Jun 14, 2012, 06:49 PM
Alonso de Santa Cruz Atlas of all the Islands in the World c. 1540
"The Islario (map of islands) is the masterpiece of the Sevillian cosmographer Alonso de Santa Cruz. It was started at the time of Emperor Charles V and was finished in that of his son Philip II, to whom it is dedicated. The Islario was the first time paper was used instead of parchment, which was the most common material for this type of chart. The trace of the maps is more functional, taking less care over the aesthetics than medieval Portolans. This atlas is made up of one hundred and eleven maps that represent the islands and peninsulas of the world, and show all the discoveries made from the 15th century to the mid 16th century... It is highly likely that the Islario General was part of one of an unfinished Universal Geography by Santa Cruz. Alonso de Santa Cruz (1505-1567), cosmographer from the school of Seville, was one of the most representative figures of the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade). It includes an interesting collection of 111 maps of islands, coloured in ink wash."
Last edited by Alexandre; Jun 14, 2012 at 06:52 PM.
Jun 15, 2012, 03:31 AM
Thanks Alexandre, very useful link.
Do you know what the circulation of the original Atlas may have been ?
Do they think it was widely produced and given to captains and explorers of the time, and what other countries may have had the use of it..
I am always amazed at what information they got reasonably well charted when they had to do so much on dead reckoning.
We still see people getting charting wrong with DGPS
Jun 15, 2012, 07:01 AM
speaking of old!
An ancient warship's ram has been slowly disintegrating since it was retrieved from the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. A new analysis shows sulfuric acid buildup is to blame.
Researchers are racing to find a way to slow the disintegration and perhaps, in the process, learn how to preserve other ancient wood structures after they've been plucked from the ocean and exposed to the air.
Currently the ram — known as a rostrum, a beak-like part of the prow that ancient warships used to ram holes into enemy ships — is being stored underwater, and some of the acidity from its exposure to air (when it was brought to the surface initially) has washed away. But if it were ever to be displayed out in the air, the sulfuric acid production could turn out to be a real problem, study researcher Patrick Frank of Stanford University told LiveScience.
During the First Punic War, between 264 and 241 B.C., hundreds of warships from the Roman Republic and Ancient Carthage met in the Mediterranean, sending some of them to the seafloor.
In 2008, one ship's rostrum — made of bronze, over a core of wood — was discovered 150 feet (46 meters) offshore from Acqualadrone ("The Bay of the Pirates") in northeastern Sicily, under 22 feet (8 m) of water. The ship had sunk around 260 B.C., during the battle of Mylae, researchers said. [The History of Human Aggression]
preeviously researchers had studied the metal of the ram to locate its origin. Because of the unique chemical fingerprints that metals have (based on the mine they came from), the bronze of the ram was determined to be from either Spain or Cyprus.
The ram is embossed with six swords pointing forward, three per side, Frank said: "The ram was built to really bash a hole in the side of a ship which would be very difficult to cover or repair."
The bronze rostrum had a wooden core that broke off with it and was preserved on the seafloor. In the current study, researchers analyzed the acids and other substances in the wood, and showed that the wood supporting the ram was pine, waterproofed with pine tar.
The research also found sulfur in the wood that, over time and especially when exposed to air, could turn into sulfuric acid, an extremely corrosive substance.
"The sulfur diffused into the wood and actually preserved it against degradation during burial in the seabed," Frank said. "However, the same sulfur causes the sulfuric acid threat after the wooden object is removed from the sea and kept in a museum, in air."
A ram found off the coast of Israel, and a representation of it on the front of an ancient boat. This rostrum dates from the 5th century BC, and is about 300 years older than the Acqualadrone ram, but has the same design.
This could lead to the destruction of the artifact, Frank said: "Sulfuric acid attacks the wood by destroying the cellulose. It's a general problem for recovered wooden marine wrecks," he said by email. "The wood can become quite acidic — sometimes measuring as low as pH 1. The wood becomes soft and spongy and loses its strength."
This transition is made even more dangerous by the presence of iron and copper in the wood, which may catalyze, or speed up, the chemical reaction. The researchers suggest that removing ozone from the air around the artifact could slow the conversion to acid, and therefore the destruction of the ram.
What is happening to the ram is probably the normal way that these recovered shipwrecks age, Frank said, so it could be important in saving not only this specimen, but other ancient wood structures that have been preserved underwater.
The study was published April 30 in the journal Analytical Chemistry.
Jun 15, 2012, 08:45 AM
Interesting Atlas. It's curious in the sense that it has incorporated the account of Pedro Serrano who wrecked in 1526 and was rescued in 1534, considering this book was published just six years later. The reading is perhaps more interesting than the maps which are also great.
He was a bit off, placing Serrana at 16 degrees when indeed it's at 14 degrees latitude and not 26 leagues fron Providencia but more like 60 leagues.
Last edited by Panfilo; Jun 15, 2012 at 08:56 AM.
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