991

GEOGRAPHICAL EXTRACTS FROM AND ANALYSIS OF “THE NATURAL HISTORY” BY “PLINY THE ELDER”

Pliny the Elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus (23CE-August 25th, 79CE) was a Naval and Army commander and friend of the emperor Vespasian. Pliny’s last text was the “Naturalis Historia” completed in 77CE. It is an encyclopaedia of available knowledge and comprises History, Geography, Botany, Zoology, Astronomy, Geology and Mineralogy.
Unfortunately his sudden and unexpected death whilst endeavouring to rescue persons trapped by the eruptive force of Vesuvius meant that this text was both perhaps his greatest and last.
The geographical fragments included there-in, are from many sources; each is attributed to the original author and traveller as the case may be. These people generally existed just before our common era, but also as far back as Eratosthenes (285-194BCE), and thus provide a marvellous insight into the Geography of that age. It pre-dates the work of Marinus the Tyrian and Claudius Ptolemy, who were active from the end of the first century to the latter part of the second century CE, but, it is contemporaneous with the “Geography” of Strabo. However, it appears that Pliny was not aware of that text.
This text is not a comprehensive analysis of Pliny’s work, but a selective overview to establish the overall extant world view that appertained in the first century of our common era. It is also the pre-cursor of a second text, cgPl2, which investigates the map or maps available to and studied by Pliny.

23 A4 pages and 21 full colour diagram maps

February 2011
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1059

THE ARAL, LAKE or SEA; AN ENIGMA! Cartographically unknown—physically lost!

The Sea of Aral has been the subject of much speculation regarding the shrinkage of its limits so evidenced by the enigmatic photograph of the ships high and dry in a desert scene.
This paper only discusses the fact that the Sea of Aral does not appear on western maps until the 16th century, but was shown on Eastern or Arab maps in the 12th century.
When the general area was mapped by Marinus the Tyrian and Claudius Ptolemy c150CE there was a conflation of the Caspian Sea and the Sea of Aral. Why?

11 A4 pages and 10 full colour diagram maps

February 2011
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1075

MARCUS VIPSANIUS AGRIPPA—HIS MAP GAIUS PLINIUS SECUNDUS—HIS TEXT

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was tasked with the production of a map, not a map of the Roman Empire c20BCE, but a map of the whole known world.
Pliny the Elder wrote his reference work, “Natural History” c77CE, well after the death of Agrippa in 12BCE. But, Pliny obviously viewed the finished map which had been erected or displayed in a public area, the Porticus Vipsania.
The source of the geographical data within Pliny’s text is mostly attributed to Agrippa and appears to come from the commentary written to accompany the world map.
Thus by extracting the data attributable to Agrippa for geographical, and then the astronomical/astrological facts contained within Pliny’s text, we can unravel the dubious extant reconstructions of the past and indicate hitherto un-researched facets of the text.
This has enabled a new interpretation of those facts to be made, and thus the possibility to describe and draw a map more akin to the original by Agrippa.
The previous text, cgPl1, contains much of the research for this text. It has not been repeated, merely referenced.

17 A4 pages and 24 full colour diagram maps

March 2011
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1081

MAGNA GERMANIA; CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY BOOK 2, CHAPTER 10; FACT OR FICTION

The text of Claudius Ptolemy within Book 2 has a well ordered methodology of presentation. However, that only applies to the first 9 chapters and then chapters 11 to 15.
Chapter 10, Magna Germania, is treated in a different manner. Why?
This area of Europe was not conquered by the Roman legions and therefore geographical knowledge was not available to Claudius Ptolemy. Did he therefore invent a geographical landscape?

18 A4 pages and 12 full colour diagram maps

August 2011
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1102

HERODOTUS OF HALICARNASSUS; “THE HISTORIES” GEOGRAPHICAL DATA THERE-IN, ANALYSED

The Histories” deal with Greek/Persian conflicts until c430BCE, the first year of the Peloponnesian War.
“Herodotus of Halicarnassus, his researches are here set down to preserve the memory of the past by putting on record the astonishing achievements both of our own and of other peoples; and more particularly, to show how they came into conflict.”
Those are his first words, and after them is a Geographical, Social, Religious and Mythological treatise concerning the world known to Greeks and Persians. He is known as the “Father of History”, and sometimes criticised for his “outlandish tales”, but, many have subsequently proven correct.
This text analyses and comments upon most of the geographical facts contained there-in.

17 A4 pages and 13 full colour diagram s

February 2012
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1124

PAULUS OROSIUS, “HISTORY AGAINST THE PAGANS” – AN ANALYSIS OF BOOK 1 GEOGRAPHICAL TEXT

Paulus Orosius, born c375CE, was a Christian historian who perceived that the Roman Empire was in decline and the new religion of Christianity was in the ascendance. To assert that point he was charged with writing a History to show that the Christians were by no means responsible for the catastrophes which had taken place under pagan (Roman) rule.

In c313 CE the Edict of Mediolanum (Milan) was in favour of equality for Christians and it eliminated the cults of the Roman State. By c395CE there are established two Roman Empires, those of the East and West, with Constantinople as the eastern capital. But as with later texts written by Monks (Tp1), he begins his ‘History’ with a complete description of the known world. It is only that text which is herein analysed and can be shown to be an attempt to describe the oikoumene c400CE from east to west with the three continents as divided in the ancient Greek world of c600BCE. But in many instances it is a lightweight description. However, there are facets of that description which are intriguing, particularly in their provenance.

19 A4 pages and 14 full colour diagrams

May 2012
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1148

Al-Idrisi; The Book of Roger The description of L’Angleterre

ABSTRACT
The Normans forged an empire from their beginnings in Northern France, when in 911 King Charles the Simple (898-923) agreed that the Vikings (original Normans) under Rollo should receive land in France. It was then called Normandy, and as such was a Duchy within his realm. The Normans were content for a short period of time and then around 1016 expanded their sphere into southern Italy and Sicily. By 1095 Roger 1st was Count of Sicily. Roger 2nd began his rule after the death of his brother and in 1112 was Count of Sicily and Calabria. Meanwhile from their latter homeland of Normandy, Duke William invaded L’Angleterre and made it his fiefdom in 1066, with a Domesday Survey following in 1086.
Roger 2nd however was situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily, with to his east south and west lands that were Arab Muslim States. Thus Roger 2nd could draw around him learned persons of many races and through them collected information regarding the Oikoumene.
Having collected sufficient data he instructed an Arab, Muhammad al-Idrisi to produce a map of the Oikoumene and a Geographical treatise containing a full description of all facets of that Oikoumene.
This first investigatory text solely concentrates on the description of L’Angleterre and the sparse information included in the section which also deals with Ireland and Scotland. That is Climate 7, Sections 1 and 2 of the text by al-Idrisi.

20 A4 pages and 16 full colour diagrams

October 2012
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1249

Al-Idrisi; The Book of Roger The description of Al Andalos

The text by Al-Idrisi within the ‘BOOK OF ROGER’, (a sub-title of its Arabic title), is loosely divided into 7 Climates each being theoretically 9 degrees of latitude. Each Climate is then divided into 10 sections each being theoretically 18 degrees of longitude. Al-Andalos or Spain in this text comprises the whole Iberian Peninsula and is described within the 4th Climate, 1st Section and the 5th Climate, 1st Section; these two Climates basically divide the peninsula in half latitudinally.

It is a highly detailed description comprising 81 pages in French translation and is by far the most expansive description of any country or area within ‘The Book of Roger’.

But that description, even though Al-Idrisi is well aware of the country of Al-Andalos, is faulty; that is because of the words he has chosen to portray the shape of the Peninsula. Al-Idrisi uses the term “triangle” and then qualifies it pages later with the words,”we say therefore that the form of Spain, in the most extreme use of the term may be described as a triangle.”

The damage however had already been done and subsequent scribes portrayed Spain as a triangle. Al-Idrisi also used a metaphor which may also be considered suspect to describe L’Angleterre as being of an Ostrich Head shape as is discussed in the text cgId1. This text cgId2 endeavours to redress the wrong impression given by Al-Idrisi with his faulty metaphor, his somewhat throwaway description of Spain, and use his own text to indicate how he actually viewed the Peninsula and probably drew his map of it. It is obvious that it was not viewed as a triangle.

15 A4 pages and 28 full colour diagrams

November 2012
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1256

Al-Idrisi; The Book of Roger ‘Orphan’ Circular World Map

The prologue to “The Book Of Roger” contains a description of the desires of Al-Idrisi concerning a world geography and map and how he will set about achieving it. He desires to fully explain the oikoumene, its lands, geography, seas and peoples and to illustrate the form of that oikoumene on a series of tableaux, individual maps, each being a specific part of that oikoumene.

He determines to subdivide the oikoumene into 7 climates and infers that this is as Claudius Ptolemy described. That is the first of Al-Idrisi’s sleight of hand. He then decides that each climate will be sub-divided into 10 equal sections of the full extent of each climate from west to east.

In his text he clearly states that there will be 70 tableaux or maps.

What Al-Idrisi never states is that his text will also contain a single map to accompany” The Book of Roger” which will represent the oikoumene, the co-joining of the 70 tableaux in the form of a circular map with the 7 climate lines appended.

But, each copy of “The Book of Roger” contains such a map. Who’s Map?

The circular map, similar in size to a tableau is geometrically constructed to give a partial view of a globular world upon a flat sheet of paper, where-as the 70 tableaux are drawn as if the world was flat in a rectilinear projection. The Preface of Al-Idrisi hints at an answer to the foregoing points and is fully discussed within the following text reference cgId4.

This text endeavours to determine the origins and construction of the singular circular world map and the climates used by Al-Idrisi, none of which is accounted for by him.

9 A4 pages and 18 full colour diagrams

November 2012
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1265

Al-Idrisi; The Book of Roger Preface, prologue and 70 maps

The preface by Al-Idrisi to his text concerning the geography of the world, named “The Book of Roger”, is an exercise in hyperbole that any current publicist would be proud to have written to enhance the reputation of Roger II of Sicily.

The prologue is a different matter. There-in we read of the size of the oikoumene, of the seven (sic) climates and a brief description of features of that oikoumene.

It is as if the two sections were written at very different stages of the overall work that Al-Idrisi carried out for Roger II of Sicily. They are not contiguous in what purports to be a single homogenous text.

Al-Idrisi sets down towards the end of his very short preface details of a drawing board being prepared and iron compasses used to draw a world map. This is to become the silver planisphere model. However, he issues no instructions for the construction of the planisphere other than its metal weight.

Then in the last paragraph of the prologue he sets down that there will be 70 maps to describe the oikoumene ‘without counting the two extremities of the oikoumene’. But as text cgId3 explains there are in fact 71 maps within the text, with the 71st being a small scale circular world map which may be considered an instruction sheet for the amalgamation of the 70 tableaux. It serves no other purpose.

But the 70 maps spread throughout the texts vary in content. The oldest text available is ARABE 2221 held by the BnF in Paris, and is dated to c1300. That is some 150 years after the original was written, but the diagrams do appear to agree with the Pococke 375 text, which is another 150 years later, and is held by the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

H owever, Konrad Miller collated the Al-Idrisi maps and prepared a restoration and transliteration in 1927 (Arabic/ Latin/ German) of them, but his reconstruction uses maps with extra information appended.

Thus we can examine the overall map of Al-Idrisi formed by the 70 tableaux and set it against that of Marinus the Tyrian and Claudius Ptolemy, who Al-Idrisi states determined the figure of the Earth.

14 A4 pages and 21 full colour diagrams

November 2012
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1270

ENGLISH MAPS FROM c1300 to c1760 PECULIARITIES; LATITUDE; LONGITUDE; SCALE

An overview of English Maps c1300 to c1760 which will be followed in a later paper (cgEm/O) by essays describing the peculiarities to be found on specific English maps. This text concentrates upon the form of Britannia, sans Scotland, its development and accuracy and includes a discussion of map scales used.
It also contrasts the form of Britannia as shown on each map with a Geographical Ptolemaic map drawn for just that purpose. There is one curiosity however that may not be resolved, but, with two possible answers, very simple possibilities of which William of “Occam” would approve the enigma can be discussed.

16 A4 pages and 27 A4 diagrams.

July 2013
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1311

ENGLISH MAPS, c1300 – 1760AD ESSAYS OF EXPLANATION

The preceding paper cgEMGn1 was an all encompassing discussion of English Maps, their form, heritage and interdependence. This text subjects several of those maps to greater scrutiny via individual essays. The maps may be considered both singular or as being exemplars for English map-making.
The essays discuss how the maps were constructed, their foibles, the bordure scales which are certainly not always reality and the variable north point.
One text is written as a full analysis, not an essay, and completes the papers.
There is also a comparison with European Cartographers who have drawn maps of England and Wales and have the same scale problems for longitude as the English maps.

14 A4 pages and 34 A4 diagrams.

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1353

1457 World Map; Genoese, Yes! Draughtsmanship before History

The planisphere known as the Genoese World Map, 1457, has no known author or actual place of production. It has been assumed by some researchers to be of Genoese origin, but this is contested. This text indicates from within the planisphere itself its point of origin and how it was constructed by melding a Portolan to the Ptolemaic Oikoumene.

10 A4 pages and 15 A4 diagrams.

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1372

THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA WITH THE FALSEHOODS, SLEIGHT OF HAND AND GENERAL ERRORS OF MARINUS AND CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY SHOWN BY CARTOGRAPHY

Many researchers have commented upon the length of the Mediterranean Sea as determined by Marinus and Ptolemy at 62 degrees from the Pillars to Issus. They have hypothesized upon the reason for that expansion from the geographical 41.483 degrees and the latest paper is no exception. Published in CaJ 53 No1, February 2016, it merely uses the same mathematical techniques as others have, such as the 2013 paper in Memocs to which it bears a striking resemblance, but does not in fact explain how the 62 degree length was determined. This paper uses the simplicity of cartographical draughtsmanship for an examination of the actuality of the Mediterranean Sea profile to determine the facts and thus indicate the original concept for the length as given.

The text is 10 A4 pages and has 10 A4 diagrams.

October 2016
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1393

MARINUS OF TYRE AND THE 500 STADES HOW MUCH LATITUDE FOR A DEGREE OF LATITUDE

All latitudinal measures can only be determined on the face of the Earth and thus any given measurement can be assessed as to its place of origin, because the earth is an oblate spheroid, a fact not known in antiquity, and thus has variable latitudinal lengths. But when the measurements used are variable but by having the same name can be completely misinterpreted, any attempt to ascertain its actuality whilst not doomed to failure can end up being mathematical, “playing with numbers”. Thus a strict evaluation of the parameters, both the form of the Earth and the base length, the Stadion, must be made to avoid the criticism of numerical fantasies. This text attempts that with regard to the latitudinal degree known as 500 stades, exploring all facets of its possible origination from ancient times.
I have appended my text ChMEA/1; Charts their latitudinal measures re-assessed from historical attempts to define the degree of latitude as it preceded this new text and is in fact therefore a text which should be read in conjunction with this text CgSTA/1.

The text is 7+7, A4 pages and contains 6, A4 diagrams..

November 2016
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