have been very precise, given the level of sophistication that we have seen

Then it goes on to say:

We can speculate on how these maps might have been handed down, based on a variety of sources of information. We are told that after the last pole shift 12,500 years ago, the main body of Atlantean land sank. The survivors from the Atlantean priesthood kept themselves in a tight-knit, secluded monastic community, since most of the rest of humanity had descended into barbarism. Since most of the land disappeared, with only a few survivors left, it is clear that only a select few of these maps remained as well.

How our science can ignore this kind of information is what baffles me. 

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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2007, 01:06:27 pm »

 ;)Well despite Bluehue’s claim that the Peri Reis maps are recent forgeries, many people feel that they are unquestionably genuine.  The problem lies in that they are copies of copies.  Bluehue prompted me to do a google search of “Piri-Reis forgery” and I read what was there.  Some people have tried to say that the coast of Antarctica is just a bad copy of the coast of South America, because the map notates the climate as tropical with large snakes.  This would not explain how accurately it depicts the landmass under the ice, and South America is not two land masses separated by a channel of water. 
   KTCat has also posted elsewhere those scientists have taken ice core samples and found that the ice has been there for at least 400,000 years. Her criticism is that the article did not specify where the scientists had taken the sample in Antarctica.  Obviously evidence as such as the Peri Reis maps present go against everything we know and that is taught about in our science.  It would be odd if scientists would not try to explain them away as a hoax or a forgery. 
   The problem with the maps as evidence of a former technologically advance civilization, is that the maps are obviously compilations, and copies of much, much, older maps.  So there in you incur all the problems of bad copying and mistakes.
   As far as the ice in Antarctica being 400,000 years old, I don’t doubt that.  The Antarctic continent was probably a frozen wasteland during the time of Atlantis.  But who’s to say that the Atlantean didn’t have in their possession even older maps.  The other thing is that the scientific evidence all points to many magnetic shifts in our poles.  They assume that it is just the magnetic pole that shifted because it is “impossible for them to believe that the actual poles could have ever shifted.  Hapgood’s theories of the crust of the earth slipping were endorsed by non other than Albert Einstein, and fully explain how this would be possible. 
   While the maps may remain controversial, there is so much other evidence that points to man being civilized and technologically advanced, that the maps are just one more thing to weigh into the equation. 
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