Fiery Friday: “Here Be Dragons”.

FF 4_24_2015

Hunt-Lenox Globe,© 2015 Liz Vitale

Early modern European maps contain uncharted territory, across which beasts stampede and serpents spew forth from the oceans. These maps have dragons. But do any old, original maps actually contain the words “Here be dragons?”

Actually it seems that the answer is no. Contrary to our fantasy realms in novels and film and edgy sayings of today,not a single old documented paper map presents the exact words “Here be dragons”.

But one globe actually does warn the Latin translation: “Hic sunt dracones”. It is the Hunt-Lenox Globe, built in 1510, making it one of the first European globes ever made.Very small and constructed of magnificently engraved copper,it is in the possession of the New York Public Library. No dragons appear near the words, but lurking throughout the globe are various sea beasties.

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