Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World by María M. Portuondo

By María M. Portuondo

The invention of the hot global raised many questions for early glossy scientists: What did those lands include? the place did they lie relating to Europe? Who lived there, and what have been their population like? Imperial enlargement necessitated alterations within the means medical wisdom used to be accumulated, and Spanish cosmographers specifically have been charged with turning their observations of the hot global right into a physique of data which may be used for governing the most important empire the area had ever known.As María M. Portuondo right here exhibits, this cosmographic wisdom had enormous strategic, shielding, and financial worth that royal scientists have been charged with safeguarding from international and inner enemies. Cosmography used to be hence a mystery technological know-how, yet regardless of the restricted dissemination of this physique of data, royal cosmographers utilized replacement epistemologies and new methodologies that modified the self-discipline, and, within the technique, how Europeans understood the wildlife.

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Extra resources for Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World

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I join others, such as Ricardo Padrón, who warn against this kind of sweeping generalization and the deterministic history it implies. 35 Any study that privileges “the grid” and spatial thinking as a precondition of modernity needs also to take into account the prevalence and popularity of descriptive geographies as another way of describing space. To suppose that Ptolemaic cartography trumped traditional descriptive geographies in favor of a purely geometrical conception of space, or that descriptive accounts were wri en to somehow fill a map’s “blank spaces,” unfortunately ignores the influence the models of Strabo and Mela had on the humanist authors.

Just as a map represented pictorially a geographical space and natural histories described the plant and animal kingdoms populating it, so chronicles served to record human actions in the natural world. 28 However, the task of writing chronicles should not be 27. Ibid. 70. 28. In the classical era, “writing history” generally meant writing about current events, usually om an eyewitness perspective, while “writing annals” meant recording past events. These definitions changed during the Renaissance, as “writing history” increasingly implied writing about past events using wri en records as sources.

Renaissance Cosmography in the Era of Discovery : 35 Throughout Europe, Ptolemy’s goal to describe the “whole of the known world” became a mission for cosmographical practitioners, and the resulting magnum opus became the crowning achievement of their profession. The cosmographies of Sebastian Münster (1488–1552)36 and André Thevet (1504–92)37 answered Ptolemy’s call. They adopted the classical works of Mela and Strabo as literary models and, to various degrees, Ptolemy’s methodology. Their ambitious cosmographical projects required an exhaustive exercise in compilation and erudition aimed at creating an image of the world at a particular moment in time.

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