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map exhibition travel book

This is the famous world map by the 15th century monk Fra Mauro. I saw it in Museo Galileo in Florence. Unfortunately it was a replica. The real thing is in Venice. I found it very difficult to recognize landmarks on the map because the orientation is very different from our modern convention. North is down. South is up.

Here’s a puzzle: What’s this? Anglia is England. Scotia is Scotland. What is Hibernia? My teenage obsession with Umber Eco finally pays off. It’s Ireland. In The Name of the Rose, there is a giant library with rooms organized as a word maze. After some brilliant detective work, the main character William was able to solve the maze and drew a map. Each room is decorated with a letter. The cluster of rooms in the lower-left corner, for example, spells out HIBERNIA, because it is where books by Irish authors are shelved. In one of the rooms, William read a passage from an Irish poet: Hoc spumans mundanas obvallat Pelagus oras… and compared the rhythm to the sounds of the ocean waves.