This module focuses on the way in which the medieval world is represented in visual form through maps and diagrams: images which have to this day remained crucial to the organisation, communication and transmission of knowledge. Through the analysis of key examples we will assess how the cosmos was imagined in its overall structure and its individual components (including phenomena such as the movement of the planets, and the relationship between the four elements), and how the known world was visualised in its geographical and historical dimensions. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries witnessed important developments in the way in which this type of knowledge was laid out and visualised, and we will thus begin in the early twelfth century with images in Lambert of Saint-Omer's important encyclopaedia Liber Floridus, and end around 1300 with the famous Hereford and Ebstorf world maps.
Module learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students should have acquired:
a good knowledge of key examples of medieval maps and diagrams of the period
acquaintance with their intellectual and cultural contexts
an understanding of the debates about and approaches to the subject
% of module mark
Special assessment rules
% of module mark
Feedback on summative assessment within 20 working days.
Evelyn Edson, Mapping time and space: how medieval mapmakers viewed their world (London, 1997)
Evelyn Edson and Emilie Savage-Smith, Medieval Views of the Cosmos: Picturing the Universe in the Christian and Islamic Middle Ages (Oxford, 2004)
Michael Evans, 'The Geometry of the Mind', in Architectural Association Quarterly 12/4 (1980), pp. 32-55
P. D. A. Harvey (ed.), The Hereford World Map: Medieval World Maps and their Context (London, 2006)
Sybille Krämer, "Epistemology of the Line. Reflections on the Diagrammatical Mind", in: Studies in Diagrammatology and Diagram Praxis, ed. by Alexander Gerner and Olga Pombo(London, 2010), pp. 13-38
Pippa Salonius and Andrea Worm (eds), The Tree: Symbol, Allegory, and Mnemonic Device in Medieval Art and Thought (Turnhout, 2014), pp. 1-12
John E. Murdoch, 'Album of Science: Antiquity and the Middle Ages (New York, 1984)
James Elkins, 'The Domain of Images' (New York, 1999), pp. 3-12
Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses
The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.
Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.