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The Greek Portolan Charts 15th-17th Centuries

The Greek Portolan Charts 15th-17th Centuries


A Contribution to the Mediterranean Cartography of the Modern Period

George Tolias
translator: Geoffrey Cox, John Solman

Olkos Publishers, 1999
219 p.
ISBN 960-7169-94-8, ISBN-13 978-960-7169-94-5, [In Print]
Price € 46,86

This elegant edition presents the study of the Historian George Tolias concerning the navigation charts of the Mediterranean sea, that were created by the Greeks during the 15th and the 17th centuries. The edition includes 100 artistic pictures, 60 of them in color, and projects the dexterity of the cartographers in their attempts to understand the secluded sea, the marine world and the societies of the Mediterranean.

"...The manuscript portolan charts and altases of the sixteenth century occupy an essential position in the urban cultivation of curiosity which was one of the central cultural axes of the period. They provided information not only about the spectacular expansion in the geographical horizon being caused by seccessive discoveries of new toutes and new lands, but also a remarkable volume of purely encyclopedie facts. Their pictures and place-names, their comments and ornamentation, supplied the inquisitive user with a wide range of particulars about life at the four corners of the globe: views of cities, information about the houses in which people lived and the way they dressed, about their customs, about the flora and fauna of the various countries, about types of sailing-craft and about the stranger aspects of nature. These portolan charts and atlases are summary illustrated encyclopaedias, brief "theatres" of the world with information of a geographical, historical and political nature. They are not composed in a static, integrated manner, as was the case with the textual works and the cosmographies, proposing instead a partical and continuous process of discovery, the open horizon and unexplored areas which, littly by little, were being conquered, the slow piecing together and re-arrangement of geographical knowledge by way of numerous and successive voyages, discoveries and technological applications..."

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