1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance (P.S.)
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The brilliance of the Renaissance laid the foundation of the modern world. Textbooks tell us that it came about as a result of a rediscovery of the ideas and ideals of classical Greece and Rome. But now bestselling historian Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that in the year 1434, China—then the world's most technologically advanced civilization—provided the spark that set the European Renaissance ablaze. From that date onward, Europeans embraced Chinese ideas, discoveries, and inventions, all of which form the basis of Western civilization today.
The New York Times bestselling author of 1421 combines a long-overdue historical reexamination with the excitement of an investigative adventure, bringing the reader aboard the remarkable Chinese fleet as it sails from China to Cairo and Florence, and then back across the world. Erudite and brilliantly reasoned, 1434 will change the way we see ourselves, our history, and our world.
To predict the length of the year at 365.2425 days, which is accurate to within ten seconds a year, Guo Shoujing had to take into account four of these movements. In order to accomplish that, he must have known how the solar system worked, including the facts that the earth travels around the sun in an ellipse and is not at the center of the universe and that the earth is attracted to the sun’s much bigger mass. A diagram showing how the earth travels in an ellipse around the sun. Guo
42–43, 128, 129, 139–40, 149–51, 238, 241, 272 pope and, 123–24, 134–35, 243 printing during time of, 40, 187–88, 233, 235–36 religious tolerance observed by, 124 route of, 42–43 silk during the time of, 197 sponsorship of, xv, 4, 6, 7, 9–10 tomb of, 80 Venice expedition, 70, 71, 75, 81, 209, 222, 223, 235–36 weapons on ships of, 41, 222, 223 Yongle Dadian and, 15–16, 164, 233 Zhou Man, 13 Zhou Xin Yan, 26, 250 Zhu Di, emperor of China, xiii, 3, 4–5, 14, 15, 17,
at 22°23'30'' (correct to within two miles) and the accuracy of the eye, which can be judged to within a quarter of a degree—the full moon appears large but its diameter is under half a degree (thirty miles). It is my submission that Zheng He’s navigators were able to calculate latitude to within half a degree, or thirty miles, and longitude to within two seconds, or three degrees. When the fleets arrived in Venice and Florence, their methods of calculating latitude and longitude were
Columbus that the information is on a round sphere and that the lands of spices can be reached by sailing westward. The famous island Cipangu is Japan. So Toscanelli’s claim that it is only 2,500 miles from Japan to Antilia, in the Caribbean, seems absurd. So does his claim that the map shows the distance from Lisbon westward to China is one-third of the earth’s circumference; in fact, it is nearer two-thirds. If Toscanelli’s account is true, it must have been a very distinctive map. I have
many—for fear of ridicule by the public. He explained that he had been reluctant “not for just nine years but already in the fourth nine year period—that is,” since about 1504, a time after Copernicus had obtained Regiomontanus’s Ephemeris and Epitome in Bologna. Between 1510 and 1514 Copernicus summarized his new ideas in De hypothesibus motuum coelestium e se constitutis commentariolus (A commentary on the theories of the motions of heavenly objects from their arrangements). Its main parts, to