Mazaua - Accounts That Saw Print Before Eyewitness Reports

Accounts That Saw Print Before Eyewitness Reports

As earlier stated, Maximilianus' letter was the first that reported on Magellan's voyage. His names for the isle, Messana and Massana, prevailed all throughout from the 16th century all the way to 1890 when the real name, Mazzava, with v having the value of w, came out in the English biography of Magellan by F.H.H. Guillemard came out.

In 1526, a French translation of Pigafetta, Le voyage et nauigation faict par les Espaignolz es Isles de Mollucques, from an Italian original was published in limited number in Paris. This is called the Colines edition, after the name of the printer.

A retranslation back to Italian of the Colines edition saw print in 1536 anonymously and without the name of the printer or the place of publication. Its title, Il viaggio fatto da gli Spagniuoli a torno a'l mondo. The speculation is that this was printed at Venice by Zoppini but there is no evidence to support the claim.

This Italian retranslation is where a crucial error was made that would lead to present-day conundrum on the anchorage at Mazaua. Here Mazaua is removed and replaced by "Buthuan" sometimes spelled "Buthuam" with an m. How this transposition came about and why is beyond explanation. In the four extant manuscripts of Pigafetta—which scholars agree are mere copies of an original or originals—there is no way it can be mistaken that the port is named other than Mazaua. Even in the Colines edition, the name is clearly "Messana" not "Buthuan."

In 1550 this same work, with the "Buthuan" intact, is published in a compendium of travel stories in a book entitled Primo Volume delle Navigationi et Viaggi...published at Venice by Antonio Giunti. The Italian translation of Pigafetta is titled Viaggio attorno il mondo scritto per M. Antonio Pigafetta...tradotto di lingua francese nella Italiana. This is reprinted in 1554 without attribution to the translator. Only in the reprint of 1563 is the name of the translator, Giovanni Battista Ramusio, shown. Succeeding editions came in 1588, 1606, and 1613.

There are two known versions of Ramusio's work, one is represented by the English translation The Decades of the Newe Worlde or West India...Wrytten by Peter Martyr...and translated into Englysshe by Rycharde Eden. London, G. Power, 1555. The other is the English translation Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgimes, Containing a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells by Englishmen and others By Samuel Purchas, B.D., Volume II. Glasgow,1625. The first version talks of a mass at "Buthuan" on March 31, 1521 followed by the planting of a big cross atop the highest hill. The second version mentions no mass in "Buthuan", only the planting of a cross. These differing versions will reach the hands of two 17th century religious historians that will lead directly to the confusion as to what Mazaua really was.

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