2014.07.29【英译中】Why Are Maps Drawn with North at the Top

发表于:2014-07-29 15:49 [只看楼主] [划词开启]

       Now it is hard to visualize a map that does not feature north at the top,but this was not always so.

       现今如果绘制地图时不以北极为顶端是难以想象的,但是过去不总是如此。

       The oldest known map in the accepted sense of the word was drawn about 3800 B.C.,and represents the river Euphrates flowing through northern Mesopotamia,Irap.This, and others that followed it, were little more than rough sketches of localized features; it was not until many centuries later that the ancient Greeks placed the science of map-making on a sound footing.

      世界上已知最早的被世界公认的地图被绘制于公元前3800年,代表性的河流是流经伊朗美索不达米亚北部的幼发拉底河。这张地图与之后的其他一些地图,最多只不过算是粗略的描述了一些地方特色;直到很多世纪以后,古希腊人们把绘制地图这门科学建立在合理的基础之上。

       At the fore front of the pioneers in the field was the Greek mathematician and philosopher Claudius Ptolemaeus(AD 90~168), more popularly known to history as Ptolemy.The last great scientist of the classical period, he was the first to draw a map that was based on all available knowledge,rather than guess or imagination. Earlier, the Babylonians had attempted to map the world, but they presented it in the form of a flattened disc rather than a sphere, which was the form adopted by Ptolemy.

       在这一领域的开创者是数学家、哲学家克罗狄斯·托勒密(公元90~168年),即历史上有名的托勒密。他是古典时期最后一位伟大的数学家,他是第一个绘制地图不是靠猜测和想象,而是全部基于有根据的知识。早先,巴比伦人尝试绘制世界地图,但是他们是以平面方式呈现出来的,而不是像托勒密所呈现出的球形。

       Given the state of knowledge of those times, he got things wrong; for example, his estimate of China and the Atlantic Ocean was far from being accurate. Nevertheless, it was a useful effort, and the map remained a word of reference for over a thousand years. In fact, Christopher Columbus used a version of it when he set sail in search of the New World— which caused him some navigational problems,since Ptolemy had calculated wrongly the size of the Atlantic and was unaware that the Pacific Ocean existed.

       由于那个时期的知识是有限的,他得到的一些结论是错误的;比如,他对中国和大西洋的估计是远远不够精确的。虽然如此,这仍然是一个非常有用的成就,这张地图作为参考资料被保留了超过一千年的时间。事实上,克里斯多弗·哥伦布开始寻找新大陆的航行时就是用的这张地图的译本,由于托勒密错误的估计了大西洋的面积同时没有意识到太平洋的存在,这给哥伦布的航行带来了很多问题。

       The really important thing about Ptolemy's map was that north was at the top. The reason for this was that he decided to orientate the map in the direction of the Pole Star since Polaris was the immovable guiding light in which the voyagers of that era placed their trust.

      在托勒密的地图中最重要的一件事就是北方在地图的顶部。造成这种情况的原因是他决定用北极星的方向给地图定位,因为在那个年代人们相信在航海中北极星是固定不变的导航灯。

       North at the top remained the accepted arrangement until the early Middle Ages, when the Church began to interfere seriously with the advance of science. In accordance with the orders of the Church, maps were still produced in accordance with Ptolemy's principles—but now Jerusalem was the central feature, as it was held to be the center of the Christian faith, and east was moved to the top.

      直到中世纪早期,当基督教开始严重干涉到数学的发展时,北方在上方一直是被人们所接收的。依照宗教的命令,地图的绘制仍然遵循托勒密的原则——但是当时耶路撒冷具有中心特征,基督徒的信仰认为它是中心,所以东方被移到了顶部。

       These maps are often called "T" Maps because they slow only three continents—Europe,Asia and Africa—separated by the "T" formed by the Mediterranean Sea and the River Nile. From a navigational point of view,they were almost useless.

       这些地图习惯性被称作“T”地图,因为他们仅仅只有欧、亚、非三个大陆,这三个大陆被地中海和尼罗河分开形成一个“T”型。从航海的视角看,他们几乎没有什么用处。

       More accurate maps began to appear in the 14th century, with the spread of trade and increasing reliance on the compass. Once again, north assumed its rightful place at the top of maps.

       随着贸易的传播和对指南针信任的增加,在14世纪产生了很多精确的地图。北方再一次的被认为在地图的上方才是它正确的位置。

      

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