The Piri Reis maps
April 21, 2004 1:13 AM   Subscribe

Piri Reis Map I am a sucker for those books that hypothesize that Earth was visited by extra-terrestrials in the distant pass. One artifact that is brought up in nearly all of them is The Piri Reis Map, a document that seems to be a map includes parts of the world (such as Antarctica's ice-covered mountains) that were thought to be very recent discoveries. But, are they a hoax?
posted by synecdoche (14 comments total)
Ugh. That should say PAST rather than PASS. Incidentally, this post was inspired by my current bedtime reading: Robert Charroux's One Hundred Thousand Years of Man's Unknown History. It is fun, even if you don't buy a word of it. :)
posted by synecdoche at 1:18 AM on April 21, 2004

I have The Piri Reis Map of 1513 on my shelf. It's the next non-fiction book in my to be read queue. From what I've already read up on the subject, most of the piffle that's claimed about the map is pretty easily debunked.

I got interested in the map itself when it was used to prop up the claims in 1421: The Year China Discovered the World that the final Chinese Treasure Fleet had discovered North & South America as well as Australia. It was an interesting read, but utterly fell apart when I started to try to verify the claims and follow the purported evidence.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:21 AM on April 21, 2004

Here's another detailed treatment.

And an article from 1980.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:28 AM on April 21, 2004

I love this! Thanks.
posted by Quartermass at 10:09 AM on April 21, 2004

Graham Hancock practically leads with the Piri Reis map in "Fingerprints of the Gods." If you explore around the "hoax" site you'll find numerous debunkings of Hancock's other claims. Nevertheless I greatly enjoyed FOG (as Heinreich calls it).
posted by coelecanth at 10:11 AM on April 21, 2004

This "totally accurate" (per the first link) map (with coordinates and comments added in this image) shows South America connected to Antarctica, some gigantic lake in the middle of Spain, and a large but completely unrecognizable island off the coast of North America (wait, don't tell me, it's Atlantis).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:15 AM on April 21, 2004

Can we use the map to find the rest of the Rimbaldi artifacts?
posted by ben-o at 10:50 AM on April 21, 2004

Wow, any way you look at it, it's still interesting reading. I love this kind of stuff. Great post, synecdoche.
posted by greengrl at 11:16 AM on April 21, 2004

Wasn't that 1421 book fascinating? I wish he had written it as a novel, because then the fact that he was dead wrong wouldn't have taken away from the fun of reading it.

The thing about things like the Piri Reis map is that people always say "It's absolutely accurate--except where it isn't." (cf. Devil's Advocate's comment above) "Sure, that big landmass doesn't look like Antarctica--it looks like the SEEKRIT ICELESS ANTARCTICA known only to the ALIENS." Etc., etc., etc.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:25 AM on April 21, 2004

The Piri Reis map has been suspect for a long time. The old Vineland map is till in question, but there is no doubt that the New World was known to Norse, Isris, Basque, and Bristol seamen for a long time.

It seems to me to be an extension of a longstanding Eurocentric idea that the world was out there for the world to be plucked like a fruit for the picking.

Randy Newman's song, "The Great Nations of Europe" gets it just right:

"The Great Nations of Europe
Were gathered on the Shore
They conquered what was behind them
And now they wanted more,
So they took to the western ocean
They took to the western sea,
The great Nations of Europe
In the Sixteenth Century.

Hide you wives and daughters,
Hide your groceries too,
The Great Nations of Europe are coming through...

The Grand Canary Islands,
the first land to which they came
They killed off all the canaries there
that gave the land its name
Then they found these people called GuanchesThey found Guanches by the score
But bullets, disease, and Portuguese
ain't no Guanches any more

They gone, they gone,
they really gone
you never saw anyone so gone
some pictures in museum,
some lines in a book
but you won't find a live one
no matter where you look

Columbus sailed for India
Found Salvador instead
He shook hands with some Indians and soon they all were dead
They got TB and typhoid and athlete's foot
diphtheria and the flu
Excuse me! Great nations coming through!

posted by zaelic at 1:47 PM on April 21, 2004

I've been looking for a poster of this map, but no luck so far...
posted by kahboom at 1:51 PM on April 21, 2004

Here is an incredible collection of maps online, from ancient times to the Renaissance.
posted by euphorb at 1:52 PM on April 21, 2004

It was an interesting read, but utterly fell apart when I started to try to verify the claims and follow the purported evidence.

hearsay vs hearsay -- an epic battle
posted by Satapher at 3:58 AM on April 22, 2004

Also of interest: the Oronteus Finaeus map.
posted by malocchio at 8:13 AM on April 23, 2004

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