Mystic Meter: Ottoman Admiral, Piri Reis and his Legendary Explorations

Mystic Meter: Ottoman Admiral, Piri Reis and his Legendary Explorations

Piri Reis was a sixteenth-century Ottoman Admiral famous for his maps and graphs gathered within his Kitab-ı Bahriye (Book of Navigation), a publication which contains detailed advice on navigation and exceptionally accurate graphs describing the major ports and towns of the Mediterranean Sea. In 1513, he made his first world map, based on a few 20 old maps and graphs he had accumulated, including graphs personally made by Christopher Columbus that his uncle Kemal Reis acquired in 1501 after capturing seven Spanish ships off the coast of Valencia in Spain using a number of Columbus' crewmen aboard.

In 1929, a set of historians at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, found something rather intriguing. Imprinted on an old Gazelle skin obsolete 1513 they discovered a section of a remarkable map. The graph appeared to depict a part of the Atlantic Ocean and contained the Americas and Antarctica in excellent detail. The mystifying thing was it had been drawn up just a couple of years after Columbus'discovery, and three centuries before Antarctica was even known about. Over the years since the find, debate has raged about how the cartographer had assimilated his knowledge. Did an advanced ancient race, or aliens, create his source charts or have the map's features been adapted to fit wishful-thinking theories?

The word, "Reis” actually means, 'Admiral', and it was discovered that Muhiddin Piri had originally worked as a privateer for the Turkish Ottoman Empire, before accepting a role in the imperial navy. In 1513, using an exhaustive list of source charts and data, he drew his first world map which is what we now recognize as the Piri Reis Map. He is known to have compiled another, quite different global study in 1528, and continued to enjoy a distinguished military career until 1554, aged almost 90, when he was beheaded by the Ottoman Sultan.

The segment of the map that still exists is only a portion of the original and shows the Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Africa, to the east coast of South America, to the north coast of Antarctica in the south. Piri also included details about his sources on the map, claiming some of the reference charts he used were from the fourth century or even before. The map is not drawn with the straight lines of longitude and latitude found on today's maps. It was designed using a series of circles with lines radiating out from them. These types of charts were called, "portolan” maps, and so were utilized to explain sailing courses, guiding ships from port to port, instead of giving sailors a definite position on earth. Historical charts of this kind were prevalent, and Columbus is said to have used one once he put off to find the Americas.

Many Piri Reis Map enthusiasts believe the degree of geographical detail, and mathematical knowledge required to make the map was far beyond the range of navigators from the sixteenth or earlier centuries. Indeed, experts in the United States Air Force from the 1960s found the map accurate; they used it to substitute false information in their own charts. Some folks believe the map could only have been attained with the support of aerial surveys and suggest extraterrestrial animals mapped the planet thousands of years ago, leaving their outcomes supporting to be reproduced by Mankind.

The map's seemingly true depiction of the tradition of Antarctica is its most interesting aspect. Antarctica was discovered in 1818, and the true land of this continent was just mapped in1949 by a combined British and Scandinavian project that had to utilize modern equipment to observe the property beneath the mile-deep icecap. The concept put forward to compensate for this can be that an ancient race using innovative, but lost, technology managed to correctly record details of this continent before it was coated with ice.

Most specialists suggest Antarctica was ice- free later than 6,000 decades ago, although others consider ice has covered the continent to get at least—hundreds of centuries. Similarly, many cartography specialists claim the truth of the portolan method of map drawing will be much more in the eye of this beholder, and lots of maps of this time contained imaginary continents in the South Atlantic. However, there are, nevertheless, some explainable accurate details about the map. The Falkland Islands is placed at the correct latitude, although not being found until 1592, and the unidentified Andes mountain range was contained on the map of America. In the same way, Greenland was revealed as three individual islands, a fact only discovered this century.

So the debate Persists. Can Piri Reis just be blessed with cartographic guesswork? Or did the Ottoman admiral have use of charts and maps made through an advanced race, residing in the world thousands of years ago?

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