ANALYSIS OF A GORE SET AND GLOBE DATED 1612/1614; PIETER van den KEERE; PETRUS PLANCIUS + AN APPENDIX WITH MERCATOR’S 1541 GORES!

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INTRODUCTION

The Globe for which the BnF Paris hold a copy of the Gores is held in the Maritiem Museum Rotterdam and has the following information as illustrated on diagram ChGLO/1/D01, where they state clearly, “Aardglobe door Petrus Plancius” and give as “creators”; Plancius, Petrus; Keere, Pieter van den (1612-1614).
The Globe is constructed from Gores which are held on 3 sheets, as diagrams ChGLO/1/ D02, D03 and D04 illustrate, and are accessed from the following URL; https://gallica.bnf.fr/html/und/cartes/les-globes-en-fuseaux and are number 87 in the list of 6 pages, reference btv1b8442098h.

They are curious in that they are curtailed at the 70N and 70S latitudes and of the three cartouches appended only one has an engraved text. There is under the central empty cartouche a very small inscribed text, “Petrus Kaerius excudit ann. 1614”. They are finely engraved gores with a plethora of place names and more particularly “Terra Australise Incognito” on a rather large land mass stretching around the globe from c50South.

Thus when I found they were unfortunately incorrectly drawn I was surprised, but researching further I was more surprised by the South Gore and its tabular format which in normal circumstances is practically impossible to see.

I will therefore abandon a more formal approach to the analysis and merely state the facts I have uncovered in what I hope will be a logical sequence and enable future in depth research.

ChGLO1/D01 and ChGLO1/D02

ChGLO1/D03 and ChGLO1/D04

THE GORES INVESTIGATED

I have set down my findings on the first of the three Gore Sheets, numbered 1, as D05 illustrates. The gore edges are covered by two sets of coloured lines; green being as drawn with the curve shown to be on a radius of c8.5 gores and as can be seen will produce a truncated sphere as the photograph ChGLO/1/D06 indicates; the red gore line is the correct radius for a set of gores to produce a perfect sphere. It is based upon a 9.25 gore radius and thus gives the correct distance between the poles of 6 gores (i.e. half the equator distance of 12 gores). At this point it is quite apparent that the form of the curves is slightly different in that the two radii form different curvatures and hence north south distance and will thus fit together slightly differently to form a good sphere and as we see a non-sphere.

ChGLO1/D05 and ChGLO1/D06

Study ChGOR/1/D05 and on the right hand gore I have drawn the circle which forms the profile of the 70N or 70S curvature, but note it is only 16 degrees in radius instead of 20 degrees, and that is shown by the second circle from the 50N to 66N, Arctic Circle curve. This means the junction to a proper gore drawn for the North or South Pole will not fit accurately.

Hence these gores will never make a spherical earth and in fact are more akin to the reality that is our Earth as an Oblate Spheroid having a smaller N/S circle than the Equatorial circle.

As my time allotted for this text was limited I quickly cut out and taped together in a rather rudimentary fashion the 12 gores and the supposed N/S finial gores to illustrate the problem. I then set in place the correct N/S gore unit to indicate the difference in curvature. And before anybody yells but the correct gores will not really fit, I agree, but, do you have or have even the time to make the full set of gores drawn from a 9.25gore width radius and thus make the illustrative model?

The existing set is obviously in error by 8 degrees.

In trying to set out the gores I found that there was a complete twist in the whole setting out which could of course be partly due to the printing technique and possible paper expansion or contraction when wet/dry, but it did not seem to be that reason. Surrounding the 4 gores is a definite rectangle drawn and printed but unfortunately it is not at right angles and hence the gore centre lines are slightly awry. But when the three points, Equator, North/left curve point and South/left curve point are used to construct the actual gore edge curve the centre point is on a line below the Equatorial line (the upper of the two lines which indicate the equatorial degrees) and all four gores are centered on this lower line. That error of alignment equates to the 4 degrees missing north or south as illustrated. Hence it is not a paper problem but a draughting error. Somebody set the Equatorial line in the wrong position and thus not on the actual curvature centre line which would have produced the correct gore north south distance of 6 gore widths using a 9.25 radius!

At this point I also thought the 4 gores width could be based upon the “Amsterdam Foot” which varies but is close enough for consideration.

THE GLOBE AS CONSTRUCTED

Firstly, two photos of the Globe in close up; on the first (D07) it is obvious the Gores are not jointed correctly, there are gaps between the Gores, small but necessary as the smaller curve has to be manipulated to fit the larger Globe Base Sphere. The difference of the Red and Green curves accounts for this problem of fitting wrongly shaped gores.

ChGLO1/D07

The second photo (D08) confirms the view on the first photo that the northern area has a gore sheet with land and place names upon it. However there is a rather awkward question to ask here; how did the globe constructor obtain the north south gores when the main gores will not provide the correct data to construct them?

It suggests to me that the Globe was put together with 12 gores and the north /south areas made to fit after the slightly erroneous setting out.

ChGLO1/D08

NEW INFORMATION APPEARS

I mentioned this problem to a fellow researcher and he happened to have a copy of “Globes from the Western World”, by Elly Dekker and P van den Krogt, which on page 47 has a photo of the globe showing the southern gore, which to my surprise was full of tabulated information and clearly Lats/longs of 2 x nine ‘places’ were in view but it was obviously for the “Climates”.

Thus hidden under the globe is probably vital information for a geographer as it could indicate the knowledge gained by Dutch Seamen in their explorations, or is it just the standard 10 degree “Climate” division. I therefore contacted the Rotterdam Maritiem Museum, “Prinz Hendrick” to obtain photos of both the north and south gores. I can only say a grateful thank you to Sjoerd de Meer, the museum curator for all of his help and the photos from an Iphone to illustrate the small problems I have encountered in this research.

ChGLO1/D09

ChGLO1/D10

THE PHOTOGRAPHS

ChGLO1/D11 and ChGLO1/D12

ChGLO1/D13 and ChGLO1/D14

On the first sheet there are two photos, each of a Pole. If you look carefully at the North Pole, the slightly enlarged joints between the chart gores are evident, but the new longitudinal lines are not carried through to the polar point. They stop at 88N, but the latitudinal scale is 90 degrees long. It would appear that only two sections of the North Pole Gore were required to be fabricated, as only two lines carry through to the 90 degree position. The curve is such that it could be pulled into shape quite easily and glued in place. But it continues the geographical knowledge and even has what appears to be Spiral Loxodromes which have been described thus, “another complicated feature of any rhumb line drawn across the earth’s surface was not only that it curved, but that, if followed indefinitely, it traced a spiral that ends up infinitely circling one or other of the poles, because of the gradual convergence of the meridians. For mathematicians, a loxodromes spiral is a beguiling geometrical feature, but for navigators, turning it into a straight line was a frustrating exercise.” Needless to say Mercator confronted the problem and solved it c1541.

Turning to the South Pole we see it covered with a complete circular cartouche containing two circles for an explanation of the Climate Zones and a tabulated list of 18 items with coordinates for each Climate and the use of the Climate information. There were originally 7 climates north and south of the Equator and that was extended to nine as we see here. Joan Blaeu described it as necessary to have nine climates matching a 10 degree spread and actually named them in the text accompanying his Atlas Major of 1665, as follows;

Thus going north it would be, 1) Ethiopia, 2) Arabic, 3) Egyptian, 4) Syrian, 5) Italian or French, 6) German or English, 7) Swedish, 8) Northern Glacial, 9) Northern Polar.

And, going south it would be, 1) Brazilian, 2) Peruvian, 3) Paraguayan, 4) Chilean, 5) Savage, 6) Magellanic, 7) Unknown, 8) Southern Glacial, 9) Southern Polar.

THE NORTH POLAR GORE

ChGLO1/D12

From these photos I am in two minds as to whether they were drawn in-situ or not. The curves and joints look freehand and the 80N latitude could be a freehand drawing of a basic compass mark. The longitudinal lines look as though they are drawn with a straight edge. But obviously the gore was planned as it has the continuation of the major notes for the globe and some place names. Our problem is nobody as yet has found the gore original!

THE SOUTH POLAR GORE

The photos are merely included to illustrate the facts discussed above that the latitudinal division and the nine climates are listed as described in Joan Blaeu’s Atlas Major of 1665. It is quite obvious that the South Polar gore is a manufactured gore to fit the space and has been carefully crafted such that the curvature could be obtained across the junction of the two halves vertically, the spheres above and the tables below.

Thus either Pieter van den Keere or Petrus Plancius was well aware of the “Climate” information and the necessity to use 90 degrees as Joan Blaeu explains concisely. What slightly perturbs me is the fact that having used the 10 degree “climates” the right hand sphere still has the rather large “Torrid” zone delineated, when in fact it was well known this area could be bounteous and well populated. This perhaps indicates a modicum of plain copying only and not of a desire to be up-to-date; but well in advance of Joan Blaeu’s text.

THE TEXTS AS APPENDED TO THE GLOBE

Firstly and most importantly note that the text for the central and right hand cartouches are set on a piece of paper and glued onto the Globe and mask the gore joint lines accordingly. Thus I must speculate that those texts were taken from a different source.

LEFT CARTOUCHE TEXT

Ipsa experiential peritos Naucleros docuit volubiles libellas magnetis virtute infectas in Insulis Corvi et Florum Mundi polos recte respicere: idcirco ibi, taquam a communi Mundi Magn. Meridiano Logitud. Justis de causis initum sumunt Pertus Kaerius et Abrahamus Goos patrueles sculptores.

Experience itself has taught skilful mariners that loose leaves when under the electrical influence, in the islands of Corvo and Flores, turn directly toward the poles of the world. And for this reason it is here, as a common magnetic meridian of the world, that Peter Kaerius and Abraham Goos his cousin, engravers, locate with reason the beginning of Longitude.

CENTRE CARTOUCHE TEXT

Nibiliissimis Amplissimis Consultissimis ac Prudentissimis Dominis Consulariis Thalassiarchis atque Thalatto Oratoribus Holandiae Zelandiae et Frisiae occidentalis nec non Magnificis ac Clarissimis Dominis Consulibus praeclarissimi Empoorii Amstelodami, Pertus Kaerius humillimus cliens L.M.Q. dat, dicat, dedicate. Anno 1612.

To the Most Noble, Exalted, Learned and Prudent Consular lords and Orators Maritime of Holland, Zeeland and West Friesland, also to the Great and Distinguished Lords Counsellors of the Renowned Emporium of Amsterdam, Peter Kaerius their humble client gives and dedicates (this globe), In the year 1612.

CENTRE TEXT BELOW CARTOUCHE

Pertus Kaerius excudi ann. 1614.

RIGHT HAND CARTOUCHE TEXT

In hujus nostril Globi delineation ubique castigatissimas Tabulas Hydrographicas ac Geographicas sequuit sumus, quibus Germani, Hispani, Galli, Itali, Angli, Scoti, Dani, Norvegi, Suedi nec non et navigationibus utuntur: ad quae omnia comparanda nulli nec labori nec sumptui pepercimus: ventorum quoque regimes ad usum navigantium admussim accomodavimus: quemadmodum artis periti, proprius inspiciendo, reperient. Vale ac frère. Petrus Plancius.

In the delineation of this our globe, we have everywhere followed the most correct hydrographic and geographic tables which the Germans, Spaniards, French, Italians, English, Scots, Danes, Norwegians and Swedes use in their voyages. In doing this we have spared neither labour nor expense. The directions of the winds we have laid down with great exactness for the use of sailors, as those experienced in navigation will see on close inspection. Farewell and be happy. Peter Plancius.
J L Stevenson concludes his text with the following; “This gives us definitely to understand that this terrestrial globe was the work of Plancius”

That comment I find does not ring true with the first and second texts above and am tending to believe we are witnessing the possibility of two globes or a globe and a chart from which the texts have been abstracted for re-use as paste on shapes for the centre and right hand cartouches. The comment regarding the winds is perhaps wishful thinking as the spiral loxodromes will be useless to a navigator. Thus did Petrus Plancius or Pieter van den Keere really understand their work as drawn? The idea that the Magnetic compass when pointing north/south will be the best starting point for the longitudes is certainly a novel idea, but fraught with difficulty to measure accurately the sea distance to the European Coastline. It is akin to the 370 league problem of the Line of Demarcation, which until Longitude was actually solved was a moveable feast!

INTERESTING FACSIMILE OF GLOBE

Held by the National Maritime Museum, London, is a globe made around 1900. It is 323mm diameter as opposed to the 263/265mm of the original and is drawn from the BnF, Paris gores; that is an 11 to 9 enlargement. It does not have the North Pole or South Pole cartouche which is perhaps a sign that the author was unaware of the Rotterdam Globe and its information. The NMM text clearly mentions the South Polar Gore and its Climate information but does not cross reference to the facsimile and its apparent correct construction as those gores meet very correctly and are thus I would assume 9.25 gore width radii.

ChGLO1/D15

FINAL COMMENTS

My time allotted has expired for this research and I hope I have set down enough data for a future researcher, probably in Holland, to search the archives for information which can answer the obvious dichotomies within the texts and the draughtsmanship of the gores. It would be a great help if the origination of the Gores could be determined as from a chart or mappa-mundi, and the original gores from which the engraving was copied. That would answer a multitude of questions. Good hunting to all who take up the challenge.

Michael J Ferrar, July 1019

APPENDIX

It is quite apparent that the work of Gerard Mercator, particularly his 1541 Globe gores and Globe set the bench mark for Petrus Plancius and Pieter van den Keere. The Mercator Gores are limited to 70N and 70S and there are two other Gores, plain circles of 24 degrees each for the North Pole and South Pole areas. But Mercator also produced a set of horizon ring calottes/fuseaux, 5cm wide with the equator divided into four sections, the possible missing parts for the Plancius/Keere Globe of 1612/1614.

They are available to study at the Bibliotheque royale de Belgique and on a web site at http://wp.unil.ch/mercator/en/printing-plates/

The heading is “Printing plate-Les Globes de Mercator de l’UNIL.”

They are further discussed in Volume 1 of Stevenson’s Terrestrial and Celetial Globes; and in “Mercator, The man who mapped the planet”, by Nicholas Crane as well as various works by Peter van de Krogt and Elly Dekker.

ChGLO1/D16

The globe which can be constructed from the Gores is c420mm diameter, which made it 50mm larger than that of Gemma Frisius globe of 1536/37, and consequently should be so very accurate in its construction as the larger the globe the greater the magnification of an error. Thus when the gores were quickly investigated, I was very surprised to find the same basic error as with the Keere/Plancius gores.

ChGLO1/D17

Mercator has set the gores out on a reduced radius c8.33 gore widths when the basic geometry must be to produce a gore (or its hidden extension) which has a vertical height of 6 gores when the basis is a 30 degree gore, or 12 per equatorial distance. It is not drawn thus but as diagram ChGLO/1/D16 clearly illustrates, short by at least 4 or 5 degrees N & S.

I have tried to indicate on D17 the problems encountered, but as it is such a small scale set of gores it must be considered indicative and a full investigation carried out on a full size set of gores to indicate the real problems of the future construction.

FINI, Michael J Ferrar, July 1019