When he was asked to participate in a Liber amicorum, or book of friends, Gerard Mercator sent a portrait, “most willingly, if it pleases you, but reluctantly as far as I am concerned, as I feel ashamed to exhibit myself, as if I were of any importance, among famous men.”1  I know the feeling.  But in reading about Mercator I was impressed by his circle of colleagues, among them Abraham Ortelius, John Dee, Gemma Frisius (his math tutor), and Petrus Apianus.  In the Society for the History of Discoveries (SHD) I have enjoyed the company of distinguished people. I want to talk about a few of them.


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