The view of nature of the early inhabitants of the British Isles from pre-Christian times through the Christianised Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the Middle Ages will be pursued from a perspective of the natural environment. In her Representations of the Natural World in Old English Poetry (1999), Jennifer Neville says that most of the depicted representations of the natural world show how the Anglo-Saxon writers viewed themselves, and how they perceived their place and all humankind in the cosmos. If her view is correct, the description of nature may be a key to understanding the state of humanity during the period of Old English poetry. After Neville, a number of scholars, including Nicolas Howe and Martin Carver, have analyzed the landscapes of Anglo-Saxon England. The ‘nature’ and ‘landscapes’ of the preceding research will be reviewed, and the formation of the views of nature, especially that of the author of Beowulf and others will be clarified
The chroniclers of the first Crusades describe the Silva Bulgariae not only as the first major hindrance on the expeditions’ way, but also as a wicked and fiendish land, inhabited by ferocious and untrustworthy people mirroring that savage environment. The Bulgarian Forest was portrayed as the physical manifestation of a shift between light and darkness, chivalry and viciousness, honesty and deceit. It was in many ways, moral and military, the real beginning of the crusade, the harbinger of the evil that the pilgrims were going to fight against in the Holy Land.
Comparing Western and Byzantine sources, the paper will attempt to analyse the actual relationship between the crusaders and the local inhabitants, out of the literary topoi that surround the image of the Medieval forest.
In the 1470s Hans Memling began to produce non-profile, bust-like portraits with landscape backdrops. These portraits-with-landscape were innovative and proved popular with both Flemish, patrician families and Italian merchant bankers working in Bruges. Memling’s importance in the development of portraiture has been acknowledged but there has been no reflection on the type and function of the landscape features used in his portraits. In my paper I shall describe the landscape features Memling uses and reflect on the ways in which the choice and organisation of these features provide clues as to what landscape meant to Memling’s bourgeois patrons.