Here Be Dragons

Considering the Tails in Risk Management

Ensconced in the Rare Book Division of the New York Public Library is a hollow copper globe of the Earth that measures slightly less than four and a half inches in diameter. Dating to 1504, the Hunt-Lenox globe is one of the three earliest still in existence. The phrase “HIC SVNT DRACONES” is inscribed near the eastern coast of Asia, which translates to “Here Be Dragons.” Maps from that era often had monsters, sea serpents, or dragons depicted in uncharted or unexplored areas, signifying uncertainty and risk. See Figure 6.1 for a small portion of the Carta Marina, a map of the Nordic countries drafted in 1539 that depicts a sea serpent. A key problem with current risk management ...

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