[Up] [Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: 600 th anniv. of Prince Henry's visit

[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@zilker.net.
[ For more information, see http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html

Could we please trim quotations from previous postings so that we
don't have quite as much repetition....

>>Richard Huseth
>>Over the past six months I have had several exchanges of e-mail with Josh
>>Gourlay regarding the publishing of the symposium papers.  He told me that
>>they plan to publish them on the symposium web page, but that he was having
>>trouble getting the papers from the authors and did not not want to "push"
>>his volunteers "too hard" to get the two introductory papers he had
>>received on the web.  In early April I offered to help convert the papers
>>to a digital form, but Josh did not respond to my offer.

I've also said I'll be happy to put copies of them on the web.
I think what we have here is just the typical difficulty in getting
conference attendees to actually supply papers to back up what they said.

>Re this vist of Prince Henry. I have no knowlwdge of this voyage other than wh
>I have read over the years in books magazines and newspapers. My gut feeling i
>that it happened. But I don't think it was such a big deal.
> I think others were there before him. Principally the Norse or Vikings.

There seem to have been a number of interesting features to Prince
Henry's voyage.  For example, it seems unlikely any of his predecessors
showed up with such a large fleet of ships.  And if he hadn't gotten
into an unfortunate battle shortly after he returned, he might have
succeeded in setting up regular trade.

>From: "W.P.Sinclair" <wsinclair@clara.net>
> If you are going to suspend belief until someone comes up with a
> goatskin with the details written on and notorised, I think you will
> wait a long time.

Well said.

Most of history is circumstantial.  Many incidents and personages are
accepted as historical on less evidence than we have for Prince Henry's

As for expecting Prince Henry to have personally written that he went
to Massachusetts, as someone requested, could we avoid such blatant
anachronisms, please?  Even if the point was not to use that name that
he wouldn't have encountered unless perhaps if he had been near Boston
Harbor, nonetheless to expect him to have made a big point about crossing
a border that wouldn't exist for more than 200 years is a bit much.

Much of the evidence that people are demanding to see, such as the
Zeno narrative, has been published, and has been cited in works recently
mentioned in this list.  People in a hurry won't find them quickly,
but historical research takes time and care.

For example, the Zeno narrative is cited by Fredick J. Pohl as being
published in the Italian original and an English translation in the works
of the Hakluyt Society.  Who is this Hakluyt Society?  Ten seconds with
Altavista shows that for example the University of Maryland has a copy
of the works, and the U. of M. description is:

  The Hakluyt Society, formed in 1846, numbered among its founders the
  Director of the British Museum and the President of the Royal
  Geographical Society. Its purposes were to publish original narratives
  of important voyages, travels, expeditions and other geographical records
  and to disseminate information about these events.

For that matter, Pohl includes long excerpts from the Zeno narrative in his

Somebody asked for the ten points of correspondence between Estotiland
in the Zeno map and Newfoundland.  They are in the Pohl book.
The name Estotiland itself appears on several later maps,
which are available in various atlases of old maps (if anybody
is interested, I can provide some citations).

As for the Zeno map itself, there is a slightly simplified version in
the Pohl book.  He omitted the latitude and longitude lines (as he notes),
as well as many names of rivers and the like.  For the complete map, see
for example A.E. Nordenskiold's Facsimile-Atlas to the Early History
of Cartography with Reproductions of the Most Important Maps Printed
in the XV and XVI Centuries, Dover Publications, New York, page 53.
This is hardly the only place it has been published.

Regarding the Pohl book, I wasn't convinced by it, either, but Pohl
did cite copious sources.  I found the Alexander Sinclair book more
convincing, partly because it was sceptical of some of the shakier
parts of the Pohl book, yet came forward with more information.
That seems to be a general trend: the more data that turns up,
the more likely the previous evidence for the voyage appears.

As for the various Baigent books, such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail,
I doubt anybody depends on them for serious historical citations.
Nonetheless, Baigent et al. have been very useful in bashing a trail
through overgrown thickets of history. Others are now following up,
planting markers as they go.

I do wish certain other, more reputable, recent chroniclers could avoid
letting the Baigent-style wide-eyes-aghast new-agey stuff rub off on them.
Medieval masons with a sixth sense, indeed.  Hmph.  Niven Sinclair, for
example, is bringing a lot of attention to the subject, but like many
pioneers sometimes his presentation or methods are, ah, unfortunate.

But there are many lines of evidence indicating that Prince Henry Sinclair
took a fleet of ships to the new world.  Most of these lines of evidence
are copiously documented.  Maybe not all the documentation is in one place.
Pete Cummings, for example, has helped us all in publishing synopses of
the evidence in the 600th celebration newsletter, but that's not really
the place to include all the citations, because they would be longer
than the synopsis.

There is probably room for yet another book on the subject; one that
attempts to pull all the arguments and citations, together with extensive
quotations from the major sources, into one volume.  The symposium proceedings
may be that book.  Or such a book may be better written by a single author.
Maybe that author is on this list; maybe one of our well known proponents
of the historicity of the voyage; maybe a show-me sceptic.  Maybe this
discussion will convince whoever it is to start writing and editing....

John S. Quarterman <jsq@mids.org>
President, Matrix Information and Directory Services (MIDS)
mids@mids.org, http://www.mids.org, +1-512-451-7602, fax: +1-512-452-0127
1106 Clayton Lane, Suite 500W, Austin, TX 78723
[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@zilker.net.
[ For subscription, unusubscription, or other instructions, see
[  http://www.mids.org/sinclair/list.html
[ or send mail to majordomo@zilker.net with this single line in the body:
[  info sinclair
[ To unsubscribe, send a message like this:
[           To: majordomo@zilker.net
[           unsubscribe sinclair