The Riddle of the Compass

The Riddle of the Compass

The Invention That Changed the World

Book - 2001
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Sometimes it pays to be in the right place at the right time. Certainly the mariners in Amalfi in the twelfth century were. Here the compass was first invented and used in navigation, eventually helping to make Italians the world's greatest sailors.
But the story of the compass is shrouded in mystery and myth. It begins in ancient China around the birth of Christ. A mysterious lodestone whose powers affected metal was known to the Emperor. This piece of metal suspended in water always pointed north and was put to excellent use in feng shui, the Chinese art of finding the right location. However, it was the Italians who unleashed the compass's formidable powers on ships at sea.

Throughout the ancient world, sailors navigated by wind, and stars, and the routes of migrating birds, but bad weather and winter storms impeded their travels. When the compass migrated to Italy, the modern world began: Venice, trade with the East, the Age of Discovery. The compass made it all possible, and this is its fascinating story.

Publisher: New York : Harcourt, c2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780151005062
Branch Call Number: 912.014 ACZ
Characteristics: xvii, 178 p. :,ill., maps ;,22 cm


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Feb 10, 2017

Badly written, little of interest here.

Nov 24, 2016

A good read. Fast, informative and entertaining history of the compass and why it change the world for humans. Aczel is a scientist but tells his story to be readily understood by laymen. Now I'll read his other books.

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