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Ancient Maps

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Morrison
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« on: February 20, 2007, 10:05:43 pm »

ANCIENT MAPS

Introduction


The subject of ancient maps belongs to the category of “unusual knowledge” in the sense that some of these maps display knowledge about things that are not compatible with their age. From the standpoint of analysis, it is one of the easiest to deal with, because most or all of the work has already been done by Charles Hapgood, and published in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. His work came to the attention of a more general public by Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods, which was a pity, because it came associated with all of the other material of Von Däniken, and was more or less ignored and/or rejected on the basis of this other material.

The latter violation of the rules of good science is considerably worse than the ones Von Däniken made. Von Däniken was just overly enthusiastic in his interpretation of data, but he did not destroy any data. The latter is effectively what his critics did do, by tarnishing Von Däniken’s data together with his interpretations. Putting Hapgood’s data on the same level as stories about the city plan of Atlantis is a gross violation of the rules of good science, because the data of Hapgood is objective and can be tested by anyone at any given time, and in effect this is quite easy, as will be shown here.

The most famous example of these ancient maps is the one named after the Turkish admiral and cartographer Piri Reis (or Piri Re’is), see left (click on it for an enlargement). Its earliest known time of existence is as late as 1929, while it is dated 1513, but nevertheless its authenticity is not really disputed. On first inspection it looks as inaccurate as one would expect of an ancient map. So there would not have been a cause for alarm when it was discovered, and until the time it was send to America in 1953, where first its hidden accuracy was discovered, and later, when Hapgood was called in, other remarkable features. Hapgood subsequently started a wider investigation of ancient maps in general, which turned up many more with these features
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Morrison
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2007, 10:08:33 pm »



The map of Piri Reis
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Morrison
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2007, 10:10:05 pm »

Description of Piri Reis

The Piri Reis map seems as distorted as can be expected for an old map. However, if one takes small areas, the map is remarkably accurate within this small area, see e.g. Europe. In the area of South America, it correctly shows the position of capes and rivers. This accuracy is present in most areas of the map. This may be due to the fact that Reis compiled his map from other older and much older ones that were available to him from the Imperial library at Constantinople, at that time a centre of civilization.

The second remarkable thing is the grids overlaying the contours. These grids display latitude (north-south) and longitude (east-west) to a high degree of accuracy (see an analysis). The latitude is not remarkable; it can be measured by the height of the sun above the horizon. Longitude is, because in fact it is only possible to measure this by accurately measuring time. In fact, the first known person to achieve this accuracy was John Harrison in 1716, who made his clocks in response to a competition organized by the British admiralty, after a small fleet of warships was lost when hitting cliffs after a navigational error in longitude (by the way, Harrison got a similar treatment as Hapgood, in his case because he was of lowly social class, which is another fine way to judge someone’s work).

The third remarkable thing is that what was initially seen as an arbitrary distortion of the large scale features, in fact turned out to be explainable by changing ones view of the earth. The earth is a globe, so all maps, being flat, are distorted, and the only thing to do is to choose ones kind of distortion, which is called a mathematical projection. The Piri Reis map is a projection that looks like a view from a fixed point, like taking a globe and holding it for your eyes, see here. In order to make such a map, one could use the method just mentioned, or have another accurate map, and do mathematical calculations to transform it to this view. However, in this source map too the knowledge of the earth being a globe has to be present, and has to know spherical trigonometry.

The fourth remarkable thing is that the map shows the Antarctic. If the knowledge compiled by the map comes from sailors, these sailors must have navigated throughout the northern part of the Antarctic regularly, in order to gather the data shown on the map.

The fifth remarkable thing is that the contours of the Antarctic it shows are its land contours as it presently lies under a thick layer of ice. This fact came to the fore after Hapgood had asked the military about these features of the map, see the response he got here (to come).


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Morrison
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2007, 10:13:39 pm »

Other maps

After having studied the Piri Reis map, Hapgood went on a systematic search through the libraries to see if there were other examples. He turned up a number that show similar longitudinal knowledge (the so-called portolani), and others that show the Antarctic in all kinds of detail, see the gallery below and click on the thumbnails. Some other maps are included to show that they got not better in time, possibly even worse, giving rise to the suggestion that the good ones stem from an accurate original, that got copied and copied, and thereby got worse.

     


A portolano of the Mediterranean.



One of the most famous portolani, the Dulcert, 1339.
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Morrison
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 10:16:28 pm »



A map by Hadji Ahmed, 1550. Probably also a map compiled from different sources, since the European and African side is much less accurate than the American side. Look at the nearly correct orientations and proportions of such features as Florida, the Caribbean Islands, the Californian peninsula, etc. Other remarkable features are a connection between Siberia and Alaska, and the presence a southern continent. The latter looks like the shape one gets from Mercator projections of the existing globe, which have greatly oversized representations of the North and South Pole regions. Note that the top part of the map is a quite successfull spherical projection. The existence of a land bridge with Siberia is remarkable, because once there was one, though it was some 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.
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Morrison
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 10:37:20 pm »



Above a representation of the map of Ptolemy, below a corresponding one from Piri Reis. 
 
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Morrison
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 10:40:22 pm »



A map by Ptolemy, around 200 A.D., supposedly the source of all knowledge on geography at least into the Middle Ages.
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Morrison
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 10:41:53 pm »



A map of Ptolemy.
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Morrison
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 10:43:24 pm »



Map of Antarctica by Philippe Bauche, 1737, discovered by Hapgood in the Library of Congress in 1960. Other maps of the time have a void at the place of Antarctica, becuase it had not yet been discovered. Note that it shows Antarctica as composed out of two parts, just like it is under the ice cap.
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Morrison
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2007, 10:46:37 pm »



The map of Antarctica by Oronteus Fineaus, 1531, discovered by Hapgood in the Library of Congress in 1960. Probably the map is intended to be centred on the South Pole. The fact that the map is centred on the Antarctic shows the high importance attached to the Antarctic.



Left a modern map, right the one by Oronteus, showing its remarkably accuracy.
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Morrison
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2007, 10:48:16 pm »



Map by Giorgio Calopodio, 1537, centred on what is probably assumed by Calopodio to be the South Pole. The choice again indicates the high importance attributed to the Antarctic.
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Danaus
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 09:15:33 am »

Great roman maps:
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/Images/Maps/Periods/Roman/Places/Europe/
http://www.snible.org/greek/

Egypt Maps:
http://www.narmer.pl/map/mapa_en.htm
http://www.touregypt.net/mapsa.htm
****************

Ptolemy:
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Periods/Roman/_Texts/Ptolemy/

Skylax:
http://www.le.ac.uk/ar/gjs/skylax_for_www_02214.pdf

Strabo:
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/

pliny the elder:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plin.+Nat.+toc

Arrian's Periplus of the black sea (Latin):
http://books.google.com/books?vid=0vofWSlQop7JGiOZSWolIvC&id=Gn3wP2QKzTgC&pg=PP18&lpg=PP18&dq=periplus+ponti+euxini+date:1-1921

Here is the Periplus of the Red Sea:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/periplus.html
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Boreas
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WWW
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2007, 12:15:50 am »

Great topic - nice contributions. Here's one of the first maps of the North Atlantic, from a link with many others...



www.civilization.ca/hist/frobisher/frsub03e.html

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Gens Una Sumus
Morrison
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2007, 02:06:35 am »

Nice links, Boreas & Danaus.

The Nile Valley:

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Morrison
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2007, 02:07:48 am »

West Bank at Luxor:

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