Manuscript on parchment roll, consisting of five skins pasted together, of an untitled list of 267 courses mentioning distances between two places and the bearing according to a 32-point compass, in Venetian dialect. Damp stains have damaged and even obliterated some parts of the text, especially in its first section. Ruled in lead for three columns of uneven width, the first containing two place names and the bearing, the second the word mi(lia) and the third the number indicating the distance between the two places. Written by one scribe in black ink except for five lines in red; of these lines 145 and 171 are no entries, but rubrics introducing the sections dealing with the Sea of Azov and the islands of the Aegean Sea respectively. The handwriting is a small Southern Gothica Textualis Libraria under Cancelleresca influence; the latter is most apparent in the shape of the letter g and in the horizontal approach strokes at the top of the ascenders. In Italian (Venetian dialect). The date and meaning of this exceptional document have been debated since it was described in 1972 by its owner, Thomas E. Marston. Whereas Marston dated the document from ca. 1300 and considered the possibility of its being produced as an aid to medieval portolan map making, research by James E. Kelley has demonstrated that it cannot be dated before the fifteenth century and that a document of this kind and containing so many errors could not be used as a basis for the making of a map. Kelley consequently classified the document in the category of pilot books. The majuscules are heightened in red. Cataloged from microfilm by Albert Derolez. Cite as: Marston Portolano. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Faye and Bond, p.?, no. 238. Thomas E. Marston, An Aid to Medieval Portolan-Chart-Making?, Gazette, 46 (1972), pp. 244-246. James E. Kelley, Jr., The Marston Portolano. An Alternative View of a Fifteenth Century Scroll thought to be a Cartographer's Guide, ?. James E. Kelley, Jr., Pilot Books. A Survey of Periploi and Portolani from Ancient Times through the End of the Fifteenth Century, ?.
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Related Exhibit or Resource:
Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in Beinecke Library.
Beinecke MS 506
General Collection, BRBL, Yale University
Extent of digitization:
Complete work digitized.
Number of Pages: 18
For more information about this resource, contact:
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
P.O. Box 208330
New Haven, CT 06520-8330