Diffusion of skill in the Mediterranean world : Ottoman navigational technology during the 16th century seen through sailing-directions manuals
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This thesis deals with the navigational technology, focusing on the sailingdirections texts, of the Ottomans during the 16^'’ century. It is divided into four chapters, the first of which discusses in general the development of the science and technique of navigation in the Mediterranean Sea from the Antiquity to the 16* century. The subject of the study is the technology that has to do with the orientation and not with the ship-building at all. A brief reference on the instruments used on ship board follows, while the chapter ends with the distinction between the astronomical and the plane navigation. The second chapter displays the Mediterranean world as a unity, where all sorts of exchange and interaction took place. Thus, the art of navigating the sea, that both unites and divides the shores around it, was one of the main features of the cultural exchange. The mariners of the enclosed sea shared a common life in the waters no matter their ethnic and religious provenance. Here the common language of the seamen, the “lingua franca” is under consideration. The third chapter discusses the sailing-directions text that were compiled in various languages again from the Antiquity to the 16* century, while the fourth and last chapter is concentrated on the three known 16*- century Ottoman texts of this genre. The Ottomans, as well as other Mediterranean groups, were in the periphery of the navigational technology according to the results of the study. They produced a small number of original texts, nevertheless they took part in the diffusion of the navigational know-how.