Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies

Overview

Societies have typically reflected upon their place in the world in relation to the space in which they live, those who surround them, the universe, and divine forces that they believe determine their fate. In this fascinating volume, the editors bring together leading specialists who have analyzed the thoughts and records of a wide range of pre-modern societies from around the globe and across the ages. Some societies, like the Chinese, Greeks, and Arabs, have left extensive written cultural and scientific ...

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Overview

Societies have typically reflected upon their place in the world in relation to the space in which they live, those who surround them, the universe, and divine forces that they believe determine their fate. In this fascinating volume, the editors bring together leading specialists who have analyzed the thoughts and records of a wide range of pre-modern societies from around the globe and across the ages. Some societies, like the Chinese, Greeks, and Arabs, have left extensive written cultural and scientific documentation. Others, as in India and Mesopotamia, used myth and epic for memory and understanding. Still others, such as the Incas and Aztecs, did not write, but their ideas and beliefs can be recovered from later narratives, as well as from their artwork, monuments, and shaping of the landscape.

A wide range of common questions are examined, from evidence, interpretations, and methodology, to the way geographic and ethnographic concepts and views of the cosmos were developed and expressed. The resulting cross-cultural comparisons clearly describe the specific characteristics of these societies, how they differ and overlap. What emerges is a rich and astonishing variety of responses developed to meet universal challenges.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In sum, the editors, and the publisher, are to be congratulated on producing, a stimulating volume which provides expert guidance to many aspects of the foreign country which is the past." (Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science, 2011)

"The 20 papers originated in a workshop held at Brown University in March 2006 and fully reflect the series' world focus and broad definition of ancient societies." (CHOICE, July 2010)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kurt A. Raaflaub is David Herlihy University Professor, and Professor of Classics and History, at Brown University. His numerous publications include The Discovery of Freedom (2004) and Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece (2007, co-authored with Josiah Ober and Robert Wallace). He is also the editor of Social Struggles in Archaic Rome (Blackwell, 2005), and War and Peace in the Ancient World (Blackwell, 2007), and co-editor of A Companion to Archaic Greece (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).

Richard J.A. Talbert is William Rand Kenan, Jr, Professor of History and Classics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the editor of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (2000), and co-editor of Space in the Roman World: Its Perception and Presentation (2004), as well as of Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Fresh Perspectives, New Methods (2008). His major study Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered will appear in 2010.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

Notes on Contributors xi

Series Editor's Preface xvii

1 Introduction Richard J. A. Talbert Kurt A. Raaflaub 1

2 Where the Black Antelope Roam: Dharma and Human Geography in India Christopher Minkowski 9

3 Humans, Demons, Gods and Their Worlds: The Sacred and Scientific Cosmologies of India Kim Plofker 32

4 Structured Perceptions of Real and Imagined Landscapes in Early China Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu 43

5 Nonary Cosmography in Ancient China John B. Henderson 64

6 Knowledge of Other Cultures in China's Early Empires Michael Loewe 74

7 The Mississippian Peoples' Worldview Kathleen DuVal 89

8 Aztec Geography and Spatial Imagination Barbara E. Mundy 108

9 Inca Worldview Catherine Julien 128

10 Masters of the Four Corners of the Heavens: Views of the Universe in Early Mesopotamian Writings Piotr Michalowski 147

11 The World and the Geography of Otherness in Pharaonic Egypt Gerald Moers 169

12 On Earth as in Heaven: The Apocalyptic Vision of World Geography from Urzeit to Endzeit according to the Book of Jubilees James M. Scott 182

13 'I Know the Number of the Sand and the Measure of the Sea': Geography and Difference in the Early Greek World Susan Guettel Cole 197

14 Continents, Climates, and Cultures: Greek Theories of Global Structure James Romm 215

15 The Geographical Narrative of Strabo of Amasia Daniela Dueck 236

16 The Roman Worldview: Beyond Recovery? Richard J. A. Talbert 252

17 The Medieval Islamic Worldview: Arabic Geography in Its Historical Context Adam J. Silverstein 273

18 The Book of Curiosities: An Eleventh-Century Egyptian View of the Lands of the Infidels Emilie Savage-Smith 291

19 Geography and Ethnography in Medieval Europe: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Concerns Natalia Lozovsky 311

20 Europeans Plot the Wider World, 1500-1750 David Buisseret 330

Index 344

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