“Political and religious messages“
New volume “Maps and Travel in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period“
The volume "Maps and Travel in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period", edited by Prof. Dr. Katrin Kogman‐Appel, professor of Jewish Studies, discusses the world as it was known in the Medieval and Early Modern periods, focusing on projects concerned with mapping as a conceptual and artistic practice, with visual representations of space, and with destinations of real and fictive travel. Maps were often taken as straightforward, objective configurations. However, they expose deeply subjective frameworks with social, political, and economic significance. Travel narratives, whether illustrated or not, can address similar frameworks. Whereas travelled space is often adventurous, and speaking of hardship, strange encounters and danger, city portraits tell a tale of civilized life and civic pride. The book seeks to address the multiple ways in which maps and travel literature conceive of the world, communicate a 'Weltbild', depict space, and/or define knowledge.
As reflections of complex Weltbilder medieval maps and travel accounts offer interpretations of social and cultural data with strong political and religious implications. Maps were often elaborate works of art intended for the public display and carrying political and religious messages. They were constantly entangled with religious Weltbilder, political constructs, and the urge to acquire and collect knowledge. Premodern travel touched upon similar schemes. Medieval and early modern travelers set out on various kinds of mission, often as diplomats and missionaries and, thus, driven by both political and religious motivation. (exc/maz)