The Mariner's Mirror Podcast


Navigation in the Middle Ages

The subject of navigation in the Middle Ages is fundamental to maritime history as it lays the foundation for the exploration, migration, global trade and international wars that followed. It is also a fascinating and multi-faceted topic; one which takes us out into the deep oceans where issues of wind, current, tide and depth are all influential, but also up into the sky where the sun, moon, planet and stars help us find out where we are and WHEN we are: the history of navigation is intimately linked with the question of time at sea. To find out more, Dr Sam Willis spoke with Dr Seb Falk from Girton College, Cambridge, an historian who specialises in the history of astronomy, navigation and mathematics from their ancient origins to modern developments. For Seb the Middle Ages were a time of wonder. They gave us the first universities, the first eyeglasses and the first mechanical clocks as medieval thinkers sought to understand the world around them, from the passing of the seasons to the stars in the sky. Seb is the author of an important recent book: The Light Ages: A Medieval Journey of Discovery.

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