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Cyprus in Cosmographic Narratives

GEORGE TOLIAS

 

Abstract

Early modern cosmographic narrative renewed the geographical concepts of the inhabited world, bringing together previous geographical tradition, the regaining of ancient geographical heritage, and the first hand observations of travellers. At the same time, this narrative expressed the geopolitical tensions and balances of the time. Renaissance cosmography proposed an innovative worldview, a renewed regional structure and a novel content of the descriptions of the worlds regions.

The paper proposes to survey the formation and the functions of the descriptions of Cyprus in early modern cosmography, from Pius II to Abraham Ortelius. The specific treatment of Cyprus will elucidate the challenges of humanist cosmography in early modern Europe: Located at the fringe of the three continents of the “old world”, as well as at the heart of the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean (with its successive rulers, Lusignans, Venetians and Ottomans), and through its wealth of ancient, medieval and modern descriptions, Cyprus constitutes a key illustration of the challenges and the changes taking place in early modern worldview and geographical culture.

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