WWW-Virtual Library: History
Map History / History of Cartography: THE Gateway to the Subject

WWW-VL Main Catalogue WWW-VL History Central Catalogue
(main menu)


What the
site is
Map History

Explanatory Notes
to the

Table of 'Significant Names'

defined as those that first appear on portolan charts after 1313
(and are repeated regularly thereafter) or that disappear before 1600

see the full Microsoft Office Word 2003Table of 'Significant Names'
(NB this was replaced as the full toponymic listing by an Excel table in September 2013)

Portolan Charts Main Menu  |  Toponymy Menu

For the full details of the reference works mentioned below see the Bibliography

Explanation of the table columns

(** a number of alterations were made to the following text on 8 September 2011, reflecting major additions and alterations to the Table of Significant Names during previous months)

Geog[raphical] Sort Number. This enables the table to be re-sorted into the original geographical sequence [make sure to use the 'number' option rather than the default 'text']. NB the numbers have no other significance and may change in future, to reflect additions or deletions

Inv[entory] Number. These are the original numbers used for the handwritten name charts from the 1980s, with a, b, c, etc. suffixes (added 2009-11). Cross-references are made to these

Puj[ades] Number. These are taken from the comprehensive list (with modern identifications) of the 1,854 place-names on the 1437 Vallseca chart, see La carta de Gabriel de Vallseca de 1439 (Barcelona: Lumenartis, 2009) pp. 151-81 (though only the 1,161 covering the continuous coastline between Dunkirk and Mogador are treated here).

Modern names. These should be used with considerable caution, see the separate note on 'Modern identification' below

Old names. The chartmaker was not a toponymic editor but a copyist. Thus, if two names, supposedly representing the same place, look very different, they have been separated out in this listing. The concern here is with medieval reality not modern local history scholarship. When there is a range of variations apparently referring to a single name, examples are given to reflect that

Kret. The numbers are page references to Konrad Kretschmer's name list (1909)

Date. The first dated (or reliably datable) work on which that name was observed. However, this evidence might be distorted if earlier works were incomplete or illegible at that point.

Dates up to 1469 will be generally reliable, and particularly where there is a 'P' (for Pujades) in the 'F, P' column. For 1470 onwards the dates depended on the availability of published transcriptions and adequate scans. Future research will certainly adjust some of those.

Sorting this column
It is recommended you use the 'text'option so as to include the following suffixes:

  1. 1339+ indicates the undated Dulceti chart, which is accepted as being later than that dated 1339.

  2. The * after some of the dates between 1409 and 1435 (mostly on the works of Batista Beccari), indicates that the name also appeared on the Cornaro Atlas copy of a chart attributed to Francesco Beccari (whose only surviving work is dated 1403). It is almost certain, therefore, that those names are actually much earlier. Where the Cornaro Atlas version did not include the name, or where it is obscured on the scan by a fold, that is noted.

To distinguish the toponymic innovations of the various periods, the dates are shown in different colours, for each of the half centuries up to 1600 and for the 17th century as a whole. This should make it easier when assessing an undated chart, since only certain colours would be relevant.

Italicised dates indicate that an earlier work by that chartmaker was incomplete or illegible at that point. Thus 1313 Vesconte dates take three forms: (a) in ordinary black for places in the Atlantic and western Mediterranean, which were not covered on the 1311 chart, (b) in italics for those which might have appeared in 1311, and (c) in green for those which had definitely not been present in 1311. The green Vesconte names are treated as the first toponymic additions to the chart corpus.

Occasionally a name is first encountered on two works of the same year by different chartmakers. Though future research may give primacy to one or other, at this stage no name is given. Instances are 1563 names found equally on the work of J. Oliva and M. Prunes, and those found first on 1592 works by both J. Oliva and V. Volcio.

Chartmaker :
A. Up to 1468
See the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet A complete chronological listing of works assigned to the period pre-1501 (and its Explanation) for the details of each work.

B. 1470 onwards
See the Excel spreadsheet above for the period up to 1500. For details of those and other later charts examined see the Microsoft Office Word 3 listing of Post-1469 charts

Either. Found on both Italian or Catalan works in the 14th or 15th centuries, though not necessarily common

It[alian] only, Cat[alan] only. Clearly associated with one or other in the period before 1500, though there can be exceptions (e.g. the 1403 F. Beccari chart picked up Catalan names which were ignored by other Italians)

Disappears after date? Those up to 1469 will be generally reliable, and particularly where there is a 'P' (for Pujades) in the 'F, P' column. For 1470 onwards the dates depended on the availability of published transcriptions and adequate scans. Future research will certainly adjust some of those.

The Freducci family and Sideri (Callapoda) preserved the style and toponymy of the Benincasas long after other chartmakers had abandoned them. The '+' added to some dates between 1537 and 1565 {altered to '1570' with the re- discovery of the Sideri chart dated 1570, in Central St Martins Library, London} serve to highlight names that would not normally be found on other 16th-century works. This device guards against a distorted picture of the general longevity of such names: almost 40 in red and about 85 in black.

Some names were last noted on one of two 1563 works, by J. Oliva and Sideri (Callapoda) respectively. The suffix letter 'o' identifies the few last seen on the Oliva chart. 's' allows the standard names last seen on the 1563 Sideri atlas to be distinguished from those that had been kept alive by Benincasa's successors alone - marked with a + (as described above).

The symbol  →   indicates that the name was still seen in 1600 or later

F P . These provide references to, respectively:

Comment. A plus sign [+] indicates that the name can also be seen on one or more of the four following works: the 13th-century written portolanos, the 'Liber de existencia riveriarum' and the 'Compasso de navegare', or two charts considered to date from before the earliest Vesconte productions, the Carte Pisane and the Cortona chart. For a list of such instances see 'Later introduction of 'precursor names' seen on selected early works' (a Microsoft Office Word 3 table).


The following suggestions may be helpful. They relate to the choice of Sort 'Type'.

It is possible, for example, to sort on three fields simultaneously, e.g. (1) Date, (2) Chartmaker, (3) Column 1. This will display the innovative names, by date and chartmaker, and in geographical order. Alternatively, changing the default on the Date search to 'Descending' will allow the focus to concentrate on names apparently added later.

Top of page

For the full details of the reference works mentioned above see the Bibliography

see the full Table of 'Significant Names'
(NB that is a Microsoft Office Word 2003 table which opens separately)

Portolan Charts Main Menu  |  Toponymy Menu

HOME (main menu)  |  Tony Campbell articles  |  Portolan charts menu  |  Index   |   Sitemap   |   What this site is about   |   What's New