Week 2, Lecture 3 HISA04 Themes in World History Wed 19 Sept 2012
Columbus and the Indies
- Columbus looked at Americas, ‘peered through tightly woven filters of expectation
and assumption from the past.’
- For example, naming it East Indies.
- We have our own assumptions/expectation of Columbus.
- Thought the earth was round.
- Saw mermaids saw Columbian sea.
- Saw three mermaids, said they were not pretty, and looked like men.
- Brought certain expectations when he was out there.
- Why did he write he saw mermaids?
- Image of the East = Mandeville’s Travels
Images of the East
- To Europeans image of the East determined by Marco Polo + John Mandeville
- Mandeville’s account = more popular than Marco Polo’s
- Columbus read both Marco and John’s accounts of travel.
- May have taken written accounts of Polo and Mandeville during voyage.
- Mandeville’s Travels published mid-14 century.
- Story of Englishman travelling East.
- Popularized idea of circumnavigability of Earth.
- Helped create expectations of marvels of the East.
On the Wonders and Marvels of Mandeville
- Mandeville’s Travels exploits eyewitness & local diversity
- People never travelled mock tales, but “if a man will …”
- John Mandevi