Documentary Evidence: Writing-content

THE CONTENT OF THE WRITING ON THE MAP

The writing is handwritten in Latin, in 7 long legends and in 60 titles. In examining the content of the writing, several questions arise:

  • Is the Latin usage correct?
  • Is the Latin vocabulary and style characteristic of writing on 15th century maps?
  • Is the Latin usage consistent throughout the Map?
  • Is any part of the content inappropriate for a 15th century map?

Again, the question at issue is this. Can qualitative documentary evidence alone determine if the VM is genuine or a fake?

Only experts in medieval Latin can speak to this and the normal viewer has no basis on which to judge one expert over another. For example, consider the use of diphthongs which can be written out in text, as in archaeology or not, as in archæology. In one place on the VM, the caption Content
Detail from the VM: the Canary Islands and the Azores, with legend
for the Canary Islands and the Azores, Insulæ Beati Brandani Braziliæ Dictæ the captions are not written out and in other places they are. Should one expect such variation in a 15th century manuscript or does the inconsistency tell us something significant?

We can look for these seeming inconsistencies but must then ask if they are significant. Would they ever be significant enough to decide the outcome of the VM?