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Orosius’ description of the world: influence, adaptation and interpolation

Thursday 23 November 2017, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Alfred Hieatt (Queen Mary University London)

The second chapter of Orosius’ Historiae adversus paganos provides a relatively detailed description of the known world. This description, which circulated independently, as well as within the Historiae, exerted particular influence on spatial representation in the Latin west, becoming inter alia an important source for mappae mundi such as the Cotton and Hereford world maps. This paper will consider the original purpose of Orosius’ geography – is it an appendage, or an integral part of the Historiae? – before outlining its transmission and adaptation. The final part of the discussion will focus on the Old English Orosius, and its two major spatial interpolations into the Latin text: a verbal map of Germania, and the descriptions of Scandinavian lands provided by Ohthere and Wulfstan.

Location: Treehouse, Berrick Saul