This webpage from Spanish BBC talks about the second main map by Martin Waldseemüller, the first mapper to name the continent America, called Carta Marina. There, we see the southern portion of America being called Terra Nova, with the east coast "Brasilia or lands of the parrots", and the northern portion "Terra de Cuba · Asie partis", likely after the island of Cuba encountered by Colombo in his first trip to the new world. enter image description here

The Spanish BBC translates Asie partis as "part of Asia". Most people, even without knowledge of Latin declension, would imagine that is what it means, and perhaps Asie is simply Asiæ, indeed, æ has /e/ or /ε/ sound. But how does 'partis' make any sense?

Partis can be many things:

  1. Conjugation of "partio", "you are splitting".
  2. Dative or vocative past participle of pario, "(of) that was equaled".
  3. Genetive singular of pars, (of the part)

It is clear that neither 1 or 2 make any sense in this context, and the only possible answer is 3, but should it not be Asie pars instead of Asie partis? I imagine Asie partis would mean of the part of Asia, which does not make sense in this context, as it follows a "·", which implies it is a title; and even if it were not, saying "Land of Cuba of a part of Asia" makes no sense either.

So what is meant here?

  • Partis is also an alternative form of the accusative plural, but it doesn't seem to lead to anything more sensible unless we are to understand a suitable word left out.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jan 14 at 17:50
  • Do you have access to a zoomable picture of the entire map? Perhaps we can glean some hints by other texts in this map.
    – d_e
    Jan 14 at 17:56
  • @d_e You would not really find much, as the section I presented gives all the information relative to that section, but since you asked, here it is faena.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/cart1090222.jpg . It makes me imagine that Waldseemuller was not so good at Latin, but that is hard to believe.
    – Quaestor
    Jan 14 at 18:07
  • 1
    If we allow a bit of mixing between classic latin and post-medieval latin we could say that "partis" (gen. sing.) relates to "de cuba" (intended as Cubae) in terms of adposition, so that the translation Land of Cuba, part of Asia makes a bit more sense. I have nothing to support this though.
    – Davide
    Jan 14 at 18:14
  • 1
    I wonder if Asiae here is equal to Asianae, so meaning something like "The Land of Cuba of the Asian part" (i.e. land of a part of Asia).
    – cmw
    Jan 14 at 19:08


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