We interrupt the programme…

to ask help from anyone able to comment on a Syriac(?) drawing and/or an Armenian map:

This – snail-shell diagram is described as a list of patriarchs. It is in the Saffron monastery, outside Mardin; the monastery that was for centuries the northern seat for the Church of the East.


The Armenian map is in a volume held in Yerevan, Matenadaran, MS 1242, fol. 132r.

Pictures of it are included at the end of a very long Henry Davis’ article about Isidore and T-O maps  ( here )

Now, I don’t really see that Armenian map as related to Isidore or to T-O maps; to my mind it seems adapted from the sort of drawings which show the relative direction and distance of various places relative to Mecca, with the holy city as it were the compass-centre of the heart.  However, the way that Armenian version is drawn does have a similar feeling to a couple of diagrams in the Voynich manuscript, so I would like to hear from anyone who has seen it, or knows about it.

Matenadaran, MS 1242 is described on the Henry Davis site as follows:

One exception to the general lack of maps in the Yerevan archives is MS 1242, a collection of eighteen unrelated essays on religious, moral, mathematical and astronomical subjects dating mainly from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The manuscript is in various hands and has been written on paper. There are 205 numbered leaves, each measuring about 16.5 x 12.5 cm. Folio 131v contains a table of angles of the elevation of the solar orbit. The facing page, folio 132r, bears the circular world map. On the verso of the map page (fol. 132v) is the beginning of an article on mathematical riddles. The map has no obvious relation to anything else in the volume. This map is believed to be the oldest Armenian language map in existence.


One thought on “We interrupt the programme…

  1. A reader has kindly reminded me that I included a better picture of the Armenian diagram in an earlier post, ‘Who Knew’?. What troubles me is not that that picture’s inclusion slipped my mind, but that I may have had it courtesy of Thomas Spande, who wrote a great deal about Armenia and developed what I think might fairly be called an ‘Armenian thesis’.


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