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Medieval Navigation at Hand

Peter the Pilgrim of Maricourt, a French scholar, writes a letter to his neighbor, outlining his experiments with magnets and the designs for a compass and universal astrolabe.

Modern navigation will have to wait for the sextant (1757) and for Great Britain to run a contest for the most reliable mariner's clock. The winner will be John Harrison in 1765 making modern navigation possible. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
An excellent book describing the Longitude Contest and the importance of the compass, the astrolabe, sextant and especially the need for an accurate mariner's clock is "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" by Dava Sobel. Issac Newton said such a clock could never be developed. Newton died before he was proven wrong by John Harrison. An excellent story. Highly recommended.

Golly! I Didn't Have a Son When I Left!

Venice merchant, Niccolo Polo returns from his visit with Kublai Khan, to find his wife dead and a son he never knew! Marco Polo is 15 years old and will accompany his father in his travels. [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It looks as if Niccolo's wife was pregnant when he left.

The Red Badge of Courage... and Yellow

King Louis IX of France requires all Jews to wear a red or yellow badge or pay a fine. The badge is a circle of cloth and was first introduced by Muslims around the year 720 to mark Christians and Jews. A yellow badge will be used to mark all Jews in Nazi Germany. [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The world can be a nasty place. Eh? It still is. Christians are being massacred in Egypt yet I don't see Christians mobilizing to help their own. Odd, but maybe this is the way of herd. When one of the herd is picked off the rest of the herd huddles closer or runs away. If you are caught out in the open WTSHTF, don't expect your neighbors automatically to run to help you. You will need to be organized ahead of time.

See Also


  1. "Petrus Peregrinus de Maricourt" from a Shelf3D meta search
  2. Houghton Mifflin Guide to Science & Technology: In the year 1269, edited by Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, 2004
  3. "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" by Dava Sobel
  4. "Longtitude Prize - Wikipedia"
  5. "Marco Polo" by Kallie Szczepanski
  6. 269 June 19, LOUIS IX (Saint Louis) (France)

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