- Sep 21, 2003
According to Gavin Menzies' book (title: 1421).Th(omas): The Chinese had discovered longitude in 1421? That I hadn't found out yet - I will look into it, but it sounds fascinating.
Very contraversial discussions about the book. I for one, find it absolutely fascinating, and believe a whole load of it. When writing about it in OT, however, EVERYBODY who posted in the thread was against it, giving quotes of reviews that didn't exactly praise the book.
Anyway, I believe it, and intend to use it in the Order whatever others say. I recommend you read the book, though, it is fascinating.
Summary of what you could use in your AAR:
-Chinese had already discovered a means of using Polaris (North Star) to calculate latitude above the equator. They later found Canopus as the latitude-star in southern hemisphere.
However, longitude was a problem, another reason for their circumnavigation. This is why some of the maps derived from the trip show the Cape of good Hope thinner than it is, and other such longitudal errors due to ocean currents. I can't put my finger on when or how, because this i seem to have forgotten, but here is an excerpt from the book explaining how Portugal got the maps from China.
quote from the book:
The punishment for stealing maps after this was deaht. You can thereby imagine the preoccupation for Portugal to protect its maps from the eyes of others.In 1416, Prince (Dom) Pedro, Henry's [the Navigator] elder brother, 'seized with the desire to gain enlightenment by travel through the principal countries of Europe and Western Asia', had set off on an odyssey to garner every possible piece of information about the world beyond the Mediterranean. King John had invested a substantial sum in Florentine bonds to cover his son's travelling expenses, and the King of Spain had provided him with a retinue of servants, translators and scholars. He travelled through Spain, Palestine, the Holy Land, the Ottoman Empire - 'the Grand Sultan of Babylon' - Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, Hungary, Denmark, England, and Venice, and 'at the end of twelve years' travel Dom Pedro returned in 1428 to Portugal'. [page 394, 1421, Bantana Books]
I'll let you get on with the AAR, seeing as I've already written way too much for a comment