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Old 11-07-2020, 02:46 PM
precessed (John welch)
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Southern Cross

Hullo from a newbie

I'm interested in medieval history and am looking for any unexpected ideas as leads for inquiry. Ptolemy in 2nd century drew the Southern Cross as the rear feet of Centaur and pointers as front feet. At latitude 30deg N the Crux was not of great magnitude and with precession went south from Alexandria Egypt about 5-8 deg by 1300. In 1304-1321 the poet Dante wrote "Divine Comedy" about a boat going to hell in Antarctica. He was an ambassador to Venice which imported Indonesian spice through Alexandria and in those days Java had 300ft ships ( James Cook crossed the Antarctic Circle in a 110ft ship) and Indonesia traded with Madagascar Africa from 8th cent. Europeans didn't reach Java until 1505 so Dante possibly learned about Antarctica 2 centuries earlier from Arabs in Egypt who had sailed to Indonesia.

Ptolemy's faint Crux became Dante's "flames of heaven" :Goder pareva ’l ciel di lor fiammelle: oh settentrional vedovo sito, poi che privato se’ di mirar quelle! (Purg. 1.22-27)."Heaven appeared to revel in their flames: o northern hemisphere, because you were denied that sight, you are a widower!"This must be from a later date when someone travelled to the Tropics. Maybe Arabs or Marco Polo saw the Cross as a full constellation . However Dante wrote Tutte le stelle già de l ' altro polo vedea la notte , e'l nostro tanto basso, che non surgëa fuor del marin suolo. "night showed stars of the other pole and ours was so low it didn't rise above the sea." (Inferno 26).

Polaris was visible about lat. 16deg S in Ptolemy's day , the centre of Madagascar and visible about 6deg S in Dante's time. Kochab was near polar and is about 16 degrees today.


Dante also wrote of the empty southern seas and a boat reaching a mountain at the south pole , which contrasts with the Arctic pole. A question is : at low elevations is the Cross so dim that it does not have the visual strength to be called a constellation? Would Polaris be invisible south from lat. 6deg S in 1300? Do you have comments on other aspects which I could follow up?

Last edited by precessed; 11-07-2020 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 11-07-2020, 02:51 PM
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Download Cartes du Ciel or Stellarium and you will be able to see for yourself :-)
BTW, welcome to this forum!
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Old 11-07-2020, 08:03 PM
precessed (John welch)
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Thanks , they both seem to be current and local sky charts. Do they have a historical function to the year 1300 , in the tropics?
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Old 11-07-2020, 08:31 PM
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Yes. You can set time and place ~2000 years +/-, they are fairly accurate even for planets.
Attached is Polaris region at year 1300
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Old 12-07-2020, 09:49 AM
precessed (John welch)
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Appreciate that. Then Polaris was around 4degrees off so probably visible at 4deg S of equator?
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Old 12-07-2020, 09:52 AM
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exactly.
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Old 12-07-2020, 10:33 AM
precessed (John welch)
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The first known European to reach Indonesia arrived in 1505.It seems Indonesians discovered the west Antarctic peninsula with a 4hr day in June but longer than 4 hr further north. It was not possible to travel further south in June.

"Ludovico di Varthema (1470-1517), in The travels of Ludovico di Varthema, stated that the Southern Javanese people sailed to "far Southern lands" up to the point they arrived at an island where a day only lasted four hours long and was "colder than in any part of the world"."
."mapping science was developed to the point that the Portuguese considered the Javanese maps were the best in the early 1500s."


The 4 hour day and Southern Cross are described here , click on pages 249-251:
https://archive.org/details/travelso...e/249/mode/2up

Jones, John Winter (1863).. The travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India, and Ethiopia, A.D. 1503 to 1508. Hakluyt Society.
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Old 17-07-2020, 08:58 PM
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The concept of Antarctica was widely spread throughout the world long before any land was discovered at that lattitude and the word gained currency. It was reasoned that there must land in all that water. So not surprising Dante or Ludivico included references to an unknown place to balance the Arctic daylight hours.
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Old 18-07-2020, 06:28 PM
precessed (John welch)
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Dante said the sea was without people until he reached the polar mountain. That's the opposite of the Arctic and not readily predictable. Cook searched for the southern land when Dante could have saved him the expense. If Javanese sailed to their settlement in Madagascar , went to South America and followed the coast , they would reach west Antarctic peninsula. The first Australians at Macquarie Island found a ship wreck of "ancient design". Perhaps Javanese circumnavigated around Oz.
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Old 18-07-2020, 09:25 PM
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Of course it is possible. Many things achieved by past civilisations in their prime are possible. My point was that European texts of that era are not a guide to where the Javanese may have travelled. They certainly spent a lot of time in Australia and and that is well known. The early whalers were on South Georgia under sail.

I once completed a six month university research project on the history of human activity in the Antarctic and the science there. Most of the first sailers in the region were terrified and many froze in the ice covered rigging and rigid sails while the ships were battered by fifty ton blocks of ice in mountainous seas thousands of miles from land, even before the ice and fog barrier. Not a place you would choose to explore far in ships under sail but many were lost there.
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Old 19-07-2020, 10:30 AM
precessed (John welch)
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There is language and DNA evidence for 'Indonesian' settlement in Madagascar around 8th cent. They had ships with outrigger stabilisers.

"According to the (Javanese) Mūla Malurung inscription issued in 1255: ‘His Majesty [Rājasa] served as a single parasol for the world, the whole island of Java as well as the other islands’, the parasol being a common symbol of sovereignty in Southeast Asia and the Indian ocean world...After all this, can we say that Majapahit was really an empire? The answer depends on what we mean by the word. If being an empire means the direct administration of provinces, permanent military occupation, and the imposition of political and cultural norms over a wide area, then Majapahit was probably not an empire. Javanese rule over the other islands was too intermittent and too indirect to qualify by those criteria. But if being an empire means the projection of military power at will, formal acknowledgement of overlordship by vassals and third parties, and the regular delivery of tribute to the centre, then Java’s relationship to the archipelago can well be considered an imperial one, especially during the late Singhasari (1268–92) and middle Majapahit (1330–1400) periods. "
_ Was Majapahit really an empire? - New Mandala.

(The Javanese) are all men very experienced in the art of navigation, .. formerly navigated to the Cape of Good Hope and were in communication with the east coast of the island of San Laurenzo (Madagascar),.
— Diogo de Couto, Decada Quarta da Asia . (1645) Lisbon: Regia Officina Typografica, 1778-88. Reprint, Lisbon, 1974.

"In 1322 friar Odoric of Pordenone reported an archipelagic vessel that carried at least 700 people. The Majapahit Empire used
jongs as its main source of naval power. The largest number of jong deployed in an expedition is about 400 jongs when Majapahit
attacked Pasai Sumatra. Each ship was about 230 ft long, and could carry 600 men. The large ones could carry 800
men and were 300ft. The ships were armed with 3 meter long cannons. In 1357, the Sunda king and the royal family arrived in
Majapahit in a fleet of 200 large ships and 2000 smaller vessels." _ Djong. wikipedia.

The possible sailing to Antarctic , evidently at the tip of South America , would indicate a purposeful projection of this schema of royalty. Probably both the Javanese rulers of Madagascar and the Majapahit rulers saw value in overlordship. Democratic independence was not their motive. In theory at least , the southern hemisphere and a slice of the north was the royal domain. Putting a boot on Antarctica was probably a giant leap for mankind , the Javanese .

"The Javanese people think and believe in their messianic mission that their culture is to javanize other people outside their realm . In their delicacy, being Javanese is to adopt and practice the Javanese custom and tradition in terms of mature, polite, subtle, and refined." _Bagoes Wiryomartono 2016.

The exact geography , winter ice extent and solstice sun elevation at the tip of west Antactic peninsula ( eg James Ross island) indicate a genuine experience by trained navigators in a substantial ship. .

Last edited by precessed; 19-07-2020 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 20-07-2020, 08:42 AM
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I am quite happy to hear about the Javanese and to hear that they had a large and powerful civilisation , like the Cambodians and Mayan and Indian before them. Interesting and logical as island states that they were such a seafaring force before the others came along and then the Europeans. Probably not much interested in science but rather the projection of power. If they recorded the position of the stars in some detail in their own script from the their landfalls that would be more Interesting as did the Arab seafarers.

My point really is that visiting the Antarctic peninsula, although interesting, is not discovering the continent of Antarctica as we know it in the current world. The peninsula is relatively benign and not as isolated as most of the continent. It is like bumping into the tip of Cape York and saying that we discovered or know anything about Australia. It took centuries of experience in the ice to explore the antarctica we know..




Quote:
Originally Posted by precessed View Post
There is language and DNA evidence for 'Indonesian' settlement in Madagascar around 8th cent. They had ships with outrigger stabilisers.

"According to the (Javanese) Mūla Malurung inscription issued in 1255: ‘His Majesty [Rājasa] served as a single parasol for the world, the whole island of Java as well as the other islands’, the parasol being a common symbol of sovereignty in Southeast Asia and the Indian ocean world...After all this, can we say that Majapahit was really an empire? The answer depends on what we mean by the word. If being an empire means the direct administration of provinces, permanent military occupation, and the imposition of political and cultural norms over a wide area, then Majapahit was probably not an empire. Javanese rule over the other islands was too intermittent and too indirect to qualify by those criteria. But if being an empire means the projection of military power at will, formal acknowledgement of overlordship by vassals and third parties, and the regular delivery of tribute to the centre, then Java’s relationship to the archipelago can well be considered an imperial one, especially during the late Singhasari (1268–92) and middle Majapahit (1330–1400) periods. "
_ Was Majapahit really an empire? - New Mandala.

(The Javanese) are all men very experienced in the art of navigation, .. formerly navigated to the Cape of Good Hope and were in communication with the east coast of the island of San Laurenzo (Madagascar),.
— Diogo de Couto, Decada Quarta da Asia . (1645) Lisbon: Regia Officina Typografica, 1778-88. Reprint, Lisbon, 1974.

"In 1322 friar Odoric of Pordenone reported an archipelagic vessel that carried at least 700 people. The Majapahit Empire used
jongs as its main source of naval power. The largest number of jong deployed in an expedition is about 400 jongs when Majapahit
attacked Pasai Sumatra. Each ship was about 230 ft long, and could carry 600 men. The large ones could carry 800
men and were 300ft. The ships were armed with 3 meter long cannons. In 1357, the Sunda king and the royal family arrived in
Majapahit in a fleet of 200 large ships and 2000 smaller vessels." _ Djong. wikipedia.

The possible sailing to Antarctic , evidently at the tip of South America , would indicate a purposeful projection of this schema of royalty. Probably both the Javanese rulers of Madagascar and the Majapahit rulers saw value in overlordship. Democratic independence was not their motive. In theory at least , the southern hemisphere and a slice of the north was the royal domain. Putting a boot on Antarctica was probably a giant leap for mankind , the Javanese .

"The Javanese people think and believe in their messianic mission that their culture is to javanize other people outside their realm . In their delicacy, being Javanese is to adopt and practice the Javanese custom and tradition in terms of mature, polite, subtle, and refined." _Bagoes Wiryomartono 2016.

The exact geography , winter ice extent and solstice sun elevation at the tip of west Antactic peninsula ( eg James Ross island) indicate a genuine experience by trained navigators in a substantial ship. .
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Old 21-07-2020, 09:26 AM
precessed (John welch)
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From an astronomy viewpoint , it's interesting that Dante's description of Southern Cross needed someone to be south of 22degrees N (say Abu Simbel in Egypt) in 1300 . The northern "flaming heavens" were "widowed by deprivation of seeing it" and Polaris never rose, which was south of 4degrees S.

Arabs may have been the observers but the evidence points to Javanese sailing past 'Cape of Good Hope'. This is consistent with Javanese reaching Wollongong , as mutual corroboration.

Although most Indigenous people say there were no foreign contacts , Bundjalung ( Brisbane) and Dharawal people (Sydney) are different and have legends about ancestors arriving by boat "from the central part of the world due to wars", "from the north" . The Bundjalung 3 brothers were Ya Birrein, Birrung and Mamoon. ("Australian Dreaming." J Isaacs 1979). In Old Balinese these are "oldest. youngest. uncle". Old Balinese is a form of Old Java language with about 25% Sanskrit words. The grandmother was Gaminyah who walked away like a goanna , which have "a clumsy and slow, swinging walk" . Sanskrit gammanya "thinking oneself a cow" and gamin "moving in any peculiar manner , slow, languid". The Old Java form is gamana and -ya when used in determinative position indicates agent in passive forms. They came from ngareenbeil "overseas islands", OB "your beloved countryman". (Darma Putra , Languages-UQld , email).

Bundjalung Nation
Bundjalung..whose dream time stories talk about arriving in Australia from elsewhere. They came from the land "at the centre of the world"

Murni Dhungang Jirrar - Living in the Illawarra - Environment ...
www.environment.nsw.gov.au › OEH › Documents
They brought the Dharawal or Cabbage Tree Palm with them from the north and are named for this sacred tree. p5.

Dharawal "palm tree". OJ dāru (Skt) piece of wood, wood, timber.
-wala In compounds it seems to be ``all kinds of, in every respect''.

The uses include palm-thatch , stem for water-carrier as in Indonesia and edible 'cabbage' sprout. Bangalay is the swamp-mahogany with bark used for roofing, as in "Bangalay" housing at UOW. The palm-tree water-carrier is bangala , made from banggulu / bangalow palm in Bundjalung also used for roof thatch , as in Indonesian bangla , bangalaya in Skt.

The lenition in OJ nagara "realm, state" is possibly seen in:
A Ngurra for Indigenous Australia in Canberra
www.nativetitlesa.org › aboriginalway › a-ngurra-for-i...

Feb 28, 2019 - “Ngurra is a word that it appears in many different Aboriginal languages around the country, that basically has the same meaning . It’s the word for ‘home’, ‘camp’, ‘a place of belonging’, ‘a place of inclusion’.

Billibellary - Wikipedia
en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Billibellary

Billibellary (c. 1799–1846) was a song maker and influential ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri-willam clan during the early years of European settlement of Melbourne..
( Javanese negarane gita "song of country").

and so on..
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Old 31-07-2020, 01:55 PM
precessed (John welch)
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https://maas.museum/observations/200...his-longitude/
James Cook had no chronometer on his 1st voyage but did on later voyages. The latest hi-tech was Lunar Distances. Polynesians surprised them by doing maths off the top of their head.

"These Polynesians.. .knowledge was .. extremely detailed, very accurate and in many respects superior to the instruments of the western navigators, such as Magellan and Cook, for whom the Pacific was a sea of constant surprises... western European sailors did not venture deep into their neighbourhood until the end of the Middle Ages. .they learned the art of dead reckoning, judging distance as they sailed to gain some sense of longitude: they appear to have found this easier to do than European sailors, who had to await the invention of the chronometer.. Tupaia , a Polynesian navigator who accompanied Captain Cook, astonished Cook's companions by his almost instinctive awareness of where the ship stood, without instruments or written records...just the super computer of the human brain. One of the most extraordinary methods of navigation was .a system known in the Carolina Islands as etak...a relationship ..between the destination and another island in its vicinity; the method depended on placing this third point accurately in relation to the stars... powerful mental geometry , not to mention an astonishingly detailed, carefully memorised, mobile map of the heavens. _ D Abulafia 2019. "The Boundless Sea". Allen Lane. pp 5, 16-19. (Mediterranean History , Cambridge University).
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