Thursday, February 16, 2017

Inspiration



The Dream Atlas was inspired by the 14th century Catalan Atlas.  Attributed to master mapmaker Cresques Abraham of the Majorcan Cartographic School, the Catalan Atlas was part map of the world, part travelers guide and contains information on cities from Scandinavia to China.  This is also the first map to include a compass rose, a feature still used on maps today.

The map currently resides in the Biblioth√®que Nationale de France, but you can see a copy of it here.  There is also a project underway to translate the Catalan text to English and it is worth the time to read the notes.    Some of them are mundane and could apply today such as, "This region of Norway is very rugged, very cold, mountainous, wild and covered with forests. Its inhabitants eat more fish and meat than bread; there is no abundance of barley because the reigning cold. There are also many beasts, like deers, white bears and gyrfalcons" while other descriptions are more fanciful such as "In the Indian Ocean where they are fishermen and very rich islands. The fishermen that descend into the sea say their incantations before diving into the sea and this way they dispel the fish. In the event that they do not say them, the fish devour them and this has been demonstrated. "

This project was also sustained by seasons 1-8 of Scrubs and many repeats of the Hamilton soundtrack.

Catalan Atlas Map Segment - Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=321402.