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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 1028: Entangled Imaginations of Bodies and Spaces from the Cloister to the Universe

Wednesday 5 July 2023, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Armin Bergmeier, Fakultät für Geschichte, Kunst- und Orientwissenschaften, Universität Leipzig
Paper 1028-aOf Monsters and Men: Representing Border-Crossing Corpora in Early Medieval England
(Language: English)
Emily Sun, Department of English, Harvard University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1028-bWhat a 'Body' Globally Interconnects in the Medieval Discourse: The Diagrammatic Resonance of the Universe from Mappaemundi to Chinese Astronomy Coins
(Language: English)
Canchen Cao, School of Humanities (History), University of Glasgow
Index terms: Archaeology - Artefacts, Art History - General, Medicine, Science
Paper 1028-c'The region of Palestine borders upon Italy': Geographic Prophecy in the Joachite Tradition
(Language: English)
Thomas Maurer, Department of History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Geography and Settlement Studies, Local History, Mentalities

Paper -a:
As an early medieval English mirabilia, the Wonders of the East displays Eastern bodies not only as exotic and monstrous chimeras in the literal sense, but also in the literary sense, as these many species' tidings are variously fragmented, recombined, and entangled with one another to constitute Wonders. Such border-crossing bodies also display monstrousness in the etymological sense (to show, to indicate). In the Liber monstrorum, washed-up bodies harbour signifying potential, mutely asking to be narrativised and made meaningful by those encountering them on shore. Ultimately, the consequences of speaking for others, which can be corrupting and othering - can also be generative, enabling the production and circulation of narratives across borders and seas.

Paper -b:
This paper aims to demonstrate how the human body has evolved into a fundamental spatial unit for understanding the geography and cosmography of the Middle Ages. It discerns how medieval representations of the entire universe relating to the 'body' are globally understood, constructed, and diagrammed. The research looks specifically at the diagrammatic resonance between the globe and the space of the human body as represented by mediaeval T-O shape world maps, rose windows, and ancient Chinese astronomy coins. Aided by discussing the physiological and anatomical components of each 'bodily' image from west to east, this paper will uncover the interconnections between western and eastern theological beliefs and scientific ideas of human bodies in the context of the global Middle Ages.

Paper -c:
This paper proposes a new lens for analysing 13th-century apocalypticism: geographic prophecy. Medieval apocalypticism was heavily influenced by Joachim of Fiore's apocalyptic writings, which utilized a theory of concordance between the Old and New Testaments. Most studies on Joachim and his influence focus on individual figures such as the Emperor Frederick II and his role as the final Antichrist. My paper, however, will argue that Joachim’s influence via 'pseudo-Joachite' prophecies, were heavily geographic in nature. Texts such as Super Hieremiam drew wide-ranging concordances between biblical tribes such as the Philistines and Babylonians with contemporary regions such as Italy and Germany. Local Italian authors delighted in placing their home cities and regions within the same prophetic framework alongside angelic orders and rampaging Antichrists. Geographic prophecy provided an avenue for local prophetic networks, allowing the citizens of medieval Italy to place themselves within a wider eschatology.