Home Travelling to the East. Marco Polo and the Mendicant Friars

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Published on Thursday, March 28, 2024

Abstract

During the two days that will take place in Venice on 25 and 26 October 2024, the aim is to celebrate the story of Marco Polo through a multidisciplinary approach that sees Polo as the most famous figure but also covers themes and characters equally worthy of in-depth study. The papers will be divided into three sections: the first will be of a historical-philological nature and the history of thought (The Dominicans and Marco Polo); the second dedicated to the discovery of the literary genre linked to the journey, with particular reference to the missionary one (The Periegetic and the Missions to the East); and finally a third section focusing on artistic aspects and cultural exchanges (The East of Silk and the Arts, Maps and Polo’s Iconographies).

Announcement

Argument

Marco Polo, whose seven centuries since his death (1254 - 1324) will be celebrated in 2024, can be considered, in his own right, a privileged witness of fruitful intercultural relations between the Western and Eastern worlds. According to St. Augustine, the world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page of it. The Venetian traveller was undoubtedly an extraordinary reader of the book of the world: a man of wonder and curiosity. Marco’s voyage, with his father Niccolò and his uncle Matteo Polo, becomes much more than a simple and never-ending commercial voyage: it is an epic in which various actors join in, often by small strokes, including religious and ecclesiastical figures, an expression of the Pope of Rome’s desire to understand the real extent of those “borders of the world”, towards which the missionary mandate of evangelical memory was oriented.

Undoubtedly, members of the Order of the Black Friars (Dominican Preachers), already well present in Marco Polo’s Venice, were among these ecclesiastical avant-garde wished by the pontiff. However, Fra Francesco Pipino, a Dominican friar who translated Marco Polo’s Il Milione into Latin between 1302 and 1315, partly condensing it and providing it with a new prologue, was not Venetian. Pippin, for this translation, perhaps the best known of all, did not however use the original text, but had recourse to a Venetian vulgarization. There was probably another Dominican Latin version of Il Milione, as can be deduced from archive documents showing links between the Venetian traveller and the Dominicans of the Serenissima. Members of the Order of Preachers, they advocated the spreading of the text in their preaching and teaching, not only in Italy, but also in France and England, combining approaches based on codicology, diplomatics, history, philology, religion and art history.

During the two days that will take place in Venice on 25 and 26 October 2024, the aim is to celebrate the story of Marco Polo through a multidisciplinary approach that sees Polo as the most famous figure but also covers themes and characters equally worthy of in-depth study. The papers will be divided into three sections: the first will be of a historical-philological nature and the history of thought (The Dominicans and Marco Polo); the second dedicated to the discovery of the literary genre linked to the journey, with particular reference to the missionary one (The Periegetic and the Missions to the East); and finally a third section focusing on artistic aspects and cultural exchanges (The East of Silk and the Arts, Maps and Polo’s Iconographies).

Topics

Subjects of specific interest for the thematic sections:

- Dominican manuscripts and scriptoria between Venice, Padua and Constantinople, locations of Dominican Studiorum- Mendicant Friars Narrators, between chronicle and apologetics- Travel narratives and geographical knowledge at the end of the Middle Ages

- The reception and diffusion of travel texts from antiquity, in the medieval period, between fiction and reality- Travel and otherness: encounter-clash between cultures and religious traditions- Between West and East: exchanges and identity claims among Christian communities in constant interaction

- Marco Polo’s Iconographies- The depiction of the Mendicant Friars and the mediated image of the East- Oriental souvenirs: trade between Europe and the Far East (the role of the missions)

Submission guidelines

Scholars and young academics are invited to send the title of their contribution and an abstract of at least 1500 characters, with a short CV to the following email address: dosti.marcopolo@gmail.com

by 7 April 2024

Proposals in Italian, English and French are accepted.

The Scientific Committee reserves the right to allocate some of the contribution proposals directly to the collection of proceedings to be published by the Institutum Historicum Ordinis Praedicatorum.

Scientific Committee

  • Prof. Gianni Festa, Professor of “Storia della Chiesa e di Teologia Spirituale” Facoltà Teologica dell’Emilia - Romagna (Bologna); Member of the Istituto Storico Domenicano, Roma.
  • Prof. Claudio Monge, Director of the Dominican Institute Dost-İ in Istanbul; Professor of Theology, Facoltà Teologica dell’Emilia - Romagna (Bologna)
  • Prof. Silvia Pedone, Professor of Medieval and Byzantine Art, Università degli Studi di Viterbo; Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei di Roma

Website conference

http://senpiyer.org/venice/

Places

  • Istituto di Studi Ecumenici “San Bernardino”, Biblioteca monumentale - Sestiere Castello 2786
    Venice, Italian Republic (30122)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Sunday, April 07, 2024

Keywords

  • Marco Polo, Mendicant Friars Narrators, travel literature, Religious identity, Travel and otherness

Contact(s)

  • Silvia Pedone
    courriel : silvia [dot] pedone [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Claudio Monge
    courriel : dosti [dot] marcopolo [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Travelling to the East. Marco Polo and the Mendicant Friars », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, March 28, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/w4ag

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