Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 8

Text, scholarly version, translated from the editions 1570 Latin versions A, B & C, 1571 Latin, 1573 Latin versions A & B, 1574 Latin, 1575 Latin, 1579 Latin versions A & B, 1580/1589 German, 1584 Latin, 1588 Spanish, 1592 Latin, 1595 Latin, 1601 Latin, 1602 German, 1602 Spanish, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612/1641 Spanish, and 1609/1612 Latin; the second text, vernacular version, is translated from editions 1571/1573 Dutch, 1572/1573 German, 1572/1574 French, 1581 French, 1587 French, 1598 French and 1598/1610/1613 Dutch.

8.1. {1570L{AFRICA
8.2. The ancients have divided this part of the world in various ways; but at this moment it is divided {1574L{as Johannes Leo {1606E only{of Africa}1606E only} reports}1574L} into four main parts: Barbaria, Numidia, Libya and the land of negroes. Barbaria, which is considered the best, is washed by the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, and is bordered by the mountain range Atlas and by the region of Barcha bordering on Egypt. Numidia, called Biledulgerid by its inhabitants, abounds with dates (for which reason the Arabs call it by no other name than the date-bearing region) and is bound to the West by the Atlantic Ocean; Northwards by the mountain range Atlas; it stretches Eastwards as far as the city of Eloacat, which is one hundred miles from Egypt; and the sandy deserts of Libya embrace it in the South. Libya, the third part, is in the Arab language named Sarra [Sahara], which means desert in this language. It begins East of the Nile and from there extends to the West as far as the Atlantic sea. Numidia lies to the North of it, and the land of the Negroes to the South. Now we come to the fourth part, which they call Nigritarum terra [land of the black people], either because of the inhabitants, who are of a black colour, or because of the river Niger [black], which flows through the region. It is confined in the North by Libya, South by the Ethiopian ocean, West by Gualata and East by the kingdom of Goaga.
8.3. We are to note here that according to this division [of these writers] all of Africa is bound within the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Ethiopian seas and the river Nile; thus Egypt and Ethiopia have been accounted for as parts of Asia. {1571L, not in 1573L{Notwithstanding this, we think that they belong more properly to Africa}1571L, not in 1573L}. {1574L{For Ethiopia really contains at this day Presbyter Ioannis' empire, which is attributed to Africa by all modern writers}1574L}. We therefore agree with Ptolemæus that it ought to be bound by the Mediterranean and the oceans, rather than by any river whatsoever. And so it has the form of a peninsula being joined to Asia by an isthmus {1606E only{or small neck-land}1606E only} which lies between the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Arabia {1608/1612I only{which is also called the Red Sea}1608/1612I only}.
8.4. The Southern part of this was not known to the ancients until the year 1497, when Vasco de Gama first rounded the Cabo de Bueno Sperança [Cape of Good Hope], and, sailing around Africa, came to Calicut {1606E only{in East India}1606E only}. This part is called Zanzibar by the Persians and Arabs.
8.5. At the Cape of Good Hope just mentioned the inhabitants are exceedingly black, which we think is not wise to omit, because everyone supposes the cause of blackness to be the heat, and the closeness of the sun; while the sun here is not more scorching than it is at the Strait of Magellan {not in 1573L & 1602G{if we measure the heat of the place}not in 1573L & 1602G} {1606E only{according to the position of the heavens and the distance from the equinoctial line}1606E only}, yet, the people there are reported to be truly white.
8.6. But if we persist in ascribing this blackness to the scorching heat of the sun, let us consider what makes the Spaniards and Italians look so white, while they are both equally distant from the equinoctial line as are the inhabitants of the cape just mentioned, that is, the one to the North, the other to the South.
8.7. Those who live in [the area of] Prester John [East Africa] are of a brown colour; in Zeilan and Malabar the inhabitants are black as coal, yet, they all live at one and the same distance from the equator, and under the very same parallel of heaven.
8.8.{1601L, not in 1602G{And in contrast to this, why did Herodotus and Pindarus describe those who have the same climate, namely Colchis, to be of a black colour and to have curly hair? Herodotus {1608/1612I only{the fourth book of}1608/1612I only} his Thalia claims the Indians to be black like the Aethiopians, which is confirmed by what we know at this time. I know that Herodotus claims the cause for this to be the seed of the parents, which he says is not white, like that of other people, but black. Which is what Postel confirms, who attributes the cause of this blackness to be Cham's curse. Which is an opinion that I do not challenge. Let the truth of the matter rest on the credibility of the authors}1601L, not in 1602G}.
8.9. But this you may think even stranger: that no black people were to be found all over America except for a few, and only in one place which they called Quareca. What then is really the cause of a black skin? Is it {1580/1589G & 1602G only{the heat of the sun? or}1580/1589G & 1602G only} {not in 1580/1589G & 1602G{the dryness of the air}not in 1580/1589G & 1602G}, or of the earth? Is it perhaps some hidden property of the soil? Or a kind of quality inherent and innate in the nature of man?
8.10. Or is it all of these united into one? But let us leave these things to be further considered by those who are more curious in their search into the secrets of nature.
8.11. This portion of the world is called Libya by the Greeks and by the Romans Africa [without frost], because it is not afflicted by extreme cold. Or, (if we may believe Josephus) the name comes from Afer, one of Abraham's descendants. Another derivation of the name has been recorded by Johannes Leo {1606E only{in the beginning of his first book on the description of Africa, who derives it from the Arabic concept of Faraka, meaning to disjoin or separate, because it is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean sea, from Asia as he says by the river Nile or rather, as the best authors have taught, by the Arabian gulf called by the Greek [in Greek lettering] eruthraia thalassa, Mare Rubrum, the Red Sea, and by the Jews [in Hebrew lettering] iam-suff, mare algosum vel iuncosum, the sedgy [full of plants] sea, and by the Arabs living close to it Bahci 'Ikulzom, the alkulzom sea.
8.12. For the same reason Julius Cæsar Scaliger thinks that Sicily received its name from Seco which means to cut because this island was thought by the ancients to have been cut off from the mainland and to have been connected to Italy in earlier times. Others, in their own way, nullo digno autore, nullo solido & certo argumento [without mentioning a serious author, nor with solid and certain arguments] derive the name of Africa from Africus, a king of blessed Arabia, about whom they claim that he founded settlements here and was the first to inhabit it}1606E only}.
8.13. {1574L{The principal islands of this part of the world, (to mention them all here seems to us to be unnecessary, because they are to be seen on the map) are Madagascar, the Canaries, the isles of Cap Verde {1584L, not in 1606E{as they are commonly called}1584L, not in 1606E} and the isle of São Tomé situated under the equinoctial, which abounds with sugar}1574L}.
8.14. Among the old authors, there are none that have written specifically about this region with images {1606E & 1608/1612I instead{in particular}1606E & 1608/1612I instead}. But read on the subject {1592L, not in 1602G{Bellum Iugurthinum by Sallustius}1592L, not in 1602G} [about] Hanno and his circumnavigation of Africa in Arrianus; and about Iambolus {1606E only{and his voyage}1606E only} in Diodorus Siculus; {1579L{and also Melpomenes by Herodotus}1579L}{1608/1612I only{who in the fourth book of his history writes about inner Aethiopia}1608/1612I only}{1592L, but not 1602G{and Barlaam's narration about Ethiopia or India which is still extant in the Augustan library}1592L, not in 1602G}.
8.15. Of recent writers, read Aloysius Cadamostus, Vasco de Gama, and Francesco Alvarez who travelled in Ethiopia. But of all writers Johannes Leo has most exactly described it, {1579L{and Ludovicus Marmolius [Luis del Marmol],}1579L} {1592L, not in 1602G{and also Livio Sanuto}1592L, not in 1602G}. João de Barros also promises to publish a volume on Africa. Concerning the river Nile, the greatest in the whole world, you have the letters {1588S, 1602S & 1609/1612/1641S instead{maps}1588S, 1602S & 1609/1612/1641S instead} of Giovanni Battista Ramusio and Girolamo Fracastoro}1570L, 1571L, 1573L, 1574L, 1575L, 1579L, 1580/1589G, 1584L, 1588S, 1592L, 1595L, 1601L, 1602S, 1602G, 1603L, 1609/1612L and 1609/1612/1641S end here}. {1606E only{You may also read extensively about Africa in the second volume of Richard Hakluyts English Voyage}1606E only which ends here}, {1608/1612I only{and finally all from Filippo Pigafetta Vicenza's travels through Egypt with its floodings by the Nile, and about Mount Sinai, based on his personal observations}1608/1612I only which ends here).

Now follows the vernacular text, translated from the 1571/1573 Dutch, 1572/1573 German, 1572/1574 French, 1581 French, 1587 French, 1598/1610/1613 Dutch and the 1598 French editions:

8.16. {1571D{Africa.
8.17. Africa (which we nowadays call land of the Moors {1572/1574F, 1581F,1587F & 1598F instead{Ethiopie)1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F & 1598F instead} has by the ancient authors in former days been divided into many parts. In our times it is commonly divided into six main parts which are: Barbaria, Egypt, Biledulgerid, Sarra [Sahara], the land of the Black, and Prester John's Land. And this is all that was anciently known, (though under different names), about Africa. Because from the lakes where the river Nile has its source towards the South, it was unknown to the ancient writers, which part now is called Zanzibar by the Arabs and Persians. Its Southern cape in the South Sea has been named Cabo de bona sperança [Cape of Good Hope], and has first been reached by Portuguese sailors in the year 1497.
8.18. Africa is entirely surrounded by the sea except for a narrow piece of land (namely between Egypt and the Holy Land), where it is joined to Asia. For it has in the North the Mediterranean sea, in the West the large ocean which one crosses when sailing to Brazil, in the South and South-East the sea which one crosses when going to Calicut and the isles of the Moluccas, and in the East the Red Sea.
8.19. To describe this Africa properly, it is to be understood that Barbaria stretches out along the Mediterranean sea where you find the Canary Islands on its West side, and the mountain range Atlas Eastwards to Egypt. In this land of Barbaria one finds the kingdoms of Marrakech, Fess [Fez], Algiers, Tunis &c. Egypt is located between this Barbaria, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the land of Prester John.
8.20. Biledulgerid is the land which used to be called Numidia, (this is where you find numerous date trees), and extends from Barbaria Southwards to the land of the Black, and Eastwards to the land of Prester John. Sarra [Sahara], (which means wilderness in their language) is an arid and sandy region where on a journey of many days one will not see any houses or water except what the travellers took with them.
8.21. This Sarra [Sahara] in the South borders on the land of the Black, and extends to the sea where one finds the isle of São Tomé. In this land one finds the Kingdom of Guinea and other lands.
8.22. Prester John's land extends very far and wide, namely from Egypt to the lakes where we said that the Nile has its source between the South and the North, in the East to the Red Sea and in the West to the kingdom of Nubia and the river Niger. The inhabitants of this country are Christians. This is the part that has always been known.
8.23. The new part, called Zanzibar contains the countries of Habascia and Gazacia, (so called in de Girava's Geography,) as also the kingdoms of Mozambique and Cefala &c. Here is also situated the isle of St. Laurentius, called Madagascar by its inhabitants, and its size is one hundred miles in circumference. Here you find plenty of ivory, since there are many elephants here. The isles of Canary and of Cabo Verde also belong to this part of Africa. {1572/1573G only{Also the isle of São Tomé, which yields a lot of sugar, hence its name}1572/1573G only}.
8.24. Now that we have arrived in this country of the Moors, {1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F & 1598F instead{Ethiopia}1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F & 1598F instead}, it seems worthwhile, I think, to write a little about them, because I have often wondered why it is, {not in 1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F & 1598F{(considering that it is commonly believed that the whiteness or blackness of the human skin is related to the closeness or distance of the sun above these countries, as also that wherever the sun is right above their heads, you will find the blackest people, and in contrast, wherever the sun is farthest away the whitest people)}not in 1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F & 1598F}, that here in Africa around Guinea and in the land of the Black, (which is located between the equator and the tropic), all the inhabitants are black moors! Whereas in Prester John's Land, right under the equator, you find yellow moors! And along the equator in America fully white moors! On the basis of what has just been observed, it should have been different, {1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F & 1598F instead{which is in contrast with the opinion generally held by people who say that the people are whiter, or more black, after the distance to the sun}1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F & 1598F instead}, that is to say, the nearer one is to the equator, (or middle line as the sailors call it), the blacker the inhabitants.
8.25. But what is even harder to understand, at Cabo de Bona Sperança [Cape of Good Hope] the inhabitants are totally black, and at the Strecho de Magellano [Magellan Straits] they are totally white, but both are equally far South of the equator. Yes, in all of America there are no black people to be found anywhere. Why should it be, when sunburn causes blackness, that the Spanish and Italians are white, when they live as far from the Equator Northwards as those in Cabo de Bona Sperança [Cape of Good Hope] live Southwards of it? That is, these live between 30 and 40 degrees South of the equator and the others as much North of the equator! What can be the reason for this difference between white and black colour?
8.26. Some dryness of the sky? Or of the earth? Or of some stars? Or some unknown property of the Land? Or some innate characteristic in the nature of man? Or all of these together? But let us leave this to the researchers of the secrets of nature and continue our descriptions of our other lands}1571D, 1572/1573G, 1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F, 1598F & 1598/1610D end here}.

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