Defining ‘Europe’ in Medieval European Geographical Discourse

About the Project

“Defining ‘Europe’ in Medieval European Geographical Discourse: the Image of the World and its Legacy, 1110-1500”.

This is a 3-year research project funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme VENI. The project commenced on February 1, 2017, at the The Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON),  Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University.

The Project

The project will show how the Image of the World, one of the most influential texts in European intellectual history which described the world as it was known (or imagined), contributed to the development of the idea of Europe.

The project has two primary objectives:

  • to understand the medieval geographical definition of Europe
  • to establish how this definition spread in the period 1110-1500

The project will examine the descriptions of Europe in the geographical section of Imago mundi, an encyclopedic text written in Latin in the twelfth century, and in its medieval European vernacular translations. In addition, it will address the issue of how the description of Europe might have changed in the course of transmission across linguistic, cultural and political boundaries, by including vernacular texts loosely based on the Imago mundi, as well as texts that constitute translations in the conventional sense of the word.