Defining ‘Europe’ in Medieval European Geographical Discourse


New Book

Natalia Petrovskaia’s edition of the medieval Welsh translation of the Imago mundi has just been published as part of the MHRA Library of Medieval Welsh Literature.

This edition presents extracts from the medieval Welsh encyclopedia Delw y Byd. A medieval Welsh translation of the first book of the Latin encyclopedia known as Imago Mundi, written by Honorius Augustodunensis in the first quarter of the twelfth century, this text is a fine example of the ties between the intellectual world of Europe and Wales in the late-twelfth/early-thirteenth centuries, when the text was translated, ties that brought across the scientific knowledge based on Roman and late antique sources. Structured according to the four elements: earth, water, air and fire, the text presents geographical, anthropological, and astronomical information, often with historical and mythological contexts. The present edition follows that organizational principle, providing a glimpse into the medieval understanding of the overarching structure of the universe.

The text is presented in its historical and literary context, with an updated account of its transmission. A commentary on the scientific context of the most interesting passages is provided, as well as a linguistic one. The edition also provides an overview of the variants by printing parallel texts based on all surviving medieval manuscript witnesses for a number of selected chapters. This includes sections of two previously unpublished medieval witnesses of the text. The accompanying glossary includes vocabulary from all extracts included in the edition.

Research leading up to this edition was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The edition is available in hard cover, paperback, and as JSTOR e-book.

ISBN: 978-1-781889-49-7 (hardback)

ISBN: 978-1-781889-50-3 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-781889-51-0 (JSTOR ebook)

A GoogleBooks preview is available here.