The inhabited world thus delineated formed an island of irregular shape, surrounded on all sides by the ocean, the Erythrean Sea freely communicating with the western ocean.
Nicolaus Germanus, a monk of Reichenbach, in 1466 prepared a set of Ptolemy's maps on a new projection with converging meridians; and Paolo del Pozzo Toscanelli in 1474 compiled a new chart on a rectangular projection, which was to guide the explorer across the western ocean to Cathay and India.
But the Greenland colony was obscure, the country was believed to form part of Europe, and the records of the farther explorations were contained in sagas which were only rediscovered by modern scholarship. Throughout the middle ages, legendary tales of mythical lands lying in the western ocean - the Isle of St Brandan, of Brazil and Antilia - had been handed down.
The influence of the western ocean is very strongly marked, the temperature falling steadily from west to east.
Donncuan came along on the journey with a group of others, drawn across the western ocean bathed in flickering firelight.