Defining ‘Europe’ in Medieval European Geographical Discourse


Upcoming lecture

On 24 June, at 11.00am, Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies will host the final UCMS lecture of the academic year. Prof. Yu Onuma (Doshisha University) will give the lecture, entitled  ‘Migration of Marvels across Genres and the Ages’. The lecture will take place online via Zoom. All are welcome to attend. A link to the lecture can be received by emailing the request to ucms @uu. nl.


From the time of Homer to the advent of modern science, the land of the East was thought to be filled with wonders such as the Amazons, dog-headed people, and vegetable-lamb. This lecture will explore the paths of literary development travelled by such exotic marvels from the classical period to the medieval.

Research places the source of medieval marvels in the classical era; however, when we compare descriptions of identical marvels in classical and medieval literature, differences appear in the attitudes towards marvels. Moreover, these marvels are tamed in the later medieval period by being housed in encyclopedias typically compiled by friars. Through the analysis of how accounts of marvels are passed down across genres and the ages, this lecture identifies the characteristics of medieval marvels as well as the pattern of such literary migration.