IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 218: Blending the Boundaries: The Four Elements in the Middle Ages, I - Earth and Water

Monday 6 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Queen's University Belfast
Organisers:Marilina Cesario, School of Arts, English & Languages, Queen's University Belfast
Elisa Ramazzina, School of Arts, English & Languages, Queen's University Belfast
Moderator/Chair:Helen Appleton, Balliol College, University of Oxford
Paper 218-a'Wormes woweth under cloude': Animal Collaboration and Working the Earth in Medieval English Lyrics and Bestiaries
(Language: English)
Alexandra Paddock, Faculty of English University of Oxford
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Science, Teaching the Middle Ages
Paper 218-bEarth: The World as Bird in Medieval Islamic Maps
(Language: English)
Karen Pinto, Department of History, Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Mentalities, Science
Paper 218-c'The boiling hot water, that punishes the dead in hell, is the same one that, sent to us, brings us help': Bathing in the Middle Ages between Medicine and Allegory
(Language: English)
Elisa Ramazzina, School of Arts, English & Languages, Queen's University Belfast
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Language and Literature - Italian, Medicine, Science
Abstract

This is the first of two sessions exploring the four elements in the medieval worldview. The elements – earth, water, air, and fire – constituted the macrocosm. The human body, being a reflection of the macrocosm, was considered a microcosm, and was thus composed of four humours, each related to a specific element, the imbalance of which caused disease. The two sessions examine the elements as wide natural categories, that is either as boundaries or as ‘bridges’ between the microcosm and the macrocosm. The first session considers Earth and Water from different perspectives and in a variety of contexts. It will explore earth in medieval English lyrics and bestiaries and in medieval Islamic world maps. Water will then be analysed in Middle High German texts and medieval Italian medical literature.