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Hymn to God, My God, in my Sickness

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Presentation on theme: "Hymn to God, My God, in my Sickness"— Presentation transcript:

1 Hymn to God, My God, in my Sickness
John Donne ( )

2 Cosmographers -- maps Dying moment Physicians ~ cosmographers
(1) body and map (2) mission and the world (3) cognitive map

3 Magellan

4 Per fretum febris Per fretum febris: through the straits of fever, with a pun on straits Dying of fever A voyage A mission to the end of the world

5 Note In one of his sermons Donne writes: "In a flat Map there goes no more to make West East, though they be distant in an extremity but to paste that flat map upon a round body, and then West and East are all one ... conforme thee to him [Christ] and thy West is East ... the name of Christ is Oriens, the East....''

6 Antipodes (from Greek anti- "opposed" and pous "foot") means "diametrically opposed",
and more specifically refers to the opposite side of the Earth, the region of the antipodal point, and those to those living there. In Britain in particular, "The Antipodes" is often used to refer to Australia and New Zealand.  the international dateline

7  The medieval/ Latin world
The Latin word changed its sense form the original "under the feet, opposite side" to "those with the feet opposite", i. e. a bahuvrihi referring to hypothetical people living on the opposite side of the Earth. Medieval illustrations imagine them in some way "inverted", with their feet growing out of their heads, pointing upward.

8 Augustine’s argument Saint Augustine (354–430) argued against people inhabiting the antipodes and called them a "fable" (City of God, xvi, 9).

9 antipodes Turing upside down! The flat earth or the sphere?
The exotic landscape The myth of the unknown

10 Antipodes/world upside down

11 Inhabitable? The Antipodes Islands (49°41’ S 178°48’ E) are an inhospitable uninhabited island group to the south of—and territorially part of—New Zealand. They lie 650 kilometres to the southeast of Stewart Island.  World view in the Christian Topography, Cosmas Indicopleutes, 6th century

12 A Bibliophile in the Antipodes
Reading: click here.  islands at the bottom of the world.

13 Is Pacific See my Home?! Spiritual home Religious mission
Ultimate goal in life The origin of humans Leap and resurrection --the term “pacific”?

14 The Pacific Ocean (from the Latin name Mare Pacificum, "peaceful sea", bestowed upon it by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan) is the world's largest body of water. The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan named the ocean. For most of his voyage from the Straits of Magellan to the Philippines, Magellan indeed found the ocean peaceful.

15 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Strait of Magellan at dawn

16 The Strait of Magellan On May 23, 1843 Chile took possession of the channel, under whose sovereignty it remains as of On the coast of the Strait lies the city of Punta Arenas and the village of Porvenir. This path was crossed by early explorers, including Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, Charles Darwin, among others. Prospectors during the 1849 California gold rush used this route as well. Retrieved from ""

17 Peaceful? However, the Pacific is not always peaceful. Many typhoons and hurricanes batter the islands of the Pacific and the lands around the Pacific rim are full of volcanoes and often rocked by earthquakes.

18 Modern Globe

19 The Strait of Magellan a navigable route immediately south of mainland South America Arguably the most important natural passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans considered a difficult route to navigate because of the inhospitable climate and the narrowness of the passage.

20 The schematic map 1493 T - O Map Translation

21 Mappae mundi Medieval world maps are mental maps.
They are composed by geographical experience, literary knowledge and philosophical speculation. The three continents of medieval world, Asia, Europe, and Africa, In the fairest East was situated the Paradise, surrounded by high mountains or deep waters, and inaccessible to mankind. But in the neighbourhood you could find golden mountains and medicine giving eternal youth. Terrible tribes in northern Asia always tried to leave their territories behind the Caucuses and to devaste the rest of the world. In the south of Africa were situated series of monsters deformed by the bad conditions of the arride climate. The Christendom, facing this Orbis terrarum, went through a hot-cold treatment of defensive fear and aggressive curiosity. Its learned men were able to enlarge their fields of experience within a crazy idea of global structure inherited by ancient and biblical authorities. This idea of the universe was full of errors, but it worked. Moreover, form studying medieval world maps we can learn much about mnemonics nowadays called "mental mapping".

22 Christian Topography of Cosmas Indicopleustes
(COSMAS THE INDIAN VOYAGER) A Greek traveller and geographer of the first half of the sixth century, b. at Alexandria, Egypt. Cosmas probably received only an elementary education, as he was intended for a mercantile life, and in his earlier years was engaged in business pursuits. It may be, however, that by further study he increased his knowledge, since his notes and observations show more than ordinary training. His business took him to the regions lying south of Egypt, the farthest point of his travels in this direction being Cape Guardafui. He traversed the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and gathered information about lands lying far to the East; but it is not certain that he actually visited India. In his later years he entered the monastery of Raithu on the Peninsula of Sinai. If it be necessary to suppose, as some investigators assert, that Cosmas was at any time a Nestorian, it would appear from his work, the "Christian Topography", that, at least towards the close of his life, he returned to the orthodox faith. While an inmate of the monastery he wrote the "Topography" above mentioned, a work which gives him a position of importance among the geographers of the early Middle Ages.

23 Tabernacle world view in the Christian Topography, Cosmas Indicopleutes, 6th century



26 Illustrations from the Christian Topography (Montfaucon)

27 Redrawing of Cosmas Indicopleustes' world picture, 6 th century

28 Redrawing of Cosmas Indicopleustes' world picture, 6 th century

29 Isidore of Seville   Isidore of Seville was born in the latter half of the sixth century (the exact date is unknown) and died around 636 CE. Little is known of his early life. A biography of Isidore was supposedly written in the thirteenth century by Lucas Tudensis (in the Acta Sanctorum), but it is mostly fable and cannot be trusted. His family originated in Cartagena; they were orthodox Catholic and probably Roman, and were likely a family with some power and influence. Isidore's parents died while he was young, leaving him in the care of his older brother, Leander. Isidore probably received a classical education, intended to prepare him for a life in service to the Church. His brother Leander became a monk, and later was raised to the position of bishop of Seville; Isidore succeeded him as bishop around 600 CE, a post he held to the end of his life. He was a respected figure in the Church, as can be seen from the introduction to his works written by Braulio, bishop of Saragossa: "Isidore, a man of greate distinction, bishop of the church of Seville, successor and brother of bishop Leander, flourished from the time of Emperor Maurice and King Reccared. In him antiquity reasserted itself--or rather, our time laid in him a picture of the wisdom of antiquity: a man practiced in every form of speech, he adapted himself in the quality of his words to the ignorant and the learned, and was distinguished for unequalled eloquence when there was fit opportunity. Furthermore, the intelligent reader will be able to understand easily from his diversified studies and the works he has completed, how great was his wisdom."  (Brehaut, p. 23) Isidore was known mostly for his writing. He was the author of several books: the Differentiae, an exposition on the differences of words and things; the Proemia, a description of the books of the Bible; the De Ortu et Obitu Patrum, on the works and deaths of the Church fathers; the Officia, an explanation of church ritual; the De Natura Rerum, "on the nature of things," a description of the universe as it was known in the seventh century; the Liber Numerorum, nominally on the "science of arithemetic" but actually on the mystical meaning of numbers used in the Bible; the Chronica, a history of the world from creation to his own time; The Allegoriae, on the allegories attributed to Bible stories; the Sententiae, a treatise on Christian morals and doctrine, based chiefly on the Moralia of Gregory the Great; the De Ordine Creaturarum, on the spiritual and material universe; and the Etymologiae, an encyclopedia of all knowledge. It is the Etymologies that proved most useful to the later compilers of the bestiaries. In it Isidore attempted to set down, in twenty volumes, the basics of all that was known on a vast range of topics, including grammar, rhetoric and logic; arithematic, geometry, and astronomy; law, military science and theology; cosmology; and agriculture, mineralogy, physiology and zoology, among others. There is very little that is original in the Etymologies Isidore "borrowed" from the works of such earlier writers as Pliny the Elder, Solinus, Aristotle, Justinius, Lucretius, Cassiodorus, Servius, Suetonius, Hyginus, Ambrose, Augustine, Orosius, Tertullian, Sallust, Hegesippus, and many others. While Isidore was certainly well-read, his reading was not critical: he accepted most of what he read without question, only rarely expressing doubt about the information he appropriated. His main goal throughout the Etymologies is not only to record facts, but to assign meaning, usually, as the title suggests, through etymology. Etymology is the study of the histories of words, an attempt to trace their development back to their origins. Isidore believed that the names of things gave some insight into the properties of those things; he further believed that the original names were assigned in the "first language," Hebrew. In the introduction the book on animals, Isidore says: "Adam first named all living creatures, assigning a name to each in accordance with its purpose at that time, in view of the nature it was to be subject to. But the nations have named all animals in their own languages. But Adam did not give those names in the language of the Greeks or Romans or any barbaric people, but in that one of all languages which existed before the flood, and is called Hebrew."  (Brehaut translation) For the most part, Isidore's etymological analysis is fanciful at best, generally linking the names of things to unrelated words that merely have a similar sound or form, in order to get the meaning he wants. The derivations are based on Latin or Greek words; for example: "Bees [in Latin apes] are so called either because they bind themselves together with their feet [in Latin pes] or because they are born without feet [a-pes]..."  (Grant translation); or "The eagle [aquila] is so called from its sharpness [acumine] of sight."  (Brehaut translation). Book 12 of the Etymologies is about animals. Isidore took much of his information from Aristotle and Pliny, who also wrote about real and imaginary animals. Isidore, as usual, accepted whatever his sources told him; observation of the real world has little part in his "zoology." However, unlike the earlier Physiologus, Isidore did not include any moralizations or allegory in his beast stories. The compilers of the later bestiaries quoted Isidore extensively and added the allegory Isidore left out. For example, in the Aberdeen Bestiary (f. 37v) we find: "In his book of Etymologies, Isidore says that the raven picks out the eyes in corpses first, as the Devil destroys the capacity for judgement in carnal men, and proceeds to extract the brain through the eye. The raven extracts the brain through the eye, as the Devil, when it has destroyed our capacity for judgement, destroys our mental faculties." In fact, Isidore supplied only the basic "facts" about the raven; the allegory was from other sources. Philippe de Thaon in his Bestiaire quotes Isidore on the ant: "...Isidore speaks of the ant in his writing, and shows the reason well why it is named formica It is fortis (strong), and carries mica (a particle), that is the meaning of the name; there is no creature of so small a shape, which carries by its own force so great a burden..."  (Wright translation), in this case repeating Isidore's etymology, as was often done. While it is easy to be critical of Isidore's credulity, we must remember that he was not a "scientist" in the modern sense, and that his purpose in gathering the information found in the Etymologies was not the same as that of the compilers of modern encyclopedias. As  Brehaut (p. 33) says: "Throughout the Etymologies there is a leading principle which guides Isidore in his handling of the different subjects, namely, his attitude toward words. His idea was that the road to knowledge was by way of words, and further, that they were to be elucidated by reference to their origin rather than to the things they stood for. ... His confidence in words really amounted to a belief, strong though perhaps somewhat inarticulate, that words were transcendental entities. All he had to do, he believed, was to clear away the misconceptions about their meaning, and set it forth in its true original sense; then, of their own accord, they would attach themselves to the general scheme of truth. The task of first importance, therefore, in treating any subject, was to seize upon the leading terms and trace them back to the meanings which they had in the beginning, before they had been contaminated by the false usage of the poets and other heathen writers; thus the truth would be found."




33 Interpretive redrawing of the St. Sever Beatus world map


35 Cosmas Indicopleustes' world picture, ca. 560



38 Sciopod on world map. Beatus of Liebana, Commentary on the Book of Revelations. Friedman, 50.
Some maps were highly religious. This theological maps demonstrated the relative importance of people or places on the map by their distance from the center, which functioned as the center of the religion. Maps, like the one above, depicted Christ as part of the geography.  Places that were most Christian, i.e. civilized were placed close to Christ, whereas the monstrous, non-Christian people were placed far away from Him. Other maps functioned in a similar way, except they placed Jerusalem at the center of the world, as opposed to Jesus Christ.

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