Katharina Suter-Meyer

Geography as a Means of rerum cognoscere causas in the World of Knowledge and Scholars - An Analysis of the Commentaries of the Humanist Joachim Vadian on the Ancient Description of the World by Pomponius Mela

In 1522, the second extended edition of the Latin commentaries of the Swiss humanist and later reformer Joachim Vadian on the ancient geographer Pomponius Mela's description of the world was published in Basel. The print is not available in a modern edition or translation. This work, popular among scholars, was produced in the context of the increased interest of German-speaking humanists in exploratory literature, the turn to descriptive texts of the country, and the growing production of humanistic commentaries on ancient works of a geographical orientation. The goal of this dissertation project is to analyze the commentaries with respect to the extent to which Vadian's belief that geography leads to knowledge shapes the structure of the commentaries, the text itself, and his interaction with scholarly and student readers. Of particular interest is how geography, as a literary attempt to grasp the world and its lands, becomes a critical and diachronic walk through the space of knowledge about the known world through engagement with the ancient author. The dissertation aims to contribute to the study of early modern knowledge literatures and humanistic commentaries.

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