History is an interpretation of stories, in this case, four stories that each involve adventure, exploration, and power. Marco Polo’s travel narrative, written while he was trapped in prison, contains entertaining tales of China and the Tartar Empire. When compared to Jacques Cartier’s ledger-like documentation of the newly-discovered North American continent while searching for its wealth, Polo’s reads like a marvelous tale. The Psalter Map of thirteenth-century England contains images of places and events important to religious history; its comparison to the Desceliers Map of North America demonstrates how two time periods, the Later Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, utilized map images to relate information differently. The “Mapping Perception” project analyzes these specific pieces of evidence to support an economic and political reason, the introduction of the Americas, for the separation of medieval and Early Modern. The first essay, “Motives for Exploration” discusses the travel narratives of Marco Polo and Jacques Cartier; this essay explains how Polo’s educational and entertaining goals morphed into the political and economic goals of Cartier. The second essay, “Bridging the Divide,” delves into the orientations and depictions of the medieval Psalter Map and the North American section of the Early Modern Desceliers World Map. This essay illuminates a transition in the production of maps from didactic motives for conveying historical information to economic ones that attempt to gain control of the New World. A digital exhibition of this research presents the arguments in a way that appeals to a variety of audiences.
|Commitee:||Despain, Jessica, Frick, Carole, Paulett, Robert|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 56/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medieval history, Modern history|
|Keywords:||Early modern, Exploration, Maps, Medieval europe, Travel narrative|
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