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Legendary islands of the Atlantic; a study in medieval geography


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« Reply #60 on: July 19, 2009, 03:28:06 am »

44 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS

century maps, notably the Atlante Mediceo 14 of 1351. Also the
Book of the Spanish Friar, 15 dating from about the middle of that
century, contains in his enumeration of islands the words
"another Desierta, another Lecname, another Puerto Santo."
It would seem to have been a familiar appellation about 1350
or earlier, and the suggestion naturally occurs that it may have
originated in the tradition of the visit and blessing of the Irish
saint. At any rate, the Portuguese, in the fifteenth-century re-
discovery, can have had nothing to do with conferring it.

ANIMAL AND BIRD NAMES OF ISLANDS

Concerning such names as Canaria, Capraria, etc., which, by
reason of other associations, appear oddly out of place in this
group, the more general question is raised of the tendency to
apply animal and bird names to Eastern Atlantic islands. Goat,
rabbit, dog, falcon, dove, wolf, and crow were applied to various
islands long before the Portuguese visited the Madeiras and
Azores, finding them untenanted; these names long held their
ground on the maps, and some of them are in use even now. The
reason for their adoption piques one's curiosity. If they could be
taken as throwing any light on the fauna of these islands in 1350,
they might also instruct us as to the probability of prior human
occupancy or previous connection with the mainland. But, of
course, in any significant instances some fancied resemblance of
aspect may have suggested the name.
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« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2009, 03:28:18 am »

MADEIRA

Madeira, meaning island of the woods or forest island, is a
direct Portuguese translation from the Italian "I. de Legname"

14 Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni-
fchen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps,
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portfolio 5 (Facsimile del Portolano Laurenziano-
Gaddiano dell' anno 1351), PI. 4.

" Book of the Knowledge of All the Kingdoms, Lands, and Lordships That Are
in the World, and the Arms and Devices of Each Land and Lordship, or of the
Kings and Lords Who Possess Them, written by a Spanish Franciscan in the middle
of the I4th century, published for the first time with notes by Marcos Jimenez de la
Espada in 1877, translated and edited by Sir Clements Markham, Hakluyt Soc.
Publs., 2nd Ser., Vol. 29, London, 1912; reference on p. 29.



BECCARIO MAP OF 1426 45

of the Atlante Mediceo and various later maps, and of the
"Lecname" of the unnamed Spanish friar who tells us he was born
in 1305. It is sufficiently explained by the former condition of the
island, the northern part of which is said to preserve still its
abundant woodland. Perhaps the modern name of Madeira
(or Madera) first appears on the map of Giraldi of 1426, 16 not
very long after the rediscovery. But, with some cartographers,
the Italian form of the name lingered on much later.
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« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2009, 03:28:28 am »

THE BECCARIO MAP OF 1426

The alternative names, which had been given the Madeira
group by Dulcert and the Pizigani, commemorating both the
general fact of repose or blessedness and the delighted visit of
St. Brendan, were closely blended (in what became the accepted
formula) by the 1426 map of Battista Beccario, which unluckily
had never been published in reproduction. Before the war, how-
ever, the writer obtained a good photograph of a part of it from
Munich and herewith presents a section recording the words
"Insulle fortunate santi brandany" (Fig. 3). 17 The first "a" of the
final name may possibly be an "e," having been obscured by one
of the compass lines; but I think not. Beccario repeats the same
inscription in his very important and now well-known map 18
of 1435, substituting "sancti" for "santi" by way of correction.

With no serious variations, this name, "The Fortunate Islands
of St. Brandan" (or Brendan), is applied to Madeira and her
consorts by Pareto (i455; 19 Fig. 21), Benincasa (i482; 20 Fig. 22),
the anonymous Weimar map formerly attributed to 1424 but

16 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 8 (Facsimile del Portolano di Giacomo Giraldi di
Venezia dell 'anno 1426), PL 4.

17 First published by the author in the Geogr. Rev., Vol. 8, 1919, PL I, facing p. 40.

18 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e del
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblioteche
d'ltalia, Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici sulla Storia della
Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International Geo-
graphical Congress, Paris, 1875, by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 1875;
reference on PL 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates).

19 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fur
die Geschichte des Weltbildes. 2 vols. (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in
atlas, PL 5.

20 Ibid., atlas, PL 4.



46 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS

probably of about 1480 or I49O, 21 and divers others. In several
instances (the Beccario maps, for example) the words are almost
as near to the most southerly pair of the Azores, next above them,
as to the Madeiras below, and it is possible that the condition of
special beatitude was understood as extending to the former also.

THE BIANCO MAP OF 1448

At any rate, the verdict of the fifteenth century for Madeira
was by no means unanimous. The 1448 map of Bianco, 22 which is
very unlike his earlier one of 1436 so far as concerns the Atlantic,
was prepared after all the Azores had been found again by the
Portuguese except Flores and Corvo. It shows the old familiar
inaccurately north-and-south string of the three groups of the
Azores as they had come to him conventionally and traditionally,
for evidently he did not dare or could not bring himself to discard
them. But it also shows a slanting array of islands farther out,
arranged in two groups respectively of two islands and five islands
each and much more accurately presented as to location and di-
rection than the old Italian stand-bys. These are quite clearly the
Portuguese version, brought down to that date, of the newly re-
discovered Azorean archipelago. But Bianco was obviously put
to it to conjecture what islands these might be. He drew names
from miscellaneous sources: in particular the largest island of the
main group, corresponding to Terceira, bears the title "y a fortunat
de sa. beati blandan." Nevertheless, he shows and names Ma-
deira, Porto Santo, and Deserta in their usual places. Evidently
he had given up, if he ever held, all thought of annexing St.
Brendan's special blessing to them. He seems very confident of
the St. Brandan's Island of his slanting series, for it is drawn
heavily in black and contrasts with the rather ghastly aspect of
some neighbors. It has nearly the form of a Maltese cross, with
long arms, but there is no reason to suppose that this has any
significance.
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« Reply #63 on: July 19, 2009, 03:28:44 am »

21 W. H. Babcock: Indications of Visits of White Men to America before Colum-
bus, Proc. iQth Internall. Congr. of Americanists held at Washington, Dec. 27-31, 1915,
[Smithsonian Institution], Washington, D. C., 1917, pp. 460-478; map on p. 476.

z 2 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio n, Pis. 3 and 4., "*



BEH AIM'S GLOBE OF 1492 47

BEHAIM'S GLOBE OF 1492

About the same period a Catalan map 23 of unknown author-
ship, without copying details, adopted the same expedient of
duplicating the Azores by adding the new slanting series. It is
quite independent in details, however, omitting mention of
"St. Brandan" in particular, though Ateallo (Antillia?) is given
in the second group but not in the corresponding place. This
may possibly indicate some confusion of Antillia with St. Bran-
dan's Island, such as is more evident in the transfer of the tradi-
tional outline of the former to the latter, little changed, by Be-
haim on his globe of 1492.

As it stands, this globe undoubtedly gives an original and
unique representation of St. Brandan's Island far west of the
Cape Verde group and emphasizes it by showing Antillia inde-
pendently in a more northern latitude and less western longitude
and also of quite insignificant size and form. But Ravenstein,
who made a very thorough study of the matter, tells us 34 that
this globe has been twice retouched or renovated and that the
only way to ascertain exactly what was originally delineated is
to treat it as a palimpsest and remove the accretions. In particu-
lar, he relates the story of an expert geographer who found the
draftsmen about to transpose St. Brandan's Island and Antillia;
but they yielded to his protest. Of course, it is impossible to be
quite certain that these map figures are such and in such place
as Behaim intended or that they bear the names he gave. The
presumption favors the present showing, generally accepted as
authentic. It gives the saint only one island, but this a very large
one, set in mid-ocean between Africa and South America.

Possibly this location may be suggested by an undefined coast
line shown by Bianco's map of 1448, previously mentioned, and,
like Behaim's island, set opposite the Cape Verde group. In
Venetian Italian it bears an obscure inscription, which calls it
an "authentic island" and is variously interpreted as saying that

M Ibid., Portfolio 13, PI. 5.

* E. G. Ravenstein: Martin Behaim, His Life and His Globe, London, 1908, p.
59-
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« Reply #64 on: July 19, 2009, 03:29:01 am »

48 ST. BRENDAN'S ISLANDS

this coast is fifteen hundred miles long or fifteen hundred miles
distant. The map of Juan de la Cosa (isoo) 25 exhibits off the coast
of Brazil, and with an outline similar to Behaim's, "the island
which the Portuguese found." His date is too late to have influ-
enced Behaim, too early to have been prompted by Cabral's
accidental discovery of that very year. It is more likely that he
and Behaim both were acquainted with Bianco's work or that all
three drew from the same report of discovery.

LATER MAPS

From this time on tl^e^isjQeiiexjSore than one island for St.
Brendan, but it indulges in wide wanderings. Especially as the
attention of men was attracted to the more northern and western
waters, the map-makers shifted the island thither. Thus the map
of 1544, purporting to be the work of Sebastian Cabot and prob-
ably prepared more or less under his influence, 26 places the island
San Brandan not far from the scene of his father's explorations
and his own. It lies well out to sea in about the latitude of the
Straits of Belle Isle. The Ortelius map of I57O 27 (Fig. 10) repeats
the showing with no great amount of change. In short, the final
judgment of navigators and cartographers, before the island quite
vanished from the maps, made choice of the waste of the North
Atlantic as its most probable hiding place. Perhaps this west-
ward tendency in rather high latitudes may be partly responsible
for the hypotheses in recent times which have taken the explorer
quite across to interior North America on a missionary errand.
There is certainly nothing to prohibit any one from believing
them, if he can and if it pleases him.

CONCLUSION

In general review & RppparsUikglyJbhat jt. BrejidanJcLthe
sixth century wandered widely over the seas in quest of some

25 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 7.
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« Reply #65 on: July 19, 2009, 03:29:13 am »

26 S. E. Dawson: The Voyages of the Cabots in 1497 and 1498; With an Attempt
to Determine Their Landfall and to Identify Their Island of St. John, Trans.
Royal Soc. of Canada, Vol. 12, Section II, 1894; rnap on p. 86. The map is also
reproduced by Jomard, in the work cited in footnote 13.

27 A. E. Nordenskiold: Facsimile-Atlas to the Early History of Cartography,
transl. by J. A. Ekelof and C. R. Markham, Stockholm, 1889, PI. 46.



CONCLUSION 49

,warm island, concerning which wonderful accounts had been
brought to him, and found several such isles, the Madeira group
receiving his special approval, according to the prevailing opinion
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Butthis^ jmlgmentjof^
those centuries is the only item as to which we can speak withany

positiveness and confidence. r- (

%W



wv


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« Reply #66 on: July 19, 2009, 03:29:25 am »

CHAPTER IV
THE ISLAND OF BRAZIL

So far as we know, the first appearance of the island of Brazil
in geography was on the map of Angellinus Dalorto, 1 of Genoa,
made in the year 1325. There it appears as a disc of land of
considerable area, set in the Atlantic Ocean in the latitude of
southern Ireland (Fig. 4). But the name itself is far older. In
seeking its derivation, one is free to choose either one of two
independent lines.

PROBABLE GAELIC ORIGIN OF THE WORD "BRAZIL"

The word takes many forms on maps and in manuscripts:
as Brasil, Bersil, Brazir, O'Brazil, O'Brassil, Breasail. As
a personal name it has been common in Ireland from ancient
days. The "Brazil fierce" of Campbell's "O'Connor's Child" may
be recalled by the few who have not wholly forgotten that
beautiful old-fashioned poem. Going farther back, we find
Breasail mentioned as a pagan demigod in Hardiman's "History
of Galway" 2 which quotes from one of the Four Masters, who
collated in the sixteenth century a mass of very ancient material
indeed. Also St. Brecan, who shared the Aran Islands with
St. Enda about A.D. 480 or 500, had Bresal for his original name
when he flourished as the son of the first Christian king of Thor-
mond. The name, however spelled, is said to have been built

1 Alberto Magnaghi: La carta nautica costruita nel 1325 da Angelino Dalorto,
with facsimile, Florence, 1898 (published on the occasion of the Third Italian Geo-
graphical Congress). Cf. also: idem: II mappamondo del genovese Angellinus de
Dalorto (1325): Contribute alia storia della cartografia mediovale, Atti del Terzo
Congr. Geogr. Italiano, tcnuto in Firenzi dal 12 al 17 Aprile, 1808, Florence, 1899,
Vol. 2, pp. 506-543; and idem: Angellinus de Dalorco (sic), cartografo italiano della
prima meta del secolo XIV, Riv. Geogr. Italiana, Vol. 4, 1897, PP- 282-294 and 361-
369-

J James Hardiman: The History of the Town and County of Galway from the
Earliest Period to the Present Time, Dublin, 1820, p. 2.



ORIGIN OF WORD "BRAZIL'

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« Reply #67 on: July 19, 2009, 03:29:43 am »

FIG. 4 Section of the Dalorto map of 1325 showing Brazil, Daculi, and other
legendary islands. (After Magnaghi's photographic facsimile.)



52 ISLAND OF BRAZIL

up from two Gaelic syllables "breas" and "ail," each highly
commendatory in implication and carrying that note of admira-
tion alike to man or island. Quite in consonance therewith the
fifteenth-century map of Fra Mauro in I459 3 not only delineated
and named this Atlantic Berzil but appended the inscription
"Queste isole de Hibernia son dite fortunate," ranking it as one of
the "Fortunate Islands."

ANOTHER SUGGESTED DERIVATION

On the whole, this seems the more likely channel of derivation
of the name; or, if there were two such channels, then the more
important one. For there is another suggested derivation, of
which much has rightly been made and which we must by no
means neglect. Red dyewood bore the name "brazil" in the early
Middle Ages, a word derived, Humboldt believed, 4 by translation
from the Arabic bakkam of like meaning, on record in the ninth
century. He notes that Brazir, one form of the name, as we have
seen, recalls the French braise, the Portuguese braza and braseiro,
the Spanish brasero, the Italian braciere, all having to do with
fire, which is normally more or less red like the dye. He does not
know any tongue of medieval Asia which could supply brasilli
or the like for dyewood. He suggests also the possibility of the
word's being a borrowed place name, like indigo or jalap, com-
memorating the region of origin, but cannot identify any such
place. His treatment of the topic leaves a feeling of uncertainty,
with a preference for some sort of transformation from "bakkam"
which would yield "brazil" probably by a figure of speech.

The earliest distinctly recognizable mention of brazil as a
commodity occurs in a commercial treaty of 1193 between the

8 [M. F.] Santarem: Atlas compose de mappemondes, de portulans, et de cartes
hydrographiques et historiques depuis le VI e jusqu'au XVII e sicle . . . devant
servir de preuves a 1'histoire de la cosmographie et de la cartographic pendant le
Moyen Age .... Paris, 1842-53, Pis. 43-48 (Quaritch's notation); reference on
PI. 46.

4 Alexander von Humboldt: Examen critique de 1'histoire de la geographic du
nouveau continent, 5 vols., Paris, 1836-39^; reference in Vol. 2, pp. 216-223. See
also Fridtjof Nansen: In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times, transl.
by A. G. Chater, 2 vols., New York, 1911; reference in Vol. 2, p. 229.
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« Reply #68 on: July 19, 2009, 03:30:03 am »

ANOTHER SUGGESTED DERIVATION 53

Duchy of Ferrara, Italy, and a neighboring town or small state,
which presents grana de Brasill in a long list including wax, furs,
incense, indigo, and other merchandise. 5 The same curious
phrase, "grain of Brazil," recurs in a quite independent local
charta of the same country only five years later. Muratori,
who garnered such things into his famous compilation of Italian
antiquities, avowed his bewilderment over this strange phrase,
asking what dyewood could be so called; and Humboldt, recon-
sidering the whole matter, was no more clear in mind. He calls
attention to the fact that cochineal very long afterward bore the
same name, but evidently without considering this any sort of
solution, as, indeed, it could not well be, since it bears distinct
reference to the South American Brazil, which was discovered
and named centuries later. But the facts remain that grain does
not naturally mean dyewood of any kind or in any form, that
its recurrence in public documents proves it a well-established
characterization of a known article of trade in the twelfth
century, and that its presentation is such as to indicate a granular
packaged material.

Perhaps an explanation may be found in Marco Polo's experi-
ence and experiments nearly a century later than these Italian
documents. Of Lambri, a district in Sumatra, he writes:

They also have brazil in great quantities. This they sow, and when it
is grown to the size of a small shoot they take it up and transplant
it; then they let it grow for three years, after which they tear it up by the
root. You must know that Messer Marco Polo aforesaid brought some
seed of the brazil, such as they sow, to Venice with him and had it sown
there, but never a thing came up. And I fancy it was because the climate
was too cold. 6

The seeds of that Sumatran shrub might well pass for grain
in the sense of a small granular object, as we say a grain of sand,
for example. But, since the plant was not and perhaps could not

*L. A. Muratori: Antiquitates Italicae Medii Aevi, 6 vols., Milan, 1738-42;
reference in Vol. 2, pp. 891 and 894.

Sir Henry Yule: The Book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian Concerning the
Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, 3rd edit., revised ... by Henri Cordier, 2
vols., London, 1903 ; reference in Vol. 2, p.299. See also pp-306, 3i3,and3iS (note4).
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« Reply #69 on: July 19, 2009, 03:30:19 am »

54 ISLAND OF BRAZIL

be reared in Italy, it seems unlikely that the seed should be a
valued item of commerce, regularly listed, bargained for, and
taxed. We do not hear of its being put to use as a dye ; and , indeed ,
the bark or wood of the plant seems far more promising for
that purpose. Like our distinguished forerunners in considering
this little mystery, we must set it aside as not yet fully solved.

"Grain of Brazil" is not repeated in any entry, so far as I know,
after the end of the twelfth century; but brazil as a commodity
figures rather frequently; for example, in the schedules of port
dues of Barcelona and other Catalan seaboard towns in the
thirteenth century, as compiled by Capmany. 7 Thus in 1221
we find "carrega de Brasill," in 1243 "caxia de bresil," and some-
what later (1252) "cargua de brazil," the spelling varying as in
the easy-going fourteenth- and fifteenth-century maps, the word
being plainly the same. But the word and the thing were not
confined to the Mediterranean, for a grant of murage rates of
1312 to the city of Dublin, Ireland, uses the words "de brasile
venali." 8 This is pretty far afield and shows that the knowledge
and use of brazil as taxable merchandise was nearly Europe-wide.
As a rule, it has been taken for granted that the word meant
either some special kind of red dyewood or dyewood in general.
Marco Polo's account conforms rather to the former version,
while Humboldt seems to lean toward the latter; but there is
singularly little in the entries which tends to identify it as wood
at all or in any way relate it thereto. Such words as carrega,
caxia, cargua, show that it was put up in some kind of inclosure,
and perhaps give the impression of comminution or at least
absence of bulkiness. Most likely many kinds of red bark, red
wood suitable for dyeing, and perhaps other vegetable products
available for that purpose were sometimes included under the
name brazil. People of that time were more concerned about

7 Antonio de Capmany: Memorias historicas sob re la marina, comercio, y artes
de la antigua ciudad de Barcelona, 4 vols., Madrid, 1779-92; reference in Vol. 2,
pp. 4, 17, and 20.

8 T. J. Westropp: Early Italian Maps of Ireland from 1300 to 1600, With Notes
on Foreign Settlers and Trade, Proc. Royal Irish Acad., Vol. 30, Section C, 1912-13,
pp. 361-428; reference on p. 393.



DISTRIBUTION OF NAME ON EARLY MAPS 55

results and means to attain them than about exactness in
classification or definition.

It may well be that both lines of derivation of the name meet
in the Brazil Island west of Ireland, that it was given a traditional
Irish name by Irish navigators and tale tellers and mapped
accordingly by Italians, who would naturally apply to it the
meaning with which they were familiar in commerce and eastern
story, so that the Island of Brazil, extolled on all hands, would
come to mean along the Mediterranean chiefly the island where
peculiarly precious dyewoods abounded. We know that Colum-
bus was pleased to collect what his followers called brazil in his
third and fourth voyages along American shores; 9 that Cabot
felicitates himself on the prospect of finding silk and brazilwood
by persistence in his westward explorations ; 10 and that the great
Brazil of South America received its final name as a tribute to its
prodigal production of such dyes.
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« Reply #70 on: July 19, 2009, 03:30:34 am »

FREE DISTRIBUTION OF THE NAME ON EARLY MAPS
But there is a curious phenomenon to be noticed the free
distribution of this name among sea islands, especially of the
Azores archipelago, from an early date. Thus the Pizigani map
of I36y u applies it with slight change of spelling not only to the
original disc-form Brazil west of Ireland and to a mysterious
crescent-form island, which must be Mayda, but to what is
plainly meant for Terceira of the main middle group of the
Azores (Fig. 2). The Spanish Friar, naming Brazil in his island
list about 1350, appears also to mean Terceira, judging by the
order of the names. 12 His matter-of-fact tone indicates a long-

9 Humboldt, Examen critique, Vol. 2, p. 223.

10 See Soncino's second letter to the Duke of Milan, published in many works on
John Cabot; e. g. in "The Northmen, Columbus, and Cabot, 985-1503," edited by
J. E. Olsen and E. G. Bourne (Series: Original Narratives of Early American His-
tory), New York, 1006; reference on p. 426.

11 [E. F.] Jomard: Les monuments de la geographic, ou recueil d'anciennes cartes
europ6ennes et orientales . . . , Paris, [1842-62], PI. X, i.

12 Book of the Knowledge of All the Kingdoms, Lands, and Lordships That Are
in the World, and the Arms and Devices of Each Land and Lordship, or of the Kings
and Lords Who Possess Them, written by a Spanish Franciscan in the middle of the
i4th century, published for the first time with notes by Marcos Jimenez de la
Espada in 1877, translated and edited by Sir Clements Markham, Hakluyt Soc.
Publs., 2nd Ser., Vol. 29, London, 1912, p. 29.
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« Reply #71 on: July 19, 2009, 03:30:49 am »

56 ISLAND OF BRAZIL

settled item. This carries us well back toward the first settled
date for the Irish Brazil in cartography. Further, the name still
adheres to Terceira, though long restricted to a single mountain-
ous headland. The explanation remains a matter of conjecture.
Perhaps the Azores islands that bore it borrowed from the older
Brazil west of Ireland. Perhaps also the word had gone about
that islands were notable for dyes archil, for example and the
special dye name brazil has been loosely affixed in consequence.

On some of the maps certain alternative names are given,
which do not greatly further our investigation. Thus the very
first one which shows Brazil Dalorto, 1325 adds Montonis
as a second choice (Fig. 4). This has been understood to mean the
Isle of Rams, linking it with Edrisi's Isle of Sheep, a quite ancient
fancy, sometimes referred to the Faroes, but of very uncertain
identification. But Freducci, 13 1497, makes it Montanis; Cala-
poda, 14 1552, Montorius; and an anonymous compass chart of
I384, 15 Monte Orius. In all these the idea of mountains, not
sheep, is dominant. The change from "a" to "o" is easy with
a not very vigilant transcriber, and it is most likely that Freducci
preserves the original form and meaning.

The Pizigani map of 1367 is confused and enigmatic on this
point, as in all its inscriptions. It seems to read (Fig. 2) "Ysola de
nocorus sur de brazar," but it may best be set aside as too uncer-
tain.

Equally unenlightening is the "de Brazil de Binar" of Bianco's
1448 map. 16 If the V be read "m," the inscription may mean
"Brazil of the two seas;" but the allusion is mystifying.

Fra Mauro's inscription before quoted merely bears testimony
to Brazil's benign and almost Elysian repute and its connection
with the Green Isle in fancy.

"A. E. Nordenskiold: Periplus: An Essay on the Early History of Charts and
Sailing-Directions, transl. by F. A. Bather, Stockholm, 1897, PI. 22.

" Ibid., PL 26.

Ibid., PI. 15.

18 Theobald Fischer: Sammlung mittelalterlicher Welt- und Seekarten italieni-
schen Ursprungs, i vol. of text and 17 portfolios containing photographs of maps,
Venice, 1877-86; reference in Portfolio n (Facsimile della Carta nautica de Andrea
Bianco dell' anno 1448;, PI. 3.
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« Reply #72 on: July 19, 2009, 03:31:04 am »

LOCATION AND SHAPE 57

LOCATION AND SHAPE OF THE ISLAND

The circular form of Brazil and its location westward of
southern Ireland are affirmed by many maps, including Dalorto,
1325 (Fig. 4); Dulcert, I339; 17 Laurenziano-Gaddiano, 1351 ; 18
Pizigani, 1367 (Fig. 2) ; anonymous Weimar map, probably about
i48i; 19 Giraldi, i426; 20 Beccario, I426 21 and I435 22 (Fig. 20) ; Juan
da Napoli, perhaps 1430 ; 23 Bianco, 1436 and 1448 ; 24 Valsequa,
i439; 25 Pareto, I455 26 (Fig.2i);Roselli, 1468 ; 27 Benincasa, 1482"
(Fig. 22); Juan de la Cosa, 1500 ; 29 and numerous later maps.
Probably the persistent roundness is ascribable to a certain pref-
erence for geometrical regularity, which sowed these early maps
with circles, crescents, trilobed clover leaves, and other more
unusual but not less artificial island forms. The direction must
stand for the tradition of some old voyage or voyages.



" A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 8.

18 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 5 (Facsimile del Portolano Laurenziano-Gaddiano
dell' anno 1351), PI. 5.

19 W. H. Babcock: Indications of Visits of White Men to America before Colum-
bus, Proc. igth Internatl. Congr. of Americanists, Held at Washington, Dec. 27-31,
1915 [Smithsonian Institution], Washington, D. C., 1917, pp. 469-478; map on p.
476.

20 Theobald Fischer, Portfolio 8 (Facsimile del Portolano di Giacomo Giraldi di
Venezia dell' anno 1426), PI. 5.

21 The section of which the author has a photograph (first published in the
Geogr. Rev., Vol. 8, 1919, opposite p. 40, and here reproduced, Fig. 3, somewhat
curtailed) does not extend far enough to show the island of Brazil.
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« Reply #73 on: July 19, 2009, 03:31:16 am »

22 Gustavo Uzielli: Mappamondi, carte nautiche e portolani del medioevo e dei
secoli delle grandi scoperte marittime construiti da italiani o trovati nelle biblioteche
d'ltalia, Part II (pp. 280-390) of "Studi Bibliografici e Biografici sulla Storia della
Geografia in Italia," published on the occasion of the Second International Geo-
graphical Congress, Paris, 1875, by the Societa Geografica Italiana, Rome, 1875;
reference on PL 8 (the second edition, Rome, 1882, does not contain the plates).

In the Kohl collection of maps relating to America, No. 17, in the Library of
Congress, Washington, D. C.

2 - A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus, PI. 20; Theobald Fischer, Portfolio ii, PI. 3.

25 Original in Majorca. A good copy is owned by T. Solberg, Register of Copy-
rights, Washington, D. C.

26 Konrad Kretschmer: Die Entdeckung Amerika's in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die
Geschichte des Weltbildes, 2 vols. (text and atlas), Berlin, 1892; reference in atlas,
PI. 5.

27 E. L. Stevenson: Facsimiles of Portolan Charts Belonging to the Hispanic
Society of America, Publs. Hispanic Soc of Amer. No. 104, New York. 1916, PI. 2.

28 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map i.
Ibid., PI. 7.

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« Reply #74 on: July 19, 2009, 03:31:32 am »

5 8 ISLAND OF BRAZIL

SIGNIFICANT SHAPE ON THE CATALAN MAP OF 1375

But the celebrated Catalan map of I375 30 above mentioned
introduced a significant novelty, converting the disc into an
annulus of land of course, still circular surrounding a circular
body of water dotted with islets (Fig. 5). The preferred explana-
tion thus far advanced connects these islets with the Seven Cities




FIG. 5 Section of the Catalan map of 1375 showing the islands of Mayda and
Brazil. (After Nordenskiold's photographic facsimile.)

of Portuguese and Spanish legend. 31 But there seem to be nine
islands, not seven, and it is not clear what necessary relation
exists between isles and cities nor whence the idea is derived of
the central lake or sea as a background. Moreover, the Island
of the Seven Cities was most often identified with Antillia far
to the south, and there seems no warrant for identification with
Brazil. All considered, this explanation seems arbitrary,
inadequate, and unconvincing.

The same ring form with inclosed water and islets is repeated
by a map of the next century copied by Kretschmer. 32 It varies

"A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus. PI. n.

11 Ibid., p. 164.

2 Kretschmer, atlas, PI. 4, map 8.



POSSIBLE IDENTIFICATION 59

only by showing just seven islets, if we may rely for this detail
on his handmade copy.
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