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The shaping of Africa : cosmographic discourse and cartographic science in late medieval and early modern Europe /
Francesc Relaño.
imprint
Aldershot, England : Ashgate, c2002.
description
x, 271 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0754602397 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Aldershot, England : Ashgate, c2002.
isbn
0754602397 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4823115
 
Includes bibliographical references (p.[221]-263) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Francesc Relano is Assistant Professor, Sciences Politique Paris, at the Campus of Poitiers, Paris.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-09-01:
This work describes the development of geographical knowledge about Africa and its representation on maps from the Middle Ages through the end of the 16th century. It is the author's contention that Africa was not conceived of as a continent until the Renaissance but was viewed as three unrelated entities: "Africa pars," or Mediterranean Africa; "the Antioeci," or Antipodes; and "Ethiopia." Relano characterizes the change in mapping as moving from the "closed, symbolic space" of the medieval period to the "open, Euclidean space" of the later era. The author is most enlightening on the steady progress of African exploration and its reflection on a series of maps, beginning in the 15th century. His treatment of the Middle Ages is less satisfying, being oversimplified and, in some cases, based on dated secondary material. Although his subject is Africa, Relano should have pointed out that other continents were also poorly understood in their further reaches. He tends to dismiss the limited knowledge of the past as "fantastical" and "mythological." The black-and-white illustrations are clearly reproduced but are mostly too small to read the inscriptions or see the features discussed. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. E. Edson Piedmont Virginia Community College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2003
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Summaries
Long Description
When did Africa emerge as a continent in the European mind? This book aims to trace the origins of the idea of Africa and its evolution in Renaissance thought. Particular attention is given to the relationship between the process of acquiring knowledge through travel and exploration, and its representation within a discourse which also includes previously acquired cosmographical elements.Among the themes investigated are: How did the image of Africa evolve from the conception of a symbolic space to a Euclidean representation? How did the Renaissance rediscovery of Antiquity interact with the Portuguese discoveries along the African coast? And once Africa was circumnavigated, how was the inner landmass depicted in the absence of first-hand knowledge? Also, overall, in this whole process what was the interplay of myth and reality?
Main Description
When did Africa emerge as a continent in the European mind? This book aims to trace the origins of the idea of Africa and its evolution in Renaissance thought. Particular attention is given to the relationship between the process of acquiring knowledge through travel and exploration, and its representation within a discourse which also includes previously acquired cosmographical elements.Among the themes investigated are: How did the image of Africa evolve from the conception of a symbolic space to a Euclidean representation? How did the Renaissance rediscovery of Antiquity interact with the Portuguese discoveries along the African coast? And once Africa was circumnavigated, how was the inner landmass depicted in the absence of first-hand knowledge? And, overall, in this whole process what was the interplay of myth and reality?
Table of Contents
List of Mapsp. vii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
The African Puzzle
Canon and variations on the medieval ecumenep. 7
Marvels at the southern edge of the worldp. 23
Prester John: the migration of a legendp. 51
The Limits of Symbolic Space: From Allegorical Geometry to a Figurative World
Displaying Ham's territoryp. 75
The impact of portolan chartsp. 91
From the mirror of the oceanp. 117
Charting Euclidean Space: The Cartography of the Great Discoveries
Beyond the Pillars of Herculesp. 149
From mare clausum to mare liberump. 161
Towards the Indian Ocean and the Red Seap. 177
From the Form to the Contents: The Design of the Unknown
Ptolemy shifted, and yet the samep. 187
The Mountains of the Moonp. 197
The Great Central Lakep. 205
Conclusions: The Projection of the Renaissance Traditionp. 215
Bibliographyp. 221
Indexp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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