Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Some Turkish Cultural Contributions  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems


This page was originally devoted to Piri Reis.... this is why you'll find a lot of information on the Turkish Admiral's ground breaking first map of America, below. However, I came across bits and pieces of Turkish contributions to civilization that I wanted to quickly include here. These are factoids I came across arbitrarily during TAT's construction, and this page is certainly not meant to present a comprehensive listing. Having gone to American schools while growing up in America, there was ZERO coverage of the Ottoman Empire and other Turkish empires. (The only reference to Turkey I remember offhand in my American schooling was from a college English professor, who was Greek, venting about what rotten people the Turks were... for a few minutes.) So I am not an expert on Turkish achievements... however, while preparing this site, I've come across more than a few claims by maniacal Turcophobes (like Ambassador Henry "Holier-than-Thou" Morgenthau and equally virulent racist, U.S. Consul George Horton), stating the Turks were only good when it came to military conquest and somehow maintained their centuries-long empire by accident... since they were no good for anything else. Did it ever occur to these gentlemen the reason why people in the West believe the Turks haven't contributed to civilization is because the West has largely never cared to focus on Turkish history (except for periods of history where the Turks are made out to look villainous, as with the Armenian "Genocide")?

Perhaps there is a reason why the Middle Ages (Dark Age) came to an abrupt halt not long after Constantinople was
captured by the Turks in 1453, and the New Age
began... and the Rennaissance and Reform soon followed.



The Montgolfier brothers are often credited with the first manned balloon flight in Paris in 1783. However, almost one and a half centuries earlier, a Turkish scientist, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi (1609-1640), flew across the Bosphorous from the Galata tower to Uskudar (after being inspired by the Tenth Century Turkish scientist Ismail Cevheri, who plummeted to his death during a flying experiment). The Emperor Sultan Murad IV, among many onlookers, was delighted and personally congratulated Celebi. But religious leaders and palace advisers soon changed his mind. Celebi was sent into exile (in Algeria), a victim of religious closed-mindedness; the scientist died, broken-hearted, at the youthful age of 31. His contemporary, the great Galileo, was condemned to lifelong imprisonment (via house arrest) in 1633, found to have breached the conditions laid down by the Inquisition... also a victim of religious lunacy.



Ahmed Horezmi, who has an Arab-sounding name, was a Turkish citizen who moved to the newly-conquered Baghdad in 1517... and discovered the "digit" of zero... which, along with "ones," forms the basis of the computer you are reading this on.



“Kanunname-i Ihtisab-i Bursa (The Law of Bursa Municipality) was the first law about the standards. This law was imposed in the period of Sultan Bayezid II, in 1502. (Bayezid II was the sultan who saved the bulk of the Jews persecuted by the Spanish and Portugese Inquisitions, an act that contributed to Ottoman Jews being among the most loyal of citizens until the empire’s end.) In this law, animal products, fruits and vegetables, salt, bread, industrial products, textile products, forest products, and leather products were bounded to a standard and their prices were fixed.

Some of these standards are that:

Pastry: The pastries will be made with white flour and they will be half weight of a bread. Into a bushel of flour one okka (400 drachma) oil will be added.

Fruits: One okka of the green nuts will be sold for one coin. 200 drachma of the peeled ones will be sold for one coin. After their seasons will be passed, 125 drachma will be sold for one coin.

Vegetables: For fresh courgette no official price will be fixed for 3 days. After 3 days 3 okka will be sold for one coin. In the first week 4 okka, in the second week 5 okka, in the third week 6 okka, in the fourth week 8 okka will be sold for one coin.

Jewelers: Silver will be not under 80 standard. 1.5 drams of gold will be not under 60 coins.



Given as a gift to the French palace was big news, as Western nations were unfamiliar with the ticking and tocking. (Holdwater: Hmmmm. I'm not too ready to believe that one.)



Originally a Turkish invention called "kenef" or "hela"; centuries later, the French adopted the idea. (Holdwater: That one is much more believable, as cleanliness holds a high priority in the Moslem religion. However, what a claim to fame.... to be the inventor of the toilet.)



When Kara Mustafa Pasha came through Vienna, he was so sure that he would capture the city that he began to plan the parade resulting from the successful invasion. Polish King Jean Sobiesky arrived in the nick of time to dash the Pasha’s hopes... who left all belongings in front of the Vienna ramparts and retreated towards Belgrade with his army. King Sobiesky, savior of Vienna, took what was left behind. Along with the treasures taken from Topkapi Palace, sacks of coffee seeds were found. When the Austrians saw the coffee seeds they figured, “it seems that Turks eat goat feces” and decided to throw away the seeds. A Viennese man who lived in the Ottoman lands recognized the coffee seeds, informed the Europeans, and coffee in the Western world was born.



The Ottoman Mehter, founded in the 13th century, became the model for the world's marching bands. It once boosted the morale of Ottoman armies as they conquered vast lands from the Balkans to Africa, and it still thrills visitors to Istanbul's Military Museum.

The thud of giant war drums, over three feet across, blending with the blast of blunderbuss and cannon, frightened opponents on the battlefield and terrified the populace of Vienna, the Austrian empire's capital, during sieges in 1529 and 1683.

''After the second failed attempt . . . both the threat and the strength of the Ottoman Empire began to diminish and this allowed the Europeans to consider Turks from a different point of view,'' said Edward J. Hines, an American composer who has studied Turkish music. ``Oriental culture, which was always distant and feared, now became fashionable and popular.''

Mehter bands, accompanying Ottoman ambassadors to Europe, fascinated Westerners with their fiery-red robes, pulsating rhythms and the shrill clash of cymbals, drums and bells.

Cafes began serving Turkish coffee in Vienna, and Turkish dress became fashionable at social events.

''Vienna developed into a cultural center in the early 18th century and the fascination with Turkish culture worked its way into plays and operas,'' Hines said.

The harbinger of war became the music of the people.

Haydn wrote his Military Symphony, and Mozart composed the popular piano sonata Rondo Alla Turca under the influence of this music.

Mozart also employed Turkish instruments in the opera The Abduction From the Seraglio, while Beethoven used Mehter-style big drums in his Ninth Symphony.

Cymbals, timpani drums and bells left behind by the retreating Ottoman armies were modified and incorporated into symphonic orchestras, while several European armies set up military bands similar to the Mehter.

Even today the percussion departments of orchestras are occasionally called the "Turkish section.''

Excerpts from an AP article entitled, "Once-frightening Turkish bands now delight visitors," by Selcan Hacaoglu, Mar. 10, 2002, The Miami Herald



Dr. Reşat Hasan Sığındım diagnosed monocyter Leukaemia. Fellow graduates of the Imperial College of Medicine were Hulusi Behēet, Akil Muhtar, and Celal Muhtar, who reportedly made various other scientific discoveries.




This is certainly no "cultural contribution," just a fun little claim to fame. The Ottoman Navy was practically nonexistent by 1908, as the previous sultan was afraid keyed-up sailors might provide a revolutionary threat. However, when Greece bought a submarine, the Ottomans didn't want to be left behind; they ordered two, delivered in 1886. Trouble is, the British built subs wouldn't submerge. However, the submarines were able to fire torpedoes to target ships successfully. Thus the Ottoman Navy became the first Navy to fire a torpedo to a target from a submarine. After a few trial runs, the subs were left to rust, and it wouldn't be until 1914 when the Ottomans would order submarines again. (This time from France.) Once W.W.I broke out, France decided to keep the subs for herself. (Just like the British did with the ship mainly paid for by the Turkish peasantry.) However, in 1917, the Turks captured a French sub and finally there was a working submarine in the Ottoman Navy. Unfortunately, the only wartime use of this subservient sub was to charge the batteries of the German submarines.



Oldest Map of America
Work of Turkish Navigator

First Map of America in 1513 by Turkish Admiral, Piri Reis

Piri Reis mapMap of the Americas, compared to Piri Reis' version

The comparison of Piri Reis' 1513 map to the later-known atlas, marked by the
dates of discovery; many scholars remain amazed at the map's accuracy, and there is still one unsolved mystery: how did he know about Antarctica?


Curator, Islamic Art
Smithsonian Institution

The imperial libraries of the Topkapi Palace Museum house a wealth of manuscripts illustrated with over 14,000 paintings. Among the possessions of the Palace libraries is a unique map of the New World made by Pin Reis in 1513 at Gallipoli and presented to Sultan Selim I four years later in Egypt after the conquest of that region.

Piri Reis, a famous admiral in charge of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean fleets, is the author of a treatise on navigation entitled the Bahriye which also contains descriptions and drawings of the Mediterranean ports.

The map of Piri Reis is painted in polychrome colors on deer skin parchment. It is a fragment of a larger map of the known world which included the American, African, European and Asian continents, The surviving portion shows the Atlantic Ocean; coastal regions of North and South Americas are on the left while the African shore is opposite.

In the inscription on the lower left, Piri Reis states that before he drew this portion he studied the maps made by four Portuguese cartographers. He also obtained a first-hand account of the discoveries in the New World from a Spanish sailor who had sailed to the Americas with Christopher Columbus three times. Finally, he adds that he relied on the map made by Columbus for the names that appear on the coastal regions and the islands. Piri Reis has included the descriptions of these sites and added representations of unusual creatures which inhabited those areas.

Since the materials Piri Reis consuIted are no longer available, this is the earliest map of the Americas; it was made only nine years after the last voyage of Columbus, which took place in 1504. The original map was the first to show all the continents and oceans, indicating the remarkable knowledge of the author.
Dr. Esin Atil

Dr. Esin Atil


Holdwater adds: The author of the above is Dr. Esin Atil, who has written numerous books on Islamic art. The first time I became aware of the Turkish-American was when I first saw the only PBS program that approached objectivity, regarding Turks... ISLAM: EMPIRE OF FAITH. She handled herself in such an exceptionally elegant and charming manner, on the show.



The Piri Reis Map of 1513 is the first surviving map that shows the Americas (the Vinland map may be older but only shows a part of North America). The Piri Reis map shows North America, South America, Greenland and Antarctica which had not yet been discovered.

Piri Reis was a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet in the sixteenth century. His passion was cartography, he was always on the lookout for new maps and other such documents.š In 1513 a map had been commissioned him.

Piri Reis was high rank within the Turkish navy which allowed him to have a privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople. He was considered an expert on Mediterranean lands and coastlines, and he even wrote a famous sailing book called Kitabi Bahriye where he described all the details of coastlines, harbors, currents, shallows, bays and straits of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. He died in 1554 or 1555 being beheaded for unknown reasons.š

It is saidš that in a now-forgotten sea battle he met, among the prisoners, a sailor who claimed to have been sailing along with Columbus in his three journeys to the new world, and that he was one of his pilots. It turned out that Columbus had a map of the lands he was chasing, and that this map now was in the possession of that pilot.

The admiral Piri Reis got to put hands and eyes on the map; then in 1513 he compiled a world map based on that map and on the other antique charts from his collection - many of which had survived from the days of the Great Library of Alexandria.š

The map had drawn the attention of scholars in 1929 when it had been discovered in the archives of the Imperial Palace in Constantinople.

The map showed the outline of South America very accurately. This was surprising since Columbus had discovered the New World only 21 years earlier in 1492.

Notes made by Piri indicated he had based his map on earlier maps, including one consulted by Columbus before his famous voyage.

This excited the scholars since there had been rumors that there existed a pre-Columbian map of the New World. Piri's claim that he had possessed the "lost map" intrigued historians.

It wasn't the accuracy of the South American coastline that interested Mallery, though. It was what was shown at the very bottom of the map: a chunk of land that looked very much like Antarctica.

This was surprising since Antarctica had not been discovered until 1820.

Even more intriguing was a section of the coastline of this southern continent.

Part of it looked very much like the coast of Queen Maud Land which was a section of Antarctica.

The strange thing was that the coast of Queen Maud Land had been covered with a thick sheet of ice for many centuries and its shape was only known now to modern mapmakers through the use of modern seismographic equipment.

This made Mallory wonder if the Admiral had somehow owned maps that dated back before the ice sheet covered the coast and if the coast had been somehow surveyed from the air.

Most serious professional geographers, though, rejected Mallery's radical theory without even considering it carefully.

Professor Charles H. Hapgood, of Keene State College at the University of New Hampshire, did take an interest in the map and Mallory's thoughts. Professor Hapgood was known for his support of unorthodox theories.

With the help of some of his students, Hapgood did a careful examination of Piri's map and several other old maps and published a book on the subject called Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings.

The book suggests that at one time in the ancient past there was a world-wide civilization with advanced technology. Though this civilization was destroyed, some of its knowledge survived to wind up in the maps.

Later, an even more radical theory for Piri's map was advanced from writer Eric Von Daniken. Von Daniken, a supporter of the idea that aliens had visited Earth in the distant past, noted that the map resembled what might be seen from space if you took a picture of Earth from directly over Cairo, Egypt. He suggested that the map was the result of aerial photographs taken from an alien spaceship.

Critics of Hapgood and Von Daniken offer a more mundane explanation for the map. They start by pointing out that lots of maps from that era displayed a continent at the bottom of the Earth, though none had yet been found.

There was a general belief going back to the time of the Greeks that all the continents must have been connected at one time. This lead to the belief in a southern continent (Interestingly enough, they were correct.

The modern theory of plate tectonics supports the idea of single land mass in the very distant past).

The critics point out that the land mass shown on the map may have a similar coastline to that of Queen Maud Land, but the similarity is not unmistakable. What is on Piri's map, they argue, is just a lucky attempt to display an unknown, but suspected land. The similarity, say critics, is just coincidence.

They also point out that the map shows South America and Antarctica connected, which they have not been for many millions of years. Also information about weather conditions and animal life in Antarctica as found on the map is completely wrong.

Other experts speculate that though the first recorded sighting of land in the Antarctica was in 1820, there may have been earlier unreported voyages to the southern reaches.

Though this might not explain the coastline of Queen Maud Land on the Piri map, it might be the reason that there was such a strong belief in the existence of a southern continent.


From crystalinks.com/atlantisphyevidence.html


Click here for a large version of the map


"Piri Reis and the Hapgood Hypotheses"

in "Aramco World Magazine"

(Jan-Feb 1980)

by Paul F. Hoye with Paul Lunde

In 1929, scholars working in the archives of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey's Topkapi Palace Museum made an exciting discovery: a section of an early 16th-century Ottoman map based in part, apparently, on the original chart drawn or used by Christopher Columbus and showing his historic discoveries in the New World. The map, signed by an Ottoman captain named Piri Reis, was dated 1513, just 21 years after Columbus discovered America.

This find -- disclosed two years later in Holland by German Orientalist Paul Kahle -- astonished the 18th Congress of Orientalists. For if a notation on the map were true -- "The coasts and islands on this map are taken from Columbus's map" -- the Turkish map might finally settle a centuries-old debate: did Columbus know he had found a new world? Or did he die thinking he had found a new route to China?

As it turned out, the map did not settle the question. To the contrary, it has raised new and far more perplexing questions, and, in recent years, has sparked a rash of quasi-scientific and popular theories and hypotheses that attempt to answer those questions. Some of those theories, to be sure, verge on the ludicrous. But others, even when startling, have raised fascinating and sometimes disturbing possibilities.

Those developments, however, came later. In 1931, historians of cartography had quite enough to do trying to cope with the immediate questions posed by the discovery in Istanbul. Was the Piri Reis map authentic? If so, how did it get into the hands of Christian Spain's feared Muslim rivals? And just who, incidentally, was this Piri Reis?

According to subsequent research, the story of the Piri Reis map began in 1501, just nine years after Columbus discovered the New World, when Kemal Reis, a captain in the Ottoman fleet, captured seven ships off the coast of Spain, interrogated the crews and discovered that one man had sailed with Columbus on his great voyages of discovery. More important, in an age when maps were secret and maritime information invaluable, the sailor had in his possession a map of the New World drawn by Columbus himself. Kemal Reis seized the map, kept it and subsequently willed it to his nephew Piri Reis, also an Ottoman naval captain, and a cartographer.

In 1511, the story goes on, Piri Reis began to draw a new map of the world which was to incorporate all of the recent Spanish and Portuguese discoveries. To do so, he used about 20 source maps. Among them, he wrote, were eight maps of the world done in the time of Alexander the Great (the fourth century B.C.), an Arab map of India, four Portuguese maps of the Indian Ocean and China, and his uncle Kemal's bequest, "a map drawn by Columbus in the western region." He did not, however, say what the other six source maps were.

In Gallipoli, where he temporarily retired, Piri Reis reduced his source maps to a single scale -- a difficult task in those days -- and spent three years producing his map. When it was finished he added this inscription: "The author of this is the humble Piri Hajji Muhammad, known as the nephew of Kemal Reis, in the town of Gallipoli in the Holy Month of Muharram of the year 919 [A.D. 1513]."

This map, presented to Sultan Selim, seems to have helped the career of Piri Reis. He was made an admiral. But it was not Piri Reis' only contribution to cartography. In 1521 he also wrote a mariner's guide to the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean -- which was to interest the cartographers trying to authenticate the map found in Istanbul. Called "Kitab-i Bahriye" ("Book of the Mariner," or "The Naval Handbook"), this book contained an account of the discovery of America by Columbus that was virtually identical to a long inscription on the left hand side of the map found in the archives of Istanbul.

The map found in Istanbul, therefore, is authentic. Although research has never disclosed what the six unlisted sources were, or further identified the eight "done in the time of Alexander the Great," there is no doubt that one source was a map drawn or used by Christopher Columbus himself.

There is little doubt, either, that both Piri Reis' map and book were valuable to the Ottoman Empire. Focusing, as they both did, on discoveries by Spanish and Portuguese mariners, they probably alerted the sultan to the growing threat to Ottoman power posed by European exploration of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf.

Ironically, Piri Reis' book -- in which he urged Suleiman the Magnificent to drive the Portuguese out of the Red Sea and the Gulf -- also led to his death. Put in command of a fleet to drive the Portuguese out of the Gulf in 1551, he lost most of his ships and, although in his 80's, was executed. By 1929 both Piri Reis and his map had been virtually forgotten. Even then the enthusiasm aroused by the map was short. Once the initial excitement over the discovery had faded, relatively few historians of cartography, with the exception of Kahle, paid much attention to the map or tried seriously to determine exactly what it proved -- even with regard to Columbus. "Imago Mundi," for example, one of the more important journals devoted to the history of cartography, has never run a full-length article on the Piri Reis map.

In 1954, however, a Harvard-trained teacher of the history of science named Charles Hapgood assigned his class at Keene State College in New Hampshire to the task of examining the Piri Reis map more closely. Starting with little knowledge of the subject -- and, says Professor Hapgood emphatically, "no preconceived notions" -- he and his students eventually spent seven years on the project. During that time, Hapgood says, "we discarded hundreds of hypotheses" before arriving at those advanced in a book called "Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings."

Two years later those hypotheses became unexpectedly famous when they were incorporated in the controversial best-seller "Chariots of the Gods." Written by Erich von Daniken, "Chariots" went into at least 18 English editions and was translated into numerous other languages. Presented as fact, and written in a pseudo-scientific tone, "Chariots" described and briefly examined what the author called "the unsolved mysteries of the past."

Among the "unsolved mysteries," von Daniken said, was the appearance on the Piri Reis map of information that 16th-century cartographers could not possibly have known. Citing Hapgood, von Daniken said that the map showed the coast of Antarctica, not discovered for centuries afterward, and certain mountains in Antarctica that were not discovered until modern sonar made it possible to locate them beneath the ice cap.

For the author -- if not for his legions of critics -- it was obvious how Piri Reis got such information: astronauts from another planet had provided it on maps. The astronauts, he claimed, had made numerous appearances on earth before and during the period of recorded history, and left traces all over the world.

Despite inaccuracies in describing what in some cases are mysteries -- and in citing Hapgood -- and despite frequently debatable logic, "Chariots" sold millions of copies. It also persuaded thousands of readers -- brought up during a period of intense public interest in "flying saucers" and "UFO's" -- that its premises were valid. "Chariots," indeed, attracted such attention that BBC Television filmed and showed a two-part refutation of the book.

The BBC, moreover, was not alone; most serious observers scorned the book. Yet one of the points raised by Hapgood and quoted by von Daniken went stubbornly unanswered: how did Piri Reis know about Antarctica and its mountains in the 16th century, if, in fact, his map did show them?

One answer, in science-fiction form, was put forth by author Allan W. Eckert in a ponderous 1977 novel called "The Hab Theory" in which the Ottoman admiral's map was a focal point of the plot and in which other, apparently true, phenomena were described in great detail. Among them was the undeniable fact that mammoths - - extinct for 18,000 years -- were found in Siberia embedded in the permafrost, the frozen subsoil of Arctic and Antarctic regions.

According to Eckert, the mammoths were "quick-frozen" rather the way orange juice is today, thus explaining why the meat was still edible. Furthermore, some mammoths were found in an upright position with undigested grasses in their stomachs-- facts confirmed last July by a spokesman at the British Museum. The grasses, moreover, were tropical grasses. To Eckert, this suggested that Siberia was once a tropical region and that the shift in climate from tropic to arctic was very swift: in a matter of hours.

This occurred, "The Hab Theory" goes on, because every 6,000 years or so the polar regions accumulate so much ice that the earth begins to wobble on its axis. At a critical point the wobble becomes so bad that the earth capsizes, leaving the polar regions at the equator and the equatorial regions at the poles.

The earth's normal rotation them resumes until the new polar regions accumulate enough ice to cause another wobble and another cataclysm.

This process, the book continues, explains what characters in the book call scientific mysteries. One is that the ancient Berbers, in what is now the Sahara, left cave paintings showing people swimming and sailing in "a vast body of water." This, according to "The Hab Theory," was a sea created when the earth capsized and the polar ice cap, now close to the equator, melted, creating a large sea -- now reduced to today's Lake Chad.

Even for science fiction, it is a startling idea. Yet it is not entirely without a basis in fact. In the "New Scientist" issue of May 17, 1979, two professors from Cardiff and Oxford Universities in Britain were quoted as saying that the last ice age may have come quite swiftly and cited the mammoths in Siberia as proof. "Their excellent state of preservation is also evidence that they were quickly frozen after death," the article said.

Science fiction, of course, is as much fiction as science. Still, at the heart of "The Hab Theory" there were some ascertainable facts. The Piri Reis map does exist, there were mammoths preserved in Siberian permafrost, and cave painting so some sort have been found in the Sahara, though whether they show "vast seas" or not could not be determined. Even more to the point, there is a real Hab theory. In fact, according to Professor Hapgood, the real Hab theory--as distinct from Eckert's science-fiction treatment -- was what launched him on his first studies of Antarctic "mysteries" and led, in a curious chain of events, to the Piri Reis map.

The real Hab theory was first proposed by an engineer specializing in centrifugal force: the late Hugh Auchincloss Brown, whose initials are the same as the fictional proponent of Eckert's book. In a book called "Cataclysms of the Earth," Brown suggested what is basically the same theory presented in the novel: that massive accumulation of ice at the poles, especially the South Pole, caused the earth to wobble on its axis and then, about every 7,000 years, to "careen." Like the novel, it has some basis in fact. A spokesman at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England--who says "careening" is impossible -- confirmed last month that the ice does accumulate at the South Pole in massive quantities: 2,000 billion tons a year, enough to build a wall 10 inches thick and half a mile high from New York to California.

For Charles Hapgood in New Hampshire, Brown's theory was fascinating. "I spent about 10 years looking into it," he said in a recent interview, "until mathematical calculations proved it impossible." But as his research had raised certain questions in his own mind, Hapgood continued to work on the subject and eventually came up with his own theory, which he outlined in "Earth's Shifting Crust" (Pantheon Books, New York, 1958).

Essentially, he said, the earth's crust "slips" over its core, thus periodically changing the positions of the poles. Aware that ideas that deviate from traditional scientific beliefs get short shrift in the scientific community -- as did, for instance, Wegener's theory of continental drift, now widely accepted -- Hapgood took the precaution of submitting his manuscript to a scientist whose views were generally thought to be acceptable: Albert Einstein. Though neither cartographer nor geographer, Einstein read the manuscript, agreed to write the introduction and said Hapgood's ideas "electrified" him. He also said that if Hapgood's theory "continued to prove itself", it would be "of great importance to everything that is related to the history of the earth's surface."

Meanwhile, Hapgood had heard of the Piri Reis map. A U.S. Navy cartographer, engineer and ancient-map specialist--Captain Arlington H. Mallery -- had come across a copy of the map, studied it and said publicly that the map seemed to show Antarctica -- unknown at the time the map was drawn -- and that, furthermore, the coast seemed to have been mapped at a time when it was free of ice, an apparent impossibility. Furthermore, Mallery's opinions had been endorsed by the directors of the astronomical observatories at Boston College and Georgetown University, Daniel Linehan and Francis Heyden.

To Hapgood, already caught up in the subject of Antarctica, the questions raised by Mallery and the Piri Reis map were an irresistible challenge. As Antarctica was not discovered until 1820 -- 307 years after Piri Reis drew his map -- how could Piri Reis possibly have included Antarctica -- if he did? And, since Antarctica had, presumably, been covered with ice for millennia, why would he have shown it without ice? And why does the notation on the map read as follows: "There is no trace of cultivation in this country. Everything is desolate, and big snakes are said to be there. For this reason the Portuguese did not land on these shores, which are said to be very hot"?

Hapgood thought that investigation of these ideas would be an interesting challenge for his students. Accordingly, he presented it to them as a class project and began to work with them himself.

As the investigation began, Hapgood and his students immediately came across several puzzling facts. One was that, on the Piri Reis map, the mountains in the western region of what is obviously South America seemed to be the Andes. But since Magellan did not find a way around the continent, through the strait named after him, until 1520 -- seven years after the map was finished -- and since Pizarro did not sight the Andes until 1527 -- 14 years afterwards--how could Piri Reis have known about the Andes? The answer, obviously, was that one of Piri Reis' 20-odd source maps must have shown them.

But which map? Hapgood concluded it was probably one of the eight maps of the world done in the time of Alexander the Great, or one of the six other "unknown" maps--which meant someone had not only known of the Americas, but had mapped them at least 1,700 years before Columbus.

It was possible, of course, that the mountains were not -- and were not supposed to be -- the Andes at all. Still, the map did show them roughly in the right place, and included a drawing of a creature that Kahle had tentatively identified as a llama. As the llama is exclusive to the Andes and was not known in Europe in 1513, when Piri Reis finished his map, Hapgood concluded that the mountains were indeed the Andes.

As the study went on, the Hapgood team noticed, toward the south, what looked very much like the Falkland Islands -- even though the Falklands were not discovered until 1592 -- and reasoned that if they were the Falklands, the land south of them would almost surely be the coast of Queen Maud Land -- Antarctica -- not discovered until more than three centuries after the Piri Reis map.

As it was this feature that had fascinated Hapgood originally, his team made a particularly careful comparison of "Antarctica" on the Piri Reis map with Antarctica on a modern globe. They concluded that there was "a striking similarity" between the Piri Reis coastline and the Queen Maud Land coast. Later, after a series of complicated calculations, they also came to believe that the Piri Reis map, in that area, was accurate to within 20 miles.

In what was a vital aspect of the developing hypotheses, they also concluded that Mallery's "mountains"--the mountains not discovered until this century -- were, on the Piri Reis map, the small cluster of islands shown at the bottom toward the right. According to Hapgood, the "heavy shading of some of the islands" was, in 16th-century map-making techniques, an indication of mountainous terrain. In addition, he said, a seismic profile made by a Norwegian-British-Swedish expedition in 1949 disclosed a range of undersea mountains. Some of these, the Hapgood team concluded, would emerge from the sea as islands if there were no ice cap--another indication that Antarctica had really been explored and mapped earlier, at a time when no ice cap existed.

By then, of course, Hapgood and his students were captivated by the mystery of the map. They proceeded cautiously, however, because they knew that many cartographers in ancient times vaguely believed in the existence of a landmass in the southern regions and, with or without evidence, might have added something to their charts out of blind faith -- or even out of a preference for esthetic balance.

From greatdreams.com/magellan/magellan.htm



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