Session1
TitleKeynote Lectures 2010:
Date/TimeMonday 12 July 2010: 09.00-10.30
 
SponsorBoydell & Brewer, Woodbridge
 
SpeakerDionisius A. Agius, Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
Patrick Gautier Dalché, Section des Sciences Historiques et Philologiques, Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes, Paris / Section des Sciences Historiques et Philologiques, École Practique des Hautes Études, Paris
 
IntroductionFelicitas Schmieder, Historisches Institut, FernUniversität in Hagen
 
AbstractMaps, Travel, and Exploration in the Middle Ages (Language: English), Patrick Gautier Dalché, Section des Sciences historiques et philologiques, Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes, Paris / Section des Sciences Historiques et Philologiques, Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, Paris
'In these seas, horrors beyond count befell [us]': Travel in Medieval Islam (Language: English), Dionisius A. Agius, Institute for Arab & Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

Abstract 'Maps, Travel, and Exploration':
Whatever their types and their scales, maps, during the Middle Ages, served multiple functions, which cannot be reduced today to one model. Whether on real travels, such as pilgrimages or commercial navigations, or for imaginary itineraries and contemplative journeys, they were used as basis for comparison with textual descriptions and gave rise to complex intellectual reflexions. From the beginning of the 15th century, they have also been used to consider the practical possibilities of exploring the orbis terrarum and to register the results of such explorations, two uncertain operations which the contradictory types of maps used by sailors and scholars made even more complicated. Based upon several examples, this lecture will explore various aspects of the practical functions of maps in the medieval world.

Abstract 'Travel in Medieval Islam':
The terrors of the sea were many: what passengers feared most was the loss of their lives through gales and storms or that their ships would be wrecked on rocks. The only way perhaps to save themselves was to jettison the cargo and the mast overboard. So why did Muslims choose the sea in spite of its obvious dangers? They took to the sea because the route was shorter and less dangerous than the attacks from the Bedouin tribes of the desert. The subject of sea transportation has been covered by several medieval Muslim geographers, historians and travellers: this lecture will take three cases based on the works of the Iraqi merchant, al-Mas'udi (d. 345/956-7), the Persian sea captain, Buzurg ibn Shahriyar (d. 399/1009), and the Andalusian traveller, Ibn Jubayr (d. 614/1217-8).

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis. In contrast to previous years there will be no tickets for the event. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment (the room will be open 15 minutes before the beginning of the lecture). In addition to the lecture there will be a video relay in the adjacent Headingley Room where the same rule applies.