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Translating Image and Text in the Medieval Mediterranean World between the Tenth and Thirteenth Centuries

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image of Medieval Encounters

Abstract This paper approaches the issue of the mechanisms and routes of transmission through the celebrated phenomenon of the translation of scientific works, to and from Greek, Arabic and Latin, that had its beginnings in Baghdad in the eighth century and expanded throughout European Mediterranean centers of scholarship by the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The focus is on the famous De Materia Medica of the first-century CE scholar Dioscorides and specifically on illustrated versions of this text. I analyze the process of textual and visual transmission by introducing the concept of an interactive space of translation as a theoretical framework for understanding how translation operated as a mediator of exchange. The contention here is that through the negotiation of these various intersections, translation served as a dynamic, collaborative and ongoing process that played a significant role in the formation and transmission of both art and scholarship throughout the medieval Mediterranean.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Art and Art History, Tufts University 11 Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA 02155 USA


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