[Sca-cooks] OT 1434

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Fri Jun 6 14:54:57 PDT 2008

Gavin Menzies is at it again.  This time we get "1434:  The Year a 
Magnificent Chinese Fleet Saile to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance." 

I've been looking over Menzies's website and I would say the evidence for 
this one is even shakier than that for "1421."  What's posted on the website 
appears to overlook Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Donatello, Brunelleschi, 
Sangallo, and a host of others who were merrily creating the Renaissance 
well before the alleged Chinese visit.  It also doesn't mention the flow of 
Classical and Arab works out of Spain after the Spanish took Toledo and 
Cordoba in the 11th Century.

Menzies seems to be depending heavily on map evidence as he did in his 
previous work and some of the information worked into the maps may have been 
gleaned from  China, but probably not to the extent Menzies believes. 
Unfortunately for Menzies's interpretation, it has been demonstrated that 
Menzies's failed to adequately research the evidence in "1421" and that some 
of the information that "could have only come from the Chinese" predates (in 
European maps) the voyages of the treasure fleets that presumably supplied 
the information for the Europeans.  I haven't reviewed all the map evidence, 
but some of it is a re-hash of "1421."

Has anyone encountered a description of a Chinese fleet at Venice in the 
15th Century?  I can't remember one, and as the !5th Century Chinese trade 
fleets tended to have 400 or so ships, I would think such an arrival would 
appear in contemporary accounts.  I also don't recall a Renaissance adoption 
of toilet paper either.

>From what I've seen, I think I'll hold off until a copy turns up at my 
favorite used bookseller's shop.  I'd rather enrich her, than Herr Menzies.


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