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

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

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Published on Wednesday, January 09, 2019


In the premodern world, geographical knowledge was heavily 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 (re)presenting geography.



‘Religious knowledge’ can be defined as forms of knowledge that develop by referring to seemingly unchanging revelatory or canonical traditions and texts. Thus, religious knowledge is not static, but evolves through continued actualisation.

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.


Thursday | 11 April 2019

09.00h Christoph Mauntel: Introduction

Section I: Geographic Concepts and Their Religious Content

09.15h Karen Pinto (Boise): What is ‘Islamic’ About Islamic Maps?

10.00h Christoph Mauntel (Tübingen): The T-O Map and its Religious Connotations – A Circum- stantial Case

10.45h Coffee Break

Section II: The Holy Land and its Place in Latin-Christian Geography

11.15h Ingrid Baumgärtner (Kassel): The Geography of the Holy Land. Burchard of Mount Sions’s Text and the Extant Maps

12.00h Emmanuelle Vagnon (Paris): When Religious Topography Meets the Geography of the Humanists: the Tabula moderna Terrae Sanctae in the 15th Century

12.45h Lunch Break

Section III: Traditional Knowledge in New Forms?

14.00h Stefan Schröder (Helsinki): Changing World Views and Religious Concepts of the Past – Meaning and Function of the Early 14th-Century ‘Transitional Maps’

14.45h Felicitas Schmieder (Hagen): The Globe as Mappa Mundi? Reflections on Terrestrial Globes from Around 1500

15.30h Coffee Break 

Section IV: Representing the World in Arab-Islamic Geography

16.00h Nadja Danilenko (Berlin): What’s Lord Got to Do With It? Grasping the Islamicate World Through al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms

16.45h 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

09.00h Nathalie Bouloux (Tours): Ordering and Reading the World: The Maps in Lambert of Saint-Omer’s Liber Floridus

09.45h Cornelia Dreer (Kassel): Knowledge, Faith and Pragmatism – The Maps in Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon

10.30h Coffee Break

Section VI: Locating and Narrating Religion(s) and Sacrality

11.00h Jean-Charles Ducène (Paris): Al-Idrīsī, the Geography and the Religions

11.45h Kurt Franz (Tübingen): Divinity in Yāqūt’s Lexicon of Peopled Places: A Reduction

12.30h Final Discussion


  • Castle Hohentübingen, Prince's Room
    Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany


  • Thursday, April 11, 2019
  • Friday, April 12, 2019


  • Middle Ages, Cartography, Geography, Religion


  • Christoph Mauntel
    courriel : christoph [dot] mauntel [at] uni-tuebingen [dot] de

Information source

  • Christoph Mauntel
    courriel : christoph [dot] mauntel [at] uni-tuebingen [dot] de


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

To cite this announcement

« Geography and Religious Knowledge in the Medieval World (1150–1550) », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, January 09, 2019, https://calenda.org/538837

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