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VMs: Re: f68v3 ("Andromeda") and it's T-O map...?
> [Nick Pelling:] Another quick thought: it's apparent (to my
> eyes, at least) that f68v3 has something suspiciously like a T-O
> map right in the centre of it.
Yes, it is hard not to agree; especially since this diagram looks like
a cosmological model.
> I find it hard to look at that page and not think of the T-O map
> representing the earth, and the Wolkenband representing the Milky Way, with
> a linear sequence of stars strung out along the ecliptic - like 22 pearls
> on a necklace.
The surrounding dotted area (which is blue in the Yale color images)
could be the sky, except that its boundary looks more like the edge of
a pool. Also the spiral arms look like four roads with bridges over
the pool, alternating with four water channels that feed into (or draw
from) the pool.
I believe that the realization that spiral galaxies are assemblages of stars
is quite modern (18th century?); and the idea of the Earth being *within*
such a galaxy is newer still. If that is what f68v3 shows, then
move over, Vinland Map...
Another candidate for T-O map is f86v3, the "garden of eden", where
the T-O map is obviously incomplete. Is it an unfinished sketch? A scribal
mistake? A palimpsest? Or a chance survival of a more complex figure,
which has faded away?
(The image I have, which is probably derived from the Marshall Library
photocopy, is overexposed and makes the T-O seem quite conspicuous.
However, Glen once posted another image of that page, which shows that
large parts of the illustration have faded almost to invisibility, and
that the "T-O map" itself is only a faint trace. Therefore, I cannot
rule out any of the alternatives above. This page, by the way, is a
panel of the big fold-out, which is a quire by itself; and in fact
f86v3 is the panel which would be the "back cover" of that quire, when
it was completely folded. Thus it is understandable that it has
suffered a lot more wear than the rest of the VMS.)
A third candidate is the small circle at the top right corner of
f86r6, the nine-rosette diagram. The style of this T-O map
resembles that of the small circle at the lower left corner of the same diagram
(f65v1), which however lacks the "T" division.
T-O maps were discussed in this list some years ago. One problem with
the first two candidates is that the orientation of the T is unusual.
The third one has the proper orientation but its regions seem to be
labeled with constellations rather than words.
> However, while I've seen numerous medieval T-O maps, I'm not aware of any
> tradition of other maps or diagrams *containing T-O maps within them*. Are
> there any?
I recall seeing several examples of T-O maps which were embedded in larger
illustrations --- not *maps*, though.
By the way, one possible explanation for the nine-rosette diagram is
the map of some imaginary archipelago, located far away from the known
world across the Atlantic ocean --- possibly based on the legends of
Atlantis, Terra Australis, or St. Brendan's Island ("Hy Brazil" in
gaelic!), or on vague news about America.
According to a 10th century version of the story, at one point St. Brendan and
his monks sailed past an island without trees, all covered with stones
and slag, inhabited by giand blacksmiths. Upon seeing the boat, the
giants threw at it bucketfuls of red-hot molten something, which fortunately
missed the boat and fell hissing into the water. The sea around the
island started boiling violently, and as the monks sailed away they
could still hear the blacksmiths' roar, and smell their terrible stench,
well after the island disappearead from sight. Now this
island, which some scholars identify with Iceland, could be
an explanation for the upper right rosette, the "volcano" ---
which happens to lie between the "known world" and the archipelago.
Just before the "blacksmith's island", the monks went through an
stretch of exceedingly transparent water, in the midst of which was a
huge white square column --- 1400 cubits wide, with its top "outside
the atmosphere". The column was supporting a gigantic "mosquito net",
made of a silvery substance, as hard as marble, which surrounded the
tower and reached down to the water at about one mile from it. The
meshes of the net were large enough for Brendan's ship to sail
through. As they sailed around the tower, they could feel the heat of
the Sun radiating through it (or from inside it?). They sailed around
the tower, but saw no opening --- except for a niche that contained
a cup made from the tower's material, and a bowl made from the
net's material, which they assumed was a "gift of God".
I wonder whether any other rosette in the diagram can be matched
to this episode?
This is a pointer to several versions (latin, italian, tuscan, and
venetian) of the Navigatio Sancti Brendani:
There seems to be lots of sites about St Brendan, surely there
is an English translation somewhere...
All the best,