The Indies and the Medieval West: thought, report, imagination,
Turnhout, BE, Brepols
(Medieval Voyaging, 2).
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This volume offers a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary treatment of European representations of the Indies between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries.
This volume offers a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary treatment of European representations of the Indies between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries. Drawing on encyclopaedias, cosmographies and cartography, romance, hagiography, and legend, it traces the influence of classical, late antique, and early medieval ideas on the later medieval geographical imagination, including the imagined and experienced Indies of European travellers. Addressing the evidence of Latin and vernacular manuscripts, the book explores readers’ encounters with the most widely read travellers’ accounts, in particular, those of Marco Polo, Odorico da Pordenone, and Niccolò Conti. Chapters on The Book of Sir John Mandeville, medieval Europe’s most idiosyncratic yet popular work of geography, alongside world maps produced across Europe, point to the ways in which representations of the Indies were inflected by temporal concerns, specifically, their relationship to Latin Christendom’s past, present, and future. The Indies relates the texts, documents, maps, and manuscripts it discusses closely to the changing ideological concerns of their times, notably those of mission and conversion, crusade, conquest, and economics. Nonetheless, the relationships that the work delineates between spatial representations and notions of dominance, whether religious, political, economic, or epistemic, have implications for the post-medieval world.
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