Η χαρτογραφία και οι Έλληνες

By cpt. V. N. Makris, Master Mariner,

It has been proved beyond any doubt that navigation was performed in Greek waters well before any historical or mythological records existed.
Archaeological findings have proved that communication and transport of materials took place at least 8,000 years before the current era.
As any navigator knows, before the starting off to any destination, the final point and travelling details have to be established.
None of the discoveries that broadened our knowledge of the Planet we all are living on, started by chance,or as a whim of the explorer or some adventurer Ruler.
There is always a purpose and some strong indications, as to the aims and the existence of the place,all started off their voyages to find.
Means of navigation and the navigator's instincts and more than often exclusive knowledge, lead the daring ones to begin an adventure ,that would provide to them, either glory or wealth or both.
The celestial bodies provided the guiding means, but not indication of the destination, and the conditions of the voyage or any obstacles.
The later had to be indicated and recorded.
It did not matter if it was a clay tablet, or a parchment, a Sailor's shield or a wooden board, it had to be recorded by any possible means available at the time, and that was the first map.
To produce a correct Map two basic elements are a prerequisite, Latitude and Longitude of the places or points to be represented, along with an in depth knowledge of Astronomy and Mathematics.
The basic problems for the Cartographer and the Navigator of the early times was to find the correct Latitude and Longitude of the place or position,
The Latitude was rather easier to find, but the Longitude which requires exact time, had always been a problem, until Harrison came along with his Chronometers, an achievement that was rewarded by the British Admiralty with the astronomical for the time amount of twenty thousand Pounds.
The lack of precise time reflects on the inaccuracies we encounter on the early Maps.
Let us establish some chronological sequence to the events that lead to the contemporary maps and the contribution of the Greeks.

Thera frescoes: 1600-1500 b.c. Although it is more a decorating item it can as well present a good picture of the
Port and adjacent coast and it can as well double as a Map, even on the wall of someone who was either working at sea, or accumulated his fortunes through the sea.

Homer:800 b.c.? Achilles Shield. Any person , not suffering from the blindness of the Scholars that described Homer as blind and placed him 800 b.c., reading either Iliad or Odyssey will notice a few things incompatible with the handicap attributed to him.
The accuracy of the description of events to the smallest detail, even the delicate carvings of the lintel at the door of the Odysseus palace and the splendid variations of colours, light and darkness or shadows , are incompatible with blindness.
The detailed narration of the various events also suggest rather first hand witness's account than telling tales four hundred years later.
The in depth anatomical details of the battle wounds and their description, that would embarrass today's forensic experts, are incompatible with the handicap.
However in order not to upset the wise brains, let us accept that Homer wrote his Epics around 800 b.c. instead of the correct 3170 b.c.
The description of the various decorations that Hephestus embedded on that piece of the Hero's armour, shows not only the skill of the God-technician, but his extensive astronomical and geographical knowledge as well, is it another piece of Map or the first celestial Map ?.

Anaximandros of Mellitus: 611-546 b.c. World Map.
Taught the Spherical of the Universe and the obliquity of the Ecliptic. Perhaps Copernicus came across some of his work and became a genius.
Made World map which Aristagoras tyrant of Mellitus showed to the King of Sparta on a bronze tablet (pinax) in 499-8 b.c.

Skyllax of Karyanda 6th century b.c.
Admiral of the Persian fleet of Darius the 1st. Navigated Pakistan, India, Arabia and passed to the Mediterranean Sea through the old Pharaoh's canal,(later Suez Canal).

Eumenis of Massalia 550-525 b.c.
Voyage from Massalia to the West Africa coast down to Senegal or Gambia, did he know something or Was just bored with the places he already knew and took his Ship and crew for a ride?

Hecateus of Mellitus 550 b.c:
Wrote the first book on Geography.(Periegesis) Describing geography and customs of the then known World, accompanied by Map with details unknown up to that time.
In his book Genealogy combines myths with actual events through systematic and analytical research.
He starts his book saying that *I am writing the following, because I believe they are true*.

Parmenidis 5th century b.c.
Taught the spherical shape of the Earth.

Oinopides of Chios 480-471 b.c.:
Taught that the Earth has a declination of 24 degrees to the plane of its Orbit.
Actual 23.5 degrees.

Herodotus 430-420 b.c.
Besides his historical work, there is a world map attributed to him in the Congress Library Washington D.C.

Heraclides of Pontus 391-390 b.c. :
Taught that Venus and Mercury orbit the Sun.

Aristotelis 350 b.c.
He put forward six arguments to prove that the Earth was a sphere.

Pytheas of Massalia 330 b.c.
Navigator, Geographer, Astronomer.
Calculated the Latitude of Marseilles 43.12 degrees with marginal error, correct 43.15 degrees.
Travelled to the Baltic and Iceland. Calculated the Latitude of Thule 63.00 degrees.
It is disputed whether it was Iceland or the Faeroe Islands.
Circumnavigated Gt. Britain and calculated its circumference 6400 km.
He calculated the distance Gt. Britain-Marseilles 1050 miles instead of the correct 1120
Observed that the Polar Star is not precise true north and that the moon influences the Tides.
In his Baltic voyage he reached Helgoland, which he calls Aballus.
He reached the Arctic and as he says he could not advance further because the Sea was solid, but remarked that during the Summer the Sun does not set.
His Book *In the Ocean* has been lost and we know him mostly from the Historian Polyvious (200-118) b.c.

Dicaiarchos 300 b.c.
Established the orientation line on the maps running East-West through Gibraltar and Rhodes.

Aristarchos of Samos :Heliocentric Theory:
He taught that the Earth is moving around the Sun on an inclined plane, while it turns around her axis.
The Sun is fixed, and the Moon is having her light fro the Sun.
The Earth's distance from the Sun is 18>20< from the distance Earth-Moon.
Added 1/1623 of a day to the year of 365 1/4 days calculated by Kallipos.
Aristarchos applied trigonometry for the calculation of celestial distances.
Still I can not see the genius in Copernicus, Gallileo, or any other later genius.

Kallippos of Kyzikos: 370-300 b.c. Astronomer.
Calculated the duration of the year 365 1/4 days.

Kratis of Mallus 2nd century b.c.
Made terrestrial Globe with four Continents, with the terms Perioikoi and Antipodes for the inhabitants of North and South hemisphere respectively.

Eratosthenis of Kyrenia 275-194 b.c.
Calculated the circumference of the Earth 252,000 stadia (stadium=157.5 metres) or 39,690 km. Actual 40,075 km.
In his Geographica demonstrates the best way to draw a map of the known Earth.
Calculated the Distance between Thule (Iceland or Faeroe) to Taprobane (Ceylon) 37,600 stadia.
Made World Map 220 b.c. Chartis tis Oikoumenis
Calculated the length of the Rhodes Parallel at 36 degrees just under 200,000 stadia.

Ipparchos of Nikaia-Bythinia: 190 b.c. Astronomer and Mathematician.
Founder of scientific Astronomy.
Observed the Precession of the Equinoxes.
Introduced the scale of magnitude 1-6 for the Stars which is still used today.
Invented the Astrolabe and drew celestial Globe.
Defined the zones of Latitude. Divided the Great Circle in 360 degrees. Listed 850 Stars.
His book on Gravity has been lost ,did Sir Isaac Newton pioneer on the field?

Seleukos of Seleukia 190-181 b.c.
He was teaching the Heliocentric Theory.

Agatharchides or Agathargos 132 b.c.
Periplous of the Erythrean Sea. voyage to the Red Sea, with descriptions of the kingdom of Nabateans whose King was Malchos and capital Petra.
Visited Bombay area where king was Mambanos and describes detailed voyage up to the Ganges River.

Sosigenis 90-81 b.c.
As adviser to Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar.

Marinos of Tyre 1st century b.c.
Made Nautical Charts extensively used by the Seamen of the time.
He gives Sea distances which obtained from Alexander the Navigator who sailed to the
Golden Chersonese (Malay Peninsula) and from Zanae to Kattingara,(probably Hanoi).
Map based on cylindrical projection, with grid of parallelograms centred in Rhodes.
His work perished but we know him and his work from Claudius Ptolemeus.

Strabon of Amaseia 10-01 b.c.
Divided the Globe in to Frigid, Tempered and Tropical Zones.

Claudius Ptolemeus of Alexandria 100-175 present era.
Librarian of the Alexandria Library. Among his works are:
a) Almagest (Arabian translation of *I Megisti*) 13 books of mathematical interpretation of astronomical phenomena.(Megali syntaxis tis Astronomias).
b) Geography,8 books.
c) Optics (Analeima kai Planispherion) orthographic and stereoscopic projection.
d) Tetrabiblos.Astrological diatribe.
e) Handy Tables.
f) Armonica.
g) Places of fixed Stars and List of 1025 stars.
h) List of towns of Europe and Asia with their Lat.-Long. co-ordinates.

This is the source of wisdom and knowledge, which Christianity suppressed and tried to bury under the most severe penalties that perverted minds could invent the last 2000 years.
Seven centuries after the Last of the Great Ones starts the work of the copiers and imitators.

813-833 : Al Mamun Chalif of Bagdad.
Made World map based on the works of Ptolemy with improved grid of co-ordinates.

956 Al Masudi
Copied Ptolemy's Geography with coloured maps containing 4530 towns and 200 mountains but being in Greek he could not read them.

1187 The Compass appears in the Western World.

1270 The First Nautical Map: portolano or Pilot book.

1260-1310 Maximos Planoudis:Monk in Instabul.
Collected and copied Geography and Maps which he donated to the Byzantine Emperor
Andronicus II Palaiologos, which survived in the Vatican under the title:
*Codex Vaticanus Urbinus Graecus 82.

1395: Emmanouil Chrysoloras (1350-1415) Diplomat.
Send by the Emperor Manuil II Palaiologos to Venice, where he translated Ptolemy's Geography to the Latin and employed Jacopo di Angelo da Scapperia to print the Maps and retained the Greek terms and names.

1415: Francesco Lappacino and Domenico Bonisegni:
Copied Codex Urbinus Graecus 82 with Latin names and they exist under the title: Codex Vaticanus 5698.

1434 Palla Strizzi e Medici,Duke Borso d'Este.
Copied Ptolemy's Maps.

1470 Pope Pius II (Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini)
Published 600 copies of Ptolemy's Atlas in Bolognia and distributed them to his Cardinals, among them Cardinal D'Ailly a friend of Christoforos Colombus who borrowed his maps.

1474 Regiomotanus:German Astronomer:
Published the first Almanac under the Greek title:*Ephimerides Astronomikai*

1420-1490 Domus Nicolaus Germanus (Monk):
Published and used the trapezoidal projection of Ptolemy in his maps.

Gerhard Kremmer or Gerardus Mercator:
Published the first Nautical Maps based on the principle of increasing the Latitude as per trigonometrical function, so that the bearings and courses could be represented by straight lines on the Maps.
It is apparent that the Ptolemy's Maps were published well before Christopher Colombus and all the other Explorers ventured out on their perilous voyages, if not with perfect Maps, but some excellent indications of the Places they were going to explore or discover.
It is worth noting that Ptolemy placed the First Meridian (today's Greenwich) on the Canary Islands,
*the Islands of the Fortunate ones* as he calls them,which were discovered 1250 years later.
Aristotle : 1800 years before Christopher Columbus discovered America ,describes the
Sargasian Sea *Calm Seas full of seaweeds far beyond the Pillars of Hercules.*(Gibraltar).

Types of Maps :
1) Cylindrical Projection:
 a) Orthographic. (Light source at infinity)
 b) Stereoscopic. (Light source on Earth's surface opposite the point)
 c) Gnomonic. (Light source in the centre of the Earth).

2) Azimouthic Projection.
 (Light source the centre of the Globe, sizes exaggerated towards the
 Polar regions, Poles can not be shown-infinity).

3) Conical Projection.

ΠΗΓΗ: Δημοσιεύθηκε προ 20ετίας στο περιοδικό της Λέσχης Ελλήνων
Πλοιάρχων Λονδίνου. ΤΟ ΚΟΥΜΠΑΣΟ.
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