Geography and Religious Knowledge in the Medieval World (1150–1550)

Christoph Mauntel's picture
April 11, 2019 to April 12, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Geography, Islamic History / Studies, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, European History / Studies

In the premodern world, geographical knowledge was influenced by religious ideas and beliefs. The conference seeks to analyse, how the religious character of geographic knowledge in the period from ca. 1150 to 1550 lingered on in classical as well as new forms of presenting geography. To open up a comparative perspective, case studies of Latin-Christian works are complemented by examples of the Arabic-Islamic geographic tradition. The focus lies on sources that combine texts with cartographic depictions, be it maps of the known world or of its parts or regions. This approach ties in with recent developments in the history of cartography, i.e. analysing maps not isolated from their manuscript context, but in close connection to it.

The contributions of the conference aim to show to what extent the religious framing and coining of geographical knowledge continued and changed since the twelfth century.  Secondly, the comparative perspective is intended to capture traditional peculiarities as well as transcultural exchange processes between the Arab-Muslim and the Latin-Christian world. Thirdly, the uniformity/variety of forms of representation (text and image) and transmission (different variants) of a given case study is to be taken into account. On the basis of these premises, the conference is designed to bring together leading experts, to take up current perspectives of research, to deepen the understanding of the examples analysed and thus to provide strong impulses for further studies.


Conference Programme

Thursday | 11 April 2019
09.00 h  Christoph Mauntel: Introduction

Section I: Geographic Concepts and Their Religious Content
09.15 h  Karen Pinto (Boise): What is ‘Islamic’ About Islamic Maps?
10.00 h  Christoph Mauntel (Tübingen): The T-O Map and its Religious Connotations – A Circum- stantial Case
10.45 h  Coffee Break

Section II: The Holy Land and its Place in Latin-Christian Geography
11.15 h  Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel): The Geography of the Holy Land. Burchard of Mount Sions’s Text and the Extant Maps
12.00 h  Emmanuelle Vagnon (Paris): When Religious Topography Meets the Geography of the Humanists: the Tabula moderna Terrae Sanctae in the 15th Century
12.45 h  Lunch Break

Section III: Traditional Knowledge in New Forms?
14.00 h  Stefan Schröder (Helsinki): Changing World Views and Religious Concepts of the Past – Meaning and Function of the Early 14th-Century ‘Transitional Maps’
14.45 h  Felicitas Schmieder (Hagen): The Globe as Mappa Mundi? Reflections on Terrestrial Globes from Around 1500
15.30 h  Coffee Break

Section IV: Representing the World in Arab-Islamic Geography
16.00 h  Nadja Danilenko (Berlin): What’s Lord Got to Do With It? Grasping the Islamicate World Through al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms
16.45 h  Mónica Herrera Casais (Berlin):     Winds and Lunar Phases at the Service of Religion and the Nautical Image of the Mediterranean

Friday | 12 April 2019
Section V: Representing the World in Latin-Christian Geography
09.00 h  Nathalie Bouloux (Tours): Ordering and Reading the World: The Maps in Lambert of Saint-Omer’s Liber Floridus
09.45 h  Cornelia Dreer (Kassel): Knowledge, Faith and Pragmatism – The Maps in Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon
10.30 h  Coffee Break
Section VI: Locating and Narrating Religion(s) and Sacrality
11.00 h   Jean-Charles Ducène (Paris): Al-Idrīsī, the Geography and the Religions
11.45 h   Kurt Franz (Tübingen): Divinity in Yāqūt’s Lexicon of Peopled Places: A Reduction
12.30 h   Final Discussion

Contact Info: 

Christoph Mauntel, University of Tübingen, RTG “Religious Knowledge in Premodern Europe (800-1800)”