So when I found a necklace in Sardinia of not only a tiny compass but also the Rose of the Winds I knew it was a perfect keepsake. I also decided to learn more about the Compass Rose, Rose of the Winds and Compass.
According to what I found:
The Compass Rose is a figure on a map, a nautical chart or a paving used to display the orientation of the cardinal directions, — north, south, east, and west. It is also the term for the graduated markings found on the traditional magnetic compass. Today, the idea of a compass rose is found on, or featured in, almost all navigation systems.
Before compass roses were used on maps, lines were drawn from central points. These lines were hard to follow since there were usually many of these lines intersecting each other on one map. The rose design was typically drawn in a way that made it easier to follow the directional lines.
In the Middle Ages, the names of the winds were commonly known throughout the Mediterranean countries as tramontana (N), greco (NE), levante (E), siroco (SE), ostro (S), libeccio (SW), ponente (W) and maestro (NW)
|Written in the sand at Edwards Air Force Base|
For NE-SW wind. SE ships arrived from Syria, hence the name for the "Sirocco" wind.
To SW there is Libya, a name formerly used also for Tunisia and Algeria, hence the name "Libeccio" for winds from SW to NE.
Finally the ships sailing from Rome came from NW (often circumnavigating Sicily rather than facing the Strait of Messina and our experience in this area explains why!) i.e. from "Mistral" or “Maestro” (Magistra in Latin),
In the Middle Ages map makers moved to the 16-point rose complaining that sailors did not have the education to understand the previous design.
The Arab sailors navigated by a 32-point compass rose during the Middle Ages
Originally, this device was used to indicate the directions of the winds but the 32 points of the compass rose came from the directions of the eight major winds, the eight half-winds and the sixteen quarter winds.
Some believed the numbers of the points started at North; however, it actually started at East. This was because in relation to Western Europe, Jerusalem was in the east and therefore East was considered the primary direction. Similarly, on old maps the east was marked with an L for Levante, or with a Christian cross indicating the direction of Jerusalem from the point of view of circa Mediterranean countries.
The compass rose has appeared on charts and maps since the 1300’s when the portolan charts first made their appearance.
Replica of a 32-point compass rose from a chart by Jorge de Aguiar (1492), the oldest personally signed and dated Portuguese nautical chart. The first letters of the main winds are composed to form T(E)MPLOS, an acronym of the Knights Templar Navy.
The contemporary compass rose appears as two rings, one smaller and set inside the other. The outside ring denotes True North, the geographical location of the North Pole, while the smaller inside ring denotes Magnetic North, which refers to the direction that the North Pole of a magnetic object (as found in a compass) will point. The angular difference between true and magnetic north is called variation, which varies depending on location. The angular difference between magnetic heading and compass heading is called deviation which varies by vessel and its heading.
Red, blue, black, and green were the most common colors used in the compass rose. On a rolling ship at night by the light of a flickering lamp, these figures had to be clearly visible. Therefore the eight principle points of the compass are usually shown on the compass rose in black which stands out easily. Against this background, the points representing the half-winds are typically colored in blue or green and since the quarter wind points are the smallest, they are usually colored red.
References: The Annapolis Book of Seamanship by John Rousmaniere, Wikipedia, Origins of the Compass Rose by Bill Thoen as found on gisnet.com, compassrosegeocoin.com