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

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9146-3
376 pages
February 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies (1405191465) cover image
This fascinating volume brings together leading specialists, who have analyzed the thoughts and records documenting the worldviews of a wide range of pre-modern societies.
  • Presents evidence from across the ages; from antiquity through to the Age of Discovery
  • Provides cross-cultural comparison of ancient societies around the globe, from the Chinese to the Incas and Aztecs, from the Greeks and Romans to the peoples of ancient India
  • Explores newly discovered medieval Islamic materials

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List of Figures vii

Notes on Contributors xi

Series Editor's Preface xvii

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

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

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

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

5 Nonary Cosmography in Ancient China 64
John B. Henderson

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

7 The Mississippian Peoples’ Worldview 89
Kathleen DuVal

8 Aztec Geography and Spatial Imagination 108
Barbara E. Mundy

9 Inca Worldview 128
Catherine Julien

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

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

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

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

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

15 The Geographical Narrative of Strabo of Amasia 236
Daniela Dueck

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

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

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

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

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

Index 344

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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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  • Presents with a global perspective the worldviews of a wide range of pre-modern societies, from antiquity through to the Age of Discovery
  • Brings together in one volume the leading scholars on numerous pre-modern cultures
  • Provides cross-cultural comparison of ancient societies, from the Chinese to the Incas and Aztecs, from the Greeks and Romans to the peoples of ancient India
  • Explores newly discovered medieval Islamic materials
See More
"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)

“Inspirational in conception, seamless in execution, and exemplary in cohesion, this book of twenty well-written essays on the diversity of world views from antiquity to the sixteenth century has an important message for modern ‘one world’ globalism.”
Catherine Delano-Smith, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

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