Who Invented the Compass?

By Heinrich Winter, published February 1937


The invention of the ship’s compass had been attributed to a certain Flavio Gioja, an Italian from Amalfi, around 1300, although earlier forms of land compass appear to have been described in mediaeval literature. This article debunks the Italian claim in favour of a northern European origin and goes on to claim that the lodestone was probably of Viking origin and that it was they who introduced it to Italy.

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Filed under: Baltic | Late Middle Ages | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Science & Exploration | Ship Handling & Seamanship

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