Echoes of Portuguese Navigation in the Kitab-i Bahriye by Piri Reis
Keywords:Piri Reis, Kitab-i Bahriye, cartography, Iberian discoveries, travel literature, intertextuality
AbstractThe world map drawn by Piri Reis in 1513, of which only the Atlantic fragment kept in Istanbul is known, is justly famous. Its surprising modernity is fully explained by the use of Iberian sources, resulting from nearly a century of exploration of both sides of the Atlantic by Portuguese and Spanish navigators, along with other collaborators. The ‘Book of maritime affairs’, prepared in the 1520s by the Turkish cartographer, gathering precious geographic and cartographic information about the Mediterranean and many other regions, is equally important, although rather less well known. In the foreword to his Kitab-i Bahriye, Piri Reis appears to be especially well informed about Portuguese explorations along the African coast and in the Asian seas, after the voyages of Bartolomeu Dias and of Vasco da Gama. Is it possible to identify the textual and cartographic sources used by Piri Reis in the preparation of both his cartographic works?