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Geographies of Contact

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Caroline Lehni
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Fanny Moghaddassi
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Hélène Ibata
, 
et al.

II. Mapping the Orient

The English in the Levant in the 12th and 13th Centuries : New Geographical and Cartographic Approaches in the Wake of the Crusades

Damien Coulon
Translated by Stéphane Normand

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Excerpt

Embarking on a journey to the Levant1 from the West, in the Middle Ages, was a risky venture that would require a good measure of audacity considering the perils that might lie in wait for the travellers, and the length of the route. Despite a context of progressive assertiveness of Christian Europe, in particular from the 11th century onwards, navigational conditions over vast expanses still demanded from would-be passengers solid motivations that can essentially come down to two sets of objectives. The first are religious in nature and refer us, on the one hand, to pilgrimages, which can be defined primarily as an individual quest. Indeed, even if Jerusalem was located several thousand miles away from the Christian West, the places where Christ had lived and undergone martyrdom began to attract pilgrims as early as Late Antiquity, and this activity increased during the Middle Ages as a whole despite the crusades against the Muslims, who had been living in that area since the great...

Author

Damien Coulon holds the “agrégation” in History and was a Scientific Member of the Casa de Velazquez (French School of High Hispanic Studies) between 1996 and 1998. He defended his PhD in medieval history in 1999 on the relations of the port of Barcelona with the oriental Mediterranean region between 1330 and 1430 (published as Barcelone et le grand commerce d’Orient au Moyen Âge. Un siècle de relations avec l’Egypte et la Syrie-Palestine (ca. 1330-ca. 1430) in 2004). He has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strasbourg since 2000 and took part in several research programs on the Mediterranean in the Middle Age with the University of Paris I, the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (High Scientific Council of Research in Spain) of Barcelona and the University of Santa Cruz (California). He defended his “Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches” in 2011 (University Paris I) on Networks and travels between Europe and the Mediterranean at the end of the Middle Ages.

Stéphane Normand (Translator)

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2017

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