RGSSA Library Catalogue

Thursday, 2 November 2017

2017 Exhibition Catalogue

from Roman times to the digital age

Catalogue cover: Lands Department map of South Australia's settled areas, 1932

May 2017
Exhibition of Rare Books curated by the Library Committee
of the Royal Geographical Society of S.A. Inc.

There are records of human activity evidenced since Neolithic times through glyphs, pictograms, cuneiform, hieroglyph, runes and scripts. 
Humans have always wanted to leave a message for future generations. 
Aboriginal rock art being a prime traditional example of engravings and paintings.

Printing began in China in AD 785 when China undertook a monumental work of cartography and geography, describing many foreign places, including present-day Japan, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Arabian Peninsula, the Euphrates River, Baghdad of present-day Iraq, and minaret lighthouses in the Persian Gulf. 

From AD 618 to AD 907, China was the richest, greatest, and most civilized power in the whole world. The effects of this refined, cosmopolitan civilization of the late T'ang period led to the beginnings of printing and paper those inventions which, above all others brought the modern world to birth. These developments were to reverberate around the world.

In China, by AD 1040, moveable type was made from porcelain china enabling the mass printing of paper in the Far East. Europe's first account of printing was through the codex of the monasteries of the 10th and 11th centuries. Hand written accounts, mainly religious, were laboriously copied and stored in the religious centres and often chained up.

By the 1460s the concept of moveable type had arrived in Europe and plates were made of metal or wood, which was easy to use and cheap. The best customers were still the religious centres who saw cheap type-setting and printing as the easiest way of spreading the propaganda of the faith. It was not long before central regimes saw the advantages of this and world developments continued to reverberate.

Between 1420 and 1620 Europeans learned that all seas are one; that seamen, given adequate ships and stores, skill and courage, could in time reach any country in the world which had an ocean coast, and, what was more important, return home. By 1624 the Dutch East India Company had set up an administration in Taiwan (formerly known as Formosa). Europe began to settle the Americas, Africa, the Far East and Oceania. The Library of the RGSSA in Adelaide holds many of these early printed records.

The world's printed geographical record dates from around 480 BC. The Royal Geographical Society has records from AD 374 to the present time on how the world was settled, and in particular Australia and its near neighbours in the Far East.  Visit us to view one of the largest geographical libraries in the Southern Hemisphere that charts, from the 4th century, the discoveries of Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Far East and Oceania.

This exhibition has examples of published books, manuscripts, maps, relics and photographs. Printed material dates from AD 374. The exhibition details
 technology from outer space in 1996.

It is interesting to trace this chronology in print and relic objects to see the world unfold from European centricity. From the settled Roman based civilisations to the Ptolemaic charts, the Far East, and finally from the last frontier of outer space.

Human kind has always sought geographical information from other places on where and how civilisations establish themselves, what trade may be made, and this has often lead to conflicts with beliefs and status.

This exhibition picks up all the facets of map making, beliefs, seeking goods for trade
 in our region, the Far East and Oceania, and finally, the exploration
 and settlement of our continent.

Library shelves in the Mortlock Wing 

On Exhibition 
Peutinger Table [Tabula Peutingriana] dated AD 374
Map of the world by Castorius generally known as Peutinger's tabula : printed in colours after the original in the Imperial Library, Vienna.

On display: Section XI : Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan copied from an 1871 printing
The Peutinger Map is the only map of the Roman
world to have come down from antiquity.

First printed in 1598 at Antwerp in the Flemish region of Belgium, this map shows cities and roads in England (Kent and Norfolk), and continues west on through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and China. Sections VII, IX, X and XI map the Dardanelles through India and on to China. 

The original map, comprised of 11 parchment scrolls, was drawn by an unknown monk from Colmar (northern France) in 1265. The ancient world's traditional span, from the Atlantic to India, is represented by the lands and routes taking pride of place over the seas that are shown compressed. When the sections of the map are assembled it measures approximately 34 cm in height and is 6.74 metres long. This document was discovered by Konrad Meissel, alias Celtes, in 1494, and then given to Konrad Peutinger, an Antiquarian of Augsburg (Bavaria, Germany) , in 1507.  

The map is the result of successive copies and overprints carried out at various times from one or several ancient originals. The oldest information it contains probably dates to before AD 79 as Pompeii is shown on the map. Other temporal indications can be drawn from Jerusalem, shown as Aelia Capitolina, a Roman site named in AD 132, and from Constantinople (Istanbul), the name being commonly used for Byzantium since the 5th century. 

Call number: 207 gmbd 4th cent.
Map Cabinet A Draw 7 
RGSSA's map published 1892
[Refer to set of 8 maps, 1888, in the National Library of Australia 

Ptolemy's Projection
our oldest printed work
dated 1482
Geographia--title page

The Western world owes a great debt to Muslim scholars.
This work contains the first printed map of France.
Ptolemy's works date from around 1482.

Claudius Ptolemaeus, known as Ptolemy, lived during the 2nd century (c. AD 100 to c. 168), in Alexandria, Egypt; one of the intellectual centres of the world at that time. Ptolemy was a mathematician and astronomer and applied these skills to map making. 

Ptolemy based his projections of the world on the circumference of the world being 18,000 miles (28,800 kilometres) and developed a grid system base of latitude and longitude devised by Marinus of Tyre.

Within this framework Ptolemy was able to establish coordinates and in his major work, Geographia, he listed over 8,000 places and their respective coordinates. The coordinates were given down to the degree, minute and second divisions used today. Fanatical Christians burned down the library at Alexandria in AD 390 but at least one copy of Ptolemy's works survived somewhere and the works survived in Byzantium for the next 1,000 years; developed and used by Arab Muslim scholars. 

From nurturing in the Moslem world the information was passed to the Benedictine monk, Nicolaus Germanus, who slowly assembled these references. By 1482, Ptolemy's map of the world, was now in Renaissance Italy and Spain where Geographia was translated into Latin in the scriptoriums. 

In the late 1400s it was discovered that Ptolemy underestimated the circumference of the earth by about 25 percent. It seems likely that Christopher Columbus was aware of this error. The map was recast as he set out on his voyage of discovery to the Americas.

World map in Francesco Berlinghieri's Geographia--p. [12-13]

Francesco Berlinghieri (1440-1501), was an Italian Renaissance scholar and humanist who promoted the value of classical Greek learning during the 15th century. He was amongst the first scholars to print a text based on Ptolemy's Geographia and studied poetry under Cristoforo Landino (1424-1504).

Call number: Rare Book Room (RGS) 910 B515 d
RGSSA's copy published  c. 1482
Refer RGSSA catalogue record
[Refer online edition from the Rare Book Library ]

BIBLE dated 1555
First edition of the New Testament 
printed in Syriac of the Peshito version
text in Latin and Syriac  
Liber sacrosancti evangelii de Jesu Christo, domino & Deo nostro
Liber sacrosancti evangelii de Iesv Christo, domino & Deo nostro. Reliqua hoc codice comprehensa pagina proxima indicabit. Div. Ferdinandi Rom. imperatoris designati iussu & liberalitate, characteribus & lingua Syra, Iesv Christo vernacula, diuino ipsius ore cosecrata, et á Ioh. Euãgelista Hebraicadicta, Scriptorio Prelo diligeter expressa 
Title translation : Book of the Holy Gospel of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ

Title page removed ex libris from the RGSSA's edition--Library of Congress

Based on the oldest known printed biblical text 

The Society's copy is the only edition of this Bible held in an Australian public library and probably based on a 5th century text. An original manuscript, dated c. AD 463, is held in the British Library signed by a scribe named as 'John the deacon', at Amid, in the 'seat of a bishop' (now Diyarbakir, eastern Turkey).

Inscribed in the Library's 1555 edition:
Ex libris Monasterii Beatae Mariae Ambroniacensis Ordinis Sti-Benedicti Congregationis Sti Mauri... Anno 1746. And Thomas Styogor Ē verns possessor hujus libri 1640, And ex libri j.m. janhuzen
Possible translation: 
This book belongs to Marie Ambronica, ordained to the Benedictine Order of the Congregation of St Maur  (France) ...1746;  And, the owner of this book in the spring of 1640 Thomas Styogor; And, from the book of j.m. janhuzen [no date]
Footnote: Established in 1621, the French Congregation of St. Maur, known as the Maurists, were of the Roman Catholic Benedictine Order known for their high level of scholarship. Toward the end of the 18th century, a rationalistic, and freethinking spirit prevailed in France. Consequently, the Maurists were suppressed and their monks dispersed during the French revolution. The last superior-general of the Order died on the scaffold in Paris with forty of his monks.

      A unique woodcut of the crucifixion with the Kabbalistic Sephirot
faces the beginning to the Gospel of John 
Several woodcuts with Hapsburg motifs
and Syriac and Latin inscriptions ornament this work. 

Syriac—is a dialect of Eastern and Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across 
much of the Fertile Crescent in the principality of Edessain present day northern Syria, northern Iraq, and southern Turkey. Syriac first appeared as a script in the 1st century AD after being spoken as an unwritten language for five centuries. 

The Syriac language became the vehicle of Syriac Christianity and culture and spread throughout Asia as far as the Indian Malabar Coast and Eastern China. It was the medium of Arabic communication and cultural dissemination and, to a lesser extent, of Persian. Of its day, Syriac was the Middle East's Esperanto, an internationally understood language, used mainly for written work-trade and diplomacy.

Syriac, also known as Syriac Aramaic, is written using the Hebrew alphabet of 22 consonants but also has characters of its own. Aramaic is the original language of large sections of the Hebrew Books of Daniel and Ezra and the main language of the Talmud.
Aramaic is believed to have been the native language of Jesus. 

Example of the Syriac text

Call number: rgsp 225 B582
For bibliographic detailsrefer RGSSA catalogue record
[Refer online edition from the Library of Congress

Dutch atlas published 1658 :
'a national treasure'

The National Library of Australia in Canberra featured this atlas in its exhibition: 
 National Treasures from Australia’s Great Libraries  
Zee-atlas, ofte water-wereldt : In houdende een Korte beschryvinge van alle de bekende zee-Kusten des aardtrycks. Nieuwelijcks uyt-ghegheven
by Arnold Colom (1624-1668)
published Amsterdam [c. 1658]
Title translation : Sea atlas of the water world : containing a short description of all the well-known sea coasts of the earth. Newly issued.

Early maps incorporated works of art 
Detail (bottom right corner) from Colom's world map shown below

In the 17th century the continent of Australia was not known to Europeans. 

The first European discovery of the South Australian coastline as far as the islands off Ceduna was in January, 1627, aboard the Gulden Zeepaard. The ship was owned by the Dutch East India Company (VOC, Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie).  

Partial section of South Australian coastline
 mapped in Zee-atlas, 1658
More images of Colom's 17th century maps in the Zee-atlas are available from the Society's website showing the Dutch province of Zeeland, Arabia and the Mediterranean region. 

Call number: Rare Book Room (RGS) 912 C718 d 
[Refer online edition from the University of Virginia Library]

Dutch atlas published 1690 : 
maps New Holland 
Atlas minor sive geographia compendiosa qua orbis terrarum per paucas attamen novissimas tabulas ostenditur
published Amsterdam : ex officina Nicolai Visscher
  The coast line of Australia
starts to appear in European maps of the late 17th century

The maps in this impressive leather bound atlas are mostly of Europe but the globe map of the world at the front shows New Holland including part of the South Australian coast. Unlike Colom's map (c. 1658), this map includes the southern part of Van Diemen's Land discovered earlier by Abel Tasman (1603?-1659) in 1642. 

Call number: rgsp 912 V833 d
[Refer 1698 online edition from Europeana Collections/ Düsseldorf University]

Voyage to the Spice Islands : 
exotic plants and animals named in 1776  
An account of a voyage to the Spice-Islands, and New Guinea
by M. P. Sonnerat (1748-1814)
English edition, published Paris, 1781
Pierre Sonnerat (1748-1814) was a French naturalist born at Lyon. In 1767, he sailed with Pierre Poivre (1719-1786) to Isle de France (Mauritius) engaged as his private secretary. Poivre was the French colonial administrator of the Mascarene Islands (1767-1772) consisting of Isle de France, Bourbon (La Réunion) and Rodrigues Island. In the following year, Sonnerat, is believed to have met French naturalist, Philibert Commerson (1727–1773), when he disembarked at Mauritius during the first voyage to circumnavigate the world made by Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811); a contemporary of Captain James Cook. 

In 1771-72, he participated in the second Moluccan Expedition organised by Poivre. Sonnerat published and illustrated an account of this trip in 1776 under the title Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée later translated into English, German and Swedish. During these travels he chiefly gathered birds and some plants.--British Natural History Museum 

Frontispiece by Sonneratsketching in the field
attended by local natives in Asia 

Sonnerat is credited as the artist in Voyage to New Guinea which is illustrated with 120 engraved plates including 79 bird illustrations. One of the earliest illustrations of Australia's 'Laughing Kookaburra' (Dacelo novaeguineae, Hermann 1783) is identified by Sonnerat as 'Grand Martin-Pêcheur de la Nouvelle Guinée'. However, Sonnerat most likely acquired a specimen from Sir Joseph Banks when they met at the Cape of Good Hope in 1770.

Plate 106 : Sonnerat's controversial 'New Guinea' kookaburra 

In this book, Sonnerat claimed to have discovered three species of penguin, and named the species Pygoscelis papua (Forster 1781, gentoo penguin)In fact, he had taken the skins from the collection of fellow naturalist Philippe Commerson. Sonnerat didn't travel as far east as New Guinea and of course there have never been penguins or Australian kookaburras in New Guinea 

Sonnerat is known to have 'accidentally' misnamed the Indri lemur native to Madagascar when his Malagasy guide was actually saying 'look' in the native language and pointing out the animal. The actual Malagasy name for the lemur is babakoto but it continues to be known as an Indri (Indri indri)

The lychee fruit tree (Litchi chinensis) native to southern China was first identified by Sonnerat in his Voyage aux Indes orientales et à la Chine, fait depuis 1774 jusqu'à 1781 (1782). The standard botanical author abbreviation, Sonn, is applied to plants he described and the Grey Jungle fowl is scientifically named for him: Gallus sonneratii.

Pierre Sonnerat spoke out against the prevalent racism in the Europe of his time. During his visits to Asia he marvelled at the rich culture of India, writing: 
Ancient India gave to the world its religions and philosophies: Egypt and Greece owe India their wisdom and it is known that Pythagoras went to India to study under Brahmins, who were the most enlightened of human beings.

Call number: rgsp 915.985 S699
Refer RGSSA catalogue record   
Refer also:
[online French edition, 1776, from Linda Hall Digital Collections]
[illustrations available online from Gallica, Digital Library Bibliothèque nationale de France] 

an account of Burma :
a look at Eastern beliefs

 in the 18th century 
by Lieut.-Colonel Michael Symes. To which is now added, a narrative of the late military and political operations in the Birmese Empire. With some account of the present condition of the country, its manners, customs, and inhabitants. [edited by H.G. Bell] ...
published Edinburgh, 1827
Folded map of the Birman Empire

Michael Symes (1753-1809) was an British army officer, diplomat and politician born at county Wicklow, Ireland, and educated at Dublin's Trinity College. In 1780, engaged as cadet in the Bengal army of the East India Company, he served in India and made lieutenant in 1781. He transferred to the Royal Army and was sent to India again with the new 76th Regiment of Foot in 1788. Serving as aide-de-camp to Thomas Musgrave (1737-1812), 7th Baronet at Madras, in 1791, he was made captain in 1793 and lieutenant-colonel in 1800. 

In 1795, Sir John Shore (1751-1834), then Governor-General of India, sent Symes on a mission to Burma.  A royal order was obtained from King Bodawpaya known to the British as the King or 'Emperor of Ava'. The order permitted a British agent to reside at Rangoon and protect the interests of British subjects; Francis Buchanan-Hamilton (1762-1829) accompanied him as botanist. Symes faced recriminations when Hiram Cox replaced him as agent and found the situation other than what he was led to believe.

Symes writes in his 1795 account:
The laws of the Birmans [Burmese]; like their religion, are Hindoo; in fact, there is no separating their laws from their religion. Divine authority revealed to Menu the sacred principles in a hundred thousand alocas, or verses. Menu promulgated the code. Numerous commentaries on Menu were composed by the Munis, or old philosophers, whose treatises constitute the Derama Sastra, or body of law.
The Birmana [Burmese] generally call their code Derma Sath, or Sastra; it is one among the many commentaries on Menu.  I was  fortunate as to procure a translation of ·the most remarkable passages, which were rendered into Latin by Padre Vincentius Sangermano, and, to my great surprise, I found it to correspond closely with a Persian version of the Arracan code, which is now in my possession.--Vol. II. Chapter III, Embassy to Ava : p. 39
Symes further adds that the Arracan (Arakan) code was originally from Ceylon now Sri Lanka.
Symes was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1800. In 1802, with his regiment at Kanpur, Symes was sent on a second mission to Ava by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley (1760-1842), and reached Calcutta early in 1803. On this occasion, the mission was to protest against the demand made by the Burmese governor of Arakan for the surrender of fugitives who had sought refuge in the British district of Chittagong. Symes obtained a verbal assurance that the demand would be withdrawn. On the journey back to Calcutta he was affronted by the Burmese governor of Rangoon.

During the Peninsular War (1807-1814), Symes served in Spain under Sir John Moore (1761-1809) at the Battle of Coruña, January 1809. Moore perished during the battle and Symes did not survive the ravages of battle, dying on the way home to England, aboard the transport ship, Mary, 22 January 1809. He is buried in St. Margaret's Church Rochester. 

Henry Glassford Bell (1803-1874), the editor of this work, was a Scottish lawyer, poet and historian who assisted authors to publish works.

Call number: rg 959.2 T a
Refer RGSSA catalogue record   
[refer online edition from HathiTrust Digital Library]

May 2017
Exhibition of Rare Books curated by the Library Committee
of the Royal Geographical Society of S.A. Inc.

Mortlock Wing
State Library of South Australia. North Terrace Adelaide
Hours Tuesday to Friday 10am to 1pm
Phone 08 82077266

Location and contact details available from the Society's website

Exhibition catalogue is available to download in a pdf file from the Society's website

Continues to next post
2017 Exhibition Catalogue :  mapping the 'South Lands'
End post
2017 Exhibition Catalogue : settlement of South Australia

All external links retrieved November, 2017
posted by Sandra Thompson
RGSSA remote cataloguer

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