Enterline, James Robert [en] - Erikson, Eskimos & Columbus. Medieval European Knowledge of America

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Until now historians have almost universally believed that Columbuss encounter with America was completely accidental.Those who ventured to think otherwise assumed that any prior knowledge he might have held about America would have sprung from Leif Eriksons contact with Vinland. New evidence presented here suggests instead that Eskimo geographical information about a wider America made its way through the Greenland Norsemen into medieval European world maps. In Europe such continental foreknowledge was not immediately correctly perceived, but it gradually drew Europes attention westward and may have contributed to the birth of the Age of Discovery. This admittedly radical-sounding idea has grown step by step out of developments in recent decades.


<ul><li><p>, </p><p>&amp; </p></li><li><p>Published in cooperation with the Center for American Places,Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Harrisonburg, Virginia</p></li><li><p>, &amp;</p><p>Medieval European</p><p>Knowledge of America</p><p> Baltimore &amp; London</p></li><li><p>Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataEnterline, James Robert.</p><p>Erikson, Eskimos, and Columbus : medieval European knowledge ofAmerica / James Robert Enterline.</p><p>p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.</p><p>ISBN ---X. AmericaDiscovery and explorationNorse. . Geography,</p><p>MedievalMaps. . Early maps. . Historical geographyMaps.. Nautical chartsHistory. . VikingsNorth</p><p>AmericaHistory. I. Title.E .E .dc</p><p>-</p><p>A catalog record for this book is available from the British Library.</p><p> James Robert EnterlineAll rights reserved. Published </p><p>Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper </p><p>The Johns Hopkins University Press North Charles Street</p><p>Baltimore, Maryland -www.press.jhu.edu</p></li><li><p>To my beloved wife, Esther</p></li><li><p>List of Illustrations ixDirectory to the Chronological Survey xiiiPreface and Acknowledgments xvii</p><p>Front Map </p><p>. Introduction </p><p>I. Outstanding Misunderstandings</p><p>. Claudius Clavus </p><p>. The Inventio Fortunatae and Martin Behaim </p><p>. The Yale Vinland Map </p><p>II. The Chronological Survey</p><p>. Introduction to the Chronological Survey </p><p>. </p><p>. Early Scandinavian Geography </p><p>. Communication Links with Greenland </p><p>. The Unseen Bridge </p></li><li><p>. </p><p>. Late Greenland-Based Exploration </p><p>. Foundations of European Misunderstandings </p><p>. News Penetrates the Establishment </p><p>. Europes Westward Awakening </p><p>. Mastery of the Atlantic </p><p>. </p><p>. A New Continent Emerges </p><p>. An Old Continent Emerges </p><p>. The Misunderstandings Are Resolved </p><p>. Conclusion </p><p>Appendix: The Vinland Maps Ink Notes Selected Bibliography Facsimile Atlases and Reproductions Index </p></li><li><p>Front map North polar map . Native Eskimo map of Southampton Island and aerial survey map . Seward Peninsula, Kotzebue Sound area, Alaska . Seward Peninsula and Claudius Clavuss map</p><p>of Scandinavia . Sideways view of Foxe Basin and Southampton Island area . Canadian Arctic coast and Arctic Archipelago . Transformation of Vinland Map with Greenland scale corrected . Outline map of Bafn Island, west of Greenland . Hypothetical regional maps of Bafn Island . Incorrect placement of accurate regional maps to simulate</p><p>Vinilanda Insula . Geographic north compared with current magnetic north . World map of Claudius Ptolemy, .. . Anglo-Saxon Map, ca. .. . Reconstruction of Adam of Bremens conceptions, .. . Misattribution to Heinrich of Mainz, early s . Views of Eid pass from Greenland cathedral ruin . Svartenhuk neighborhood of Greenland . Psalter Map, ca. . Hereford map northwest region closeup, . Mariners chart by Giovanni Carignano, ca. . Scandinavia by Petrus Vesconte, . Vescontes map in Sanudos book, Oxford MS, ca. . Vescontes (or Paulinos) map in Sanudos book, Paris MS,</p><p>ca. </p></li><li><p>. The Northwest by Angelino Dalorto, . Norse runestone found in cairn on island of Kingigtorssuaq . Medici (Laurentian) marine chart, . Catalan map fragment in Istanbul, ca. . Pierre DAillys Seventh Figure, . Albertin de Virgas world map . Detail of Figure . Two world maps by Duminicus Ducier, , and a</p><p> annotation . North Atlantic nautical chart, . Claudius Clavuss map of the North . Reconstruction from the Vienna-Klosterneuburg coordinate table</p><p>Cosmography of Climates, . Reconstruction from the Vienna-Klosterneuburg coordinate table</p><p>New Cosmography, . Circular world map by Andrea Bianco, , to accompany</p><p>sailing charts . Vinland Map at Yale University, ca. . World map by Andrea Walsperger, . Vienna-Klosterneuburg Schyfkarte, before . Catalan map in Florence, northern portion, . Catalan map in Modena, ca. . Genoese map in Florence, . Detail of disk-style world map by Fra Mauro, . Nicholaus Germanuss map of the North in the Zamoiski Codex,</p><p>ca. . Detail of Europe from Nicholaus Germanuss world of</p><p>ca. . Scandinavia by Henricus Martellus, ca. . Northwest Europe by Henricus Martellus, ca. . World map by Nicholaus Germanus in Ulm Ptolemy, . Reconstruction of Martin Behaims globe, . Sketch map by Bartholomew Columbus, . Juan de la Cosas world map . Cantino map, . Giovanni Contarinis planisphere, . Old World hemisphere by Martin Waldseemller, . Johann Ruyschs planisphere, . Chart known as Kunstmann III, ca. </p></li><li><p>. World map from the Strassburg Ptolemy, . Gored map of Northern Hemisphere by Johann Schner, . Western Hemisphere from Johann Schners globe of . Sketch showing Great Arctic Strait, ca. . Western Hemisphere from Johann Schners globe of . Double cordiform planisphere by Orontius Finaeus, . Western Hemisphere from Paris Gilt Globe, . Stuttgart gores, s . Cordiform planisphere by Orontius Finaeus, . Scandinavia by Jacob Ziegler, . Scandinavia by Olaus Magnus, . The North by Nicolo Zeno, . North Pole and Greenland-Grocland area, Gerard Mercator, . Abraham Orteliuss map of Tartary, . Greenland and Vinland by Sigurdur Stefnsson, . Vinland by Hans Poulson Resen, . Mappamonde attributed to Christopher Columbus, ca. </p></li><li><p>Before Ptolemys Geographia Fortunate Isles Icelandic settlement Ibn Khorddhbeh Ottar of Norway Greenland-Vinland voyages Anglo-Saxon map Adam of Bremen Eric Gnupsson Icelandic Geography </p><p> Saxo Grammaticus Heinrich (not) of Mainz Ibn Said Kings Mirror Saga writing Historia Norwegiae Haldor/Arnold letter Psalter Map Hereford Map Nyaland and Duneyar Geographia Universalis Greenland trade Marco Polo </p><p> Rymbegla Carignano Vesconte/Sanudo/Paolino </p></li><li><p>Dalorto-Dulcert Kingigtorssuaq stone Gisle Oddsson Ivar Baardsson Markland voyage Medici atlas Inventio Fortunatae Zeno and Estotiland Catalan map in Istanbul Bjrn Einarsson Zenos Greenland </p><p> First Latin Ptolemy Pierre dAilly Albertin de Virga Pirate attack Duminicus Ducier North Atlantic chart Claudius Clavus Vienna-Klosterneuburg maps Andrea Bianco Vinland map at Yale La Sales Salade Andrea Walsperger Vienna-Klosterneuburg chart </p><p> Catalan map in Florence Catalan map in Modena Gunnbjrns Skerries Genoese map in Florence Fra Mauro Scolvus, Pining, and Pothurst Paolo Toscanelli Germanus and Martellus Columbus in Iceland Thloyd and Brasil Bergen-Greenland sailors Ferdinand van Olmen </p><p> Bristol voyages continue Bishop M. Knutsson Martin Behaims globe </p></li><li><p>Columbus in the Caribbean Hieronymus Mntzers letter Encounters with America </p><p> Juan de la Cosa Piri Reiss informer Azorean explorations Cantino map Giovanni Contarini Martin Waldseemller Johann Ruysch Sebastian Cabot voyage Kunstmann III map Strassburg Ptolemy Early Johann Schner Magellan and Schner-Finaeus series Ziegler and Magnus Nicolo Zeno the younger Gerard Mercator Abraham Ortelius Icelandic Vinland maps </p></li><li><p> thatColumbuss encounter with America was completely accidental.Those whoventured to think otherwise assumed that any prior knowledge he mighthave held about America would have sprung from Leif Eriksons contactwith Vinland. New evidence presented here suggests instead that Eskimogeographical information about a wider America made its way through theGreenland Norsemen into medieval European world maps. In Europe suchcontinental foreknowledge was not immediately correctly perceived, but itgradually drew Europes attention westward and may have contributed to thebirth of the Age of Discovery. This admittedly radical-sounding idea hasgrown step by step out of developments in recent decades.</p><p>On the eve of Columbus Day , Yale University announced the ac-quisition of its now famous but controversial Vinland map, presumed at thattime to depict Norse America in Canada. Yales press release called it thecartographic nd of the century, and the map engendered two parallel dis-putes. The lay world saw it as an attack on a long-honored hero, Columbus.The scholarly world saw it as a completely anomalous document that thrustnew problems into many branches of the study of history. Those disputeswere not resolved when Yale announced tests in showing that the mapsink appeared to contain twentieth-century pigments.The lay worlds uneaseregarding its hero continues regardless of that maps authenticity, for there isother evidence establishing beyond any doubt that the Norsemen did en-counter North America.While to some people, forgery seemed the obviousexplanation and offered resolution of the scholarly dispute, that was not theonly possible conclusion from the ink tests. This author in postulated anatural scenario for the maps contemporary history that gave an innocent</p></li><li><p>explanation of every known detail of the maps ink, based on modern pig-ment contamination, and reinstated a case for the maps credibility. Other re-searchers, in the s, came to similar conclusions, minimizing the impor-tance of the anachronistic ink pigments. Still others showed that the pigmentsmight not be anachronistic at all, that they could appear in nature with theobserved parameters. In Yale republished the map, the new press releasestating that it stands once again vindicated. Controversy nevertheless con-tinues on many fronts.</p><p>Even before the ink controversy, I was working at a resolution of thosedisputes, entertaining a possibility that the map could preserve genuine in-formation. However, if genuine it probably represents something other thanthe Canadian seaboard and something other than Leif Eriksons landfall. Iwill introduce evidence here to support that possibility. In answer to thescholarly problem of anomaly, I introduce evidence that the Yale VinlandMap is potentially just one member of a large group of pre-Columbian mapsall apparently recording Norse contact with America or native Americans.But the Norsemen didnt know they knew about America. In dozens of OldWorld maps the Arctic coast of Eurasia shows rich though incorrect detail;Europeans had never been to Arctic Eurasia, nor had they any cartographicknowledge of it. In the past, scholars have explained away these coastlines asfantasies. It occurred to me that many of these details do correspond exactlyto features on the Arctic coast of North America instead of Eurasia.</p><p>Cartographic correspondence has been discredited by its misuse in someresearch that reached sensational, implausible conclusions. My approach hasbeen more rigorous, conservative, and plausible. The cartographic examplesto be shown are not cryptic but very clear when viewed in the appropriateframework. Post-Columbian maps that contain apparently fanciful coastlineshave been increasingly understood by careful historical analysis, and I will dothe same for pre-Columbian ones. In addition to the maps, I have sought toidentify numerous travelers itineraries and geographical descriptions of pre-Columbian America, all providing mutual corroboration. While the YaleVinland Map suffered for several decades from its uncertain origins, theseother documents are of unquestioned provenance and have been cataloguedin world-class libraries for centuries. However, historians seem to have over-looked or misunderstood them because, as I will suggest, the maps apparentlyincorporate a previously unrecognized geographical distortion that wasunique to the pre-Columbian mind. That systematic distortion resultingfrom the misidentication of continents is analyzed herein.The thesis is elab-</p></li><li><p>orated in a chronological survey of geographical materials extending fromthe Norse Late Middle ages down through the post-Columbian Renaissance.</p><p>Did Columbus see these documents? Perhaps or perhaps not, but his con-ceptions of land in the west were inspired by scholars of the generations pre-ceding his, who did see them. There is a way that rufed feathers in the layworld may still be smoothed: I make an effort to see Columbus as more of arationally motivated, carefully researching proto-scientist than the way his bi-ographers have described himstrictly a luck-blessed, illogically motivatedadventurer.</p><p>This work is the promised companion volume to my earlier book, VikingAmerica. Neither is a prerequisite to the other, and each is written to be read-able by itself. Nevertheless, issues ancillary to one are taken up in the other.(A few specic matters in the earlier book are reconsidered in the presentone, as will become evident.) The prefatory comments made in Viking Amer-ica apply here also. The polar map on the endpapers of that volume is re-peated here at the beginning of the text. I refer to it throughout as the frontmap and recommend consulting it whenever the discussion enters unfa-miliar regions. The more detailed local maps in Figures , , and shouldalso be noted.</p><p>This is not a history book, at least not in the strict sense of the usual de-ductive methodology of history from written texts. It is a prehistory bookthat subjects maps and documents, as artifacts, to the inductive methods ofarchaeology. It is based on the belief that reliable knowledge of the past canbe culled from this artifactual record even if it is not spelled out in words.This work falls into place as part of the newly emerging cognitive archae-ology. I will not enter into any controversy between new and past schoolsbut will dip into both. In examining how information about America couldhave reached southern Europe, I have focused on the circumstances of thevarious documents creation and the lives of their creators. Known histori-cal details will be augmented at times by scenarios grounded in a structural-ists view of human nature. Interdisciplinary support ranging from psychol-ogy to physics will be brought to bear. However, the story so constructed isnot held out as proven truth. Instead it is a plausible theory to be tested againstindependent evidence. The day-to-day purpose of science is not the estab-lishment of universal, nal explanations but the proposal of testable theoriesthat can serve as stepping stones to still better theories. Nevertheless, themore nearly universal a hypothesis, the more testable it becomes and themore potential it has for spawning still further insights. The conclusions</p></li><li><p>reached here are thus a part of the sciences, subject to adjustment by new ev-idence or even to being overthrownor strengthened.</p><p>This book, as well as being divided into chapters, is also structured in twoparts. The second part is a wide-ranging chronological survey of documen-tary evidence, namely, the scores of documents supporting the theory thatNorse contacts in America had European repercussions.The attention to in-dividual documents there is necessarily limited. Part I examines in greaterdetail a smaller number of documents. A casual reader might, after complet-ing Part I, wish to read just the chapter summaries and the Conclusion.</p><p> in the research for this book deserves to be ac-knowledged. Obviously, none of these acknowledgments implies any of theseindividuals acceptance of the works validity, which may or may not be ex-pressed independently. David Woodward read the full manuscript twice inwidely separated versions, giving many useful suggestions and critiques. Ear-lier versions were also critiqued by Benjamin Olshin and the late VincentCassidy. Subtopics in Eskimo archaeology received...</p></li></ul>