Marguerite Ragnow examines a Portolan chart

ManeyPublishing– May 2, 2011

Marguerite Ragnow is the Editor of Terrae Incognitae and curator at the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota, USA. The Bell Library has a large collection of rare books, maps and manuscripts that focus on trade and cross-cultural interaction before ca. 1800. In this video, Marguerite introduces one of the library’s Portolan charts. These are navigational maps made in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries which were based on realistic descriptions of harbours and coasts and which recorded the accumulated experience and wisdom of generations of Mediterranean seafarers. The chart in the video includes all of Europe, extending to the Black and Red seas in the east, and shows Antilia at the western extreme. It was made by a Genoese cartographer, Albini de Canepa, and he indicates the Genoese trading stations in the Black Sea area.

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