- Purchase/rental options available:
This essay concerns the cover illustration of the issue of Technology and Culture (a drawing of a Venetian galley) and the manuscript in which it is found. The codex was written and illustrated by a fifteenth-century oarsman, Michael of Rhodes, who worked his way up to officer positions in a forty-year career on Venetian galleys. The essay describes the manuscript and the complex process of making a three-volume facsimile edition, edited by Pamela O. Long, David McGee, and Alan M. Stahl, published by MIT Press in 2009. Michael’s remarkable, illustrated codex of more than 400 pages, created c. 1435–1436, contains the first extant treatise on shipbuilding in the world, an extensive tract on commercial mathematics, calendrical and astrological material, portolans (i.e., sailing directions), and Michael’s own autobiographical service record.