1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance
|Title||1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance|
|Year of Publication||2008|
|Number of Pages||416|
In Menzies's 1421, the amateur historian advanced a highly controversial hypothesis, that the Chinese discovered America; in this follow-up, he credits the Renaissance not to classical Greek and Roman ideals (a "Eurocentric view of history") but again to the Chinese. His thesis in both works is based on the seven (historically undisputed) voyages undertaken by a large Chinese sailing fleet between 1405 and 1433; while it is known that they traveled as far as east Africa, Menzies believes that they landed in Italy and sent a delegation to the Council of Venice, held in Florence in 1439. There, they provided the knowledge and technique-introducing the painter Alberti, for instance, to the methods of perspective drawing-that sparked the Renaissance. Menzies sets the stage by recapitulating arguments from his first book, including the ingenious method for calculating longitude that Chinese navigators may have used. Though Menzies writes engagingly, his assumption that the Chinese fleet landed a delegation in Florence is highly speculative, and hardly substantiated by any facts. (Amazon.com)
Note: The works of Gavin Menzies have been heavily scrutinized by scholars and his controversial claims have been seriously questioned. Educators should proceed with caution for any classroom use.