Manuscripts of The Sphere, a poem in Italian by Gregorio Dati (1362-1435) or his brother Leonardo, are decorated with maps based on portolan charts. On these pages from a copy written about 1470 the map has east at the top. At the foot of the right-hand page are the east end of the Mediterranean and Cairo (‘Karo’) on the River Nile. Above them are Syria and Mesopotamia, with the Persian Gulf, Arabia and the Red Sea – coloured red – on the right.