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    Re: Portuguese shipwreck question
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2009 Nov 3, 13:31 -0500

     Mind you, I'm far from an expert in history.   Only two months ago, I thought Pliny was an unimpeachable source and revered anyone who quoted Pliny.   Now I'm a lot more circumspect.

    From reading the article, I have the impression that these tables were mostly useful for astrology.   I don't know much about astrology either, so I got a "baby's first book" on astrology.    Evidently natal astrology is a big deal - the orientation of the stars and planets relative to your horizon, zenith, nadir etc at your birth time/date/location.   This required information about the longitude and latitude of where you were born.   So, for a practicing astrologer, it seems like a table of latitudes and longitudes of places where people might have been born (e.g. cities) would be a reasonable catalog under the circumstances.  

    I tried finding some online maps from that period and there weren't a huge number available.   I recall there's a map in the Hereford Cathedral that has the Garden of Eden at the top and Jerusalem at the center - dating from the 14th century.     In plotting these points on my grid, I was impressed that I could find a reasonable outline of some areas.   There are some locations that seem to be in Turkmenestan that would be located in the Indian Ocean on the other hand.

    Perhaps there are some Arabic maps from that period - although the one or two I saw were also lacking in detail.

    John H.

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