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Michael of Rhodes and the Birth of the Mariner’s Manual

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The Book of Michael of Rhodes, recently discovered and edited, stands near the beginning of a series of compilations of nautical information stretching from the fourteenth century into the modern age. It was written in the Venetian language by a non-noble sailor, apparently of Greek origin, who served aboard Venetian galleys from 1401 through 1443. This essay explores the composition of the manuscript in the context of the maritime life of fifteenth-century Venice and the individual who wrote it and discusses the other Venetian maritime manuals that preceded it or appear to derive from it.


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Affiliations: 1: Curator of Numismatics, Princeton University


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