1972 Begins

1972 Begins

A World Map of the 6th Century BC, By Egerton Sykes

The great era of Greek science began when Thales the Astronomer and mathematician opened up his school at Mietus. He was the man of whom Callimarchus said:

"Who first of all the course made plain

Of those small stars we call Wain

By which Phoencians sail the main."

Apart from his interest in Astronomy, Thales was also a Geographer. He prepared a globe on which he mapped the world as it was known to sailors and travelers passing through the Port of Miletus plus the background information gathered by both Egypt and Phoenicia and stored away in their great libraries. The pupil of Thales, Anixamander prepared a map of the world which Hecateus, the famous historian, had cast on a bronze slab which was kept in the Temple at Miletus, our source for this is Herodotus. Hecateus (550-476) included a copy of the map in his "Periodos Ges" (Circuit of the Earth). Before doing so he was shown the ancient records kept there, it is reasonably certain that any information thus obtained would be incorporated in the map. Some years later, probably from the motives of sheer jealousy, the bronze map was removed from Miletus by Aristeides (510-468) to the Great Temple of Pergomon., the important Cabeiri center in Anatolia. Since then all traces of it has been lost. Bearing in mind that the Germans did a first class dig at Pergamon, before the 1st World War one wonders if in their work they came across any traces of the subsequent history of this map. As it was cast in bronze there is a possibility of it having survived. Alternately a text of the work of Hecateus may be found among the hundreds of tons of manuscripts rotting in the cellars of religious establishments throughout Islamic world. Although the terrestrial globe and the map, the joint work of the three greatest men of their era, is the earliest of which we have any record, both the Phoenicians and the Egyptians had penetrated Brazil, China, the Caribbean, Rhodesia and the Gold Coast, would certainly have had records of these journeys in the map form. Although none of these have come down to us it is reasonably certain that the Byzantine Empire acquired many of them and that the much disputed South American sections the Piri Reis Map came from this source rather than from Toscanelli who furnished the North Atlantic portion. The main source of information in the Middle Ages was Edrisi- about 1150 AD-whose cartographic data was largely supplied by Magruin an Admiral of Robert of Sicily. Miletus, like Alexandria, was an university town with a large port, and very much in touch with current events. The same may be said of Pergamon which received all the information collected by the secret service of the Cabeiri and the other initiatory

Societies. Surely some traces of the vast assembly of cartographic knowledge is sll to be found. It is of interest to note that Thales and his school knew the Earth to be round, knowledge denied to the early Popes, one of whom reprimanded Archbishop later to become Saint-Fergal of Soingus, for having dared to talk to his flock about the antipodes. He was also known as Virgile and his See has now become Salzberg. All the early map makers cribbed unashamedly from their predecessors, Nicolas of Lynn copied the maps drawn by Himilco (Carthage voyager 600 BC period), used by Pytheas, later by the Viking settlers of North America. He in turn was copied by Jacobus Cnoyen and still later by Mercator. The real problem is who drew the first real map. Here although the Babylonian map is the oldest in existence at the moment, the real maps were those drawn by sailors and not landsmen, these are to be sought in sports not along the Tigris and Euphrates.

The Agriculture Revolution When and Where?, By L. M. Young F.R.A.I. 1972 cont.



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