Characteristics in Common

In the fifteenth-century portolan charts considered here the winds had merged with the directions of the compass. The eight principal compass bearings, named for the wind directions, became (in Italian): Tramontana (N), Griego (NE), Levante (E), Syrroccho (SE), Mezzodi (S), Garbino (SW), Ponente (W), and Maistro (NW). (Brown 1949, 126). The figure that shows these directions and winds is sometimes called a wind rose, which is not a good name, as was pointed out by Tony Campbell. The preferable term is compass rose. (Campbell 1987, 395).

Young Navigators link

The 1489 and 1466 portolan charts both have compass roses; the 1424 does not. It should be noted, however, that the rhumb network of the nautical chart itself is a "compass rose."

1466 rose


1489 rose


rhumb rose

1424 Nautical

©1999-2001 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. University Libraries. All rights reserved. Please credit the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota if you copy or reproduce material from this page.