Zeno brothers

The Zeno brothers, namely Nicolò (c. 1326–c. 1402) and Antonio Zeno (died c. 1403) were Italian noblemen from Venice living in the second half of the 14th century, who were famous during the Renaissance for a possible but controversial exploration of the north Atlantic and Arctic waters. They were brothers of the Venetian naval hero Carlo Zeno. The Zeno family was an established part of the aristocracy of Venice and held the franchise for transportation between Venice and the Holy Land during the Crusades. Zeno is the Italianization of the Venetian surname Zen.

Nicolò and Antonio are notable for a number of letters and map (called the Zeno map) published in the year 1558 by one of their descendants, also named Nicolò Zeno. This descendant was a historian with other published works on the history of Venice. The letters, allegedly written by the brothers around 1400, describe a voyage of exploration that they say they underook throughout the North Atlantic (and by some interpretations to North America), under the command of a prince named Zichmni (who some have identified as Henry Sinclair).

The letters and accompanying map are controversial and are regarded by at least one historian as a hoax, either by the Zeno brothers themselves or by their descendant who wrote a narrative which he said was based on what was left of letters that he had torn up as a boy. In 1989 Italian scholar Giorgio Padoan published a study suggesting that there is some authenticity in their travels and that Nicolò is not to be found in any document between the years 1396-1400 (so he could have been at least in Iceland), while Andrea Di Robilant has written a book on this possibility.

The letters are divided into two parts. The first set contains letters from Nicolò to Antonio. The second consists of letters from Antonio to their brother Carlo.

The first letters (from Nicolò to Antonio) tell how Nicolò set off in 1380 on a voyage from Venice to England and Flanders. Evidence exists that such a voyage took place, and that Nicolò returned to Venice around 1385.

In the letters, Nicolò describes being stranded on an island between Great Britain and Iceland called Frislanda, which is described as being larger in size than Ireland.

This page was last edited on 20 March 2018, at 06:21.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolo_Zeno under CC BY-SA license.

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