Pour une histoire de l’espace au Moyen Âge : Méthodologies croisées

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Navigating spaces? Geographical encounters and the multiple 'mapping worlds' of later medieval Bristol.
This paper focuses on a visual depiction of the city of Bristol which appears in a civic book begun in c.1480. The image of Bristol, attributed to Robert Ricart, the town clerk, has been described as a 'map', or a 'plan', of the city, and seemingly is the first of its type in England. Placed in a mayor's register created for one of England's most wealthy cities of the fifteenth century, the presence of this unique 'map' can only be understood - I argue - if we think further about the locales of medieval geographic production and consumption. Why in Bristol, and why in 1480, does this visual representation of the city appear has much to do with what is happening in the city at this time, and the place Bristol occupies in
the wider interconnected world of later medieval England. Using Ricart's map as a starting point, the paper explores the various geographical encounters, past and present, that are embedded in it, as well as its links to the pursuit of geographical futures at this time, of Bristol's role in an expanding Atlantic
world. Navigating the spaces of Ricart's map means navigating the spaces and places of Bristol, and its inhabitants, and their tracing their links beyond the city, to London, to Venice, and to the Americas. Only through connecting these multiple 'mapping worlds' can we begin to understand why Ricart uses a
map - rather than a text - to visualise his city in early 1480s England.  
Period04 Dec 2014
Event typeConference
LocationParis, France
Degree of RecognitionInternational