Cultural Encounters: Cross-disciplinary studies from the Late Middle Ages to the Enlightenment

Désirée Cappa, James E. Christie, Lorenza Gay, Hanna Gentili, Finn Schulze-Feldmann (Eds.)

by James E. Christie (Warburg Institute), Désirée Cappa (Warburg Institute ), Finn Schulze-Feldmann (Warburg Institute), Lorenza Gay (Warburg Institute), Hanna Gentili (Warburg Institute), Angana Moitra (University of Kent, UK / Freie Universität Berlin, Germany), Sophie Fuller (University College London, UK), Ovanes Akopyan (University of Warwick, UK), Margherita Mantovani (Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy), Trude Dijkstra (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), Ivan Dimitrijevic (Uniwersytet Warszawaski, Poland), Cristiano Ragni (Università di Perugia, Italy)

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This collection of essays contributes to the growing field of ‘encounter studies’ within the domain of cultural history. The strength of this work is the multi- and interdisciplinary approach, with papers on a broad range of historical times, places, and subjects. While each essay makes a valuable and original contribution to its relevant field(s), the collection as a whole is an attempt to probe more general questions and issues concerning the productive outcomes of cultural encounters throughout the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods.

The collection is divided into three sections organised thematically and chronologically. The first, ‘Encounters with the Past,’ focuses on the reception of classical antiquity in medieval images and texts from France, Italy and the British Isles. The second, ‘Encounters with Religion,’ presents a selection of instances in which political, philosophical and natural philosophical issues arise within inter-religious contexts. The final section, ‘Encounters with Humanity,’ contains essays on early science fiction, political symbolism, and Elizabethan drama theory, all of which deal with the conception and expression of humanity, on both the individual and societal level.

This volume’s wide range of topics and methodological approaches makes it an important point of reference for researchers and practitioners within the humanities who have an interest in the (cross-)cultural history of the medieval and Renaissance periods.

James E. Christie, Lorenza Gay, Finn Schulze-Feldmann The Warburg Institute

I. Encounters with the Past
1. Juno in the Epistre Othea by Christine de Pizan: An Investigation of the Pictorial Antecedents and of the Literary Sources
Lorenza Gay The Warburg Institute

2. From Pagan God to Magical Being: The Changing Face of the Faerie King and its Cultural Implications
Angana Moitra University of Kent, UK / Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

3. Dante and the Romans d’Antiquité: A Possible Port of Call for Dante?
Sophie Fuller University College London

II. Encounters with Religion
4. “Latin Vice” and “Hellenic Charm”: Maximus the Greek and Renaissance Debates on Astrology in Sixteenth-Century Muscovy
Ovanes Akopyan University of Warwick, UK

5. Notes on the Transmission and the Reception of the Sefer Hekhalot in the Renaissance
Margherita Mantovani Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy

6. Sacrum Bellum, Expeditio ad Sanctam Terram or Päpstlich Verfolgung? The Crusades in Sixteenth-Century Protestant Historiography
Finn Schulze-Feldmann The Warburg Institute

7. Confucius at “De Batavische Mercurius”: Governor General of the Dutch East Indies Pieter van Hoorn and the First Vernacular Translation of the Chinese Confucius
Trude Dijkstra University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

III. Encounters with Humanity
8. Stepping Sideways on the Scala Naturae: Confronting the Extraterrestrial in Early Modern Literature
James E. Christie The Warburg Institute

9. The Mechanisation of Symbols: The Medieval Wolf and the New Science of Nature
Ivan Dimitrijevic Uniwersytet Warszawaski, Poland

10. “Necessitas facit licitum, quod in lege illicitum est”: Alberico Gentili, the Puritans, and the Controversy over Drama
Cristiano Ragni Università di Perugia, Italy

Désirée Cappa obtained a BA and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Calabria and a three-year postgraduate degree in medieval and Renaissance art history from the University of Pisa. She worked for four years at the Boboli Gardens Museum researching the sculpture collection and the iconographic program of the gardens. In Florence, she also took part in different projects with the Gabinetto dei disegni e delle stampe degli Uffizi and the Fondazione Memofonte. In the UK, after an internship at Sotheby’s (Sculpture Department), she collaborated with various institutions such as the Garden Museum (London) and the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge). She is also an editor at the Albertiana, the journal of the Société internationale Leon Battista Alberti (Paris). Cappa is currently writing a PhD thesis (funded by the European Union) on Pierfrancesco Riccio (1501-64), tutor and ducal secretary of Cosimo I de’ Medici.

James Christie is a historian of science with interest in early modern astronomy and astrology. He has a BA (Hons) in Early Modern and Medieval Studies from the University of Sydney, and an MA in the Cultural and Intellectual History of Europe from The Warburg Institute. He is currently writing a PhD thesis on the relationship between astrology and the ‘plurality of worlds’ debate in the 17th century.

Lorenza Gay is an art historian with a particular interest in iconography and iconology. She is currently a PhD student at the Warburg Institute, and her research is focused on the depiction of the pagan gods in French illuminated manuscripts from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. She recently completed an MA at the Warburg Institute in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture in collaboration with the National Gallery of London. Prior to this, she received an MA in Art History (summa cum laude) and a BA in History from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.

Hanna Gentili is a PhD student at The Warburg Institute. Her research focuses on the Italian cultural context of the late fifteenth century and the logical and rhetorical strategies adopted in the early modern interreligious dialogue. Other areas of interest include the early modern notion of linguistic identity and philosophy of music. She recently completed an MA in Cultural and Intellectual History (1300-1650) at The Warburg Institute. Prior to this, she received an MA (summa cum laude) in Philosophy and Forms of Knowledge and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Pisa.

Finn Schulze-Feldmann is a PhD student at the Warburg Institute. In his doctoral studies, he explores the reception of the Sibylline oracles in the context of the Reformation. He highlights the willingness to absorb the Sibyls as Christian prophets of pagan origin into the European culture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as well as the theological debate about the appropriation of the Sibylline oracles as divine testimonies. After completing a BA in History and Musicology at the University of Potsdam, Finn obtained an MA in Cultural and Intellectual History from the Warburg Institute, London.

Cultural encounters, medieval history, early modern history, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, Christine de Pizan, medieval manuscripts, folklore, mythology, reception of classical tradition, Dante, medieval literature, Johannes Kepler, Cyrano de Bergerac, Francis Godwin, history of science fiction, conceptual history, Thomas Hobbes, history of drama, Alberico Gentili, Jewish studies, Paolo Ricci, reception of Confucius, Dutch Golden Age, astrology, Russia, Maximus the Greek, Reformation, Crusades, historiography, Islam

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Cultural Encounters: Cross-disciplinary studies from the Late Middle Ages to the Enlightenment





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


5 B&W

Publication date

May 2018