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    Re: Portuguese shipwreck question
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2009 Nov 2, 16:52 -0000

    "Apache Runner" wrote, about the list of place-names and poitions in the 
    Tables, by Raymond of Marseille in about 1140, which was provided as an 
    attachment with [10375],
    
    "In the meantime, if you have any insight into some of the place names, I'd 
    be grateful."
    
    Well, many will have been guessed at already, as being pretty obvious. 
    Others may seem obvious, except that their positions diverge a rather long 
    way from what would be expected; latitudes as well as longitudes; really, 
    it's difficult to relate names and positions.
    
    Let's have a try, just dealing with possible place-names, and ignoring, 
    mostly, the positions, any of which may have been mis-transcribed.. 
    Mediaeval scribes weren't necessarily literate. They didn't need to be, as 
    long as they could copy, and illustrate. That was what they were for. Still 
    less could they figure. Mostly, any numbers they copied down were a 
    mysterious closed-book to them, so transcription errors in any numbering 
    were rife.
    
    About 18� needs to be subtracted from the longitudes (from the Canaries) to 
    get Greenwich values.
    
    I've done no more than suggest a few place-names as possibilities, 
    expressing no view as to the likelihood of such a match.
    
    1 and 2, I would take to be Tangier and Ceuta, confirmed by their proximity.
    Similarly with 3 and 4, Cordova and Toledo.
    7, Sedes regis Francorum, "Seat of the King of the Franks". I would guess 
    that in 1140 that would be Paris, but the position given is nearer Lyon or 
    Geneva.
    8, is. Tule, or Thule, is traditionally taken to be Iceland, but that 
    position puts it nearer the Hebrides (which Thule might well always have 
    been...).
    9 and 10, Carthage and Tunis.
    11, Emerita, Armorique, in Brittany?
    15, 16, 17. I would take to be Mecca, Jeddah, Medina.
    21. Fargana. A mountain kingdom on the silk road, N of the Pamirs
    23. Chebil. Jebel just means mountain in Arabic, so could be anywhere.
    .26 will be the Hadramaut, the kingdom on the coast East of Aden to the 
    Persian Gulf.
    27 Sana'a, in the Yemen.
    29, If that was suposed to be Bukhara, on the silk road, it's a long way out 
    in longitude. The same name recurs, with a different position, at no. 56.
    39. Trabulus. Could it be Trabzon (Trabizond) on the silk road in Eastern 
    Turkey.
    40. Barca was the name of Cyrenaica, Libya.
    43. Eraclia. Could be Iraklion (Herakleon), in Crete.
    44. I agree with you, Urbs a Nubia = Khartoum
    48 Assuen = Aswan?
    53. Sur = Syria?
    54 Alconstantina. Could this be Constantinople?
    
    Quite a few of the locations seem to be on the Silk Road, and a riffle 
    through Marco Polo, a century later, for place-names, might be instructive. 
    Indeed, this is just the sort of document Polo might well have carried with 
    him as a sort of Baedeker, errors and all.
    
    George.
    
    contact George Huxtable, at  george{at}hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    
    
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