Download e-book for iPad: Categories of Medieval Culture by A. J. Gurevich

By A. J. Gurevich

ISBN-10: 0710095783

ISBN-13: 9780710095787

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The analogy between mIcrocosm and macrocosm lies at the very root of medieval symbolism, for nature was conceived of as a mirror in which man can contemplate the image of God. 21 But if all the basic ~raits of the univ:rse can be found in man, Nature herself IS at the same tIme imagined in human form. In a diadem bearing the zodiacal constellatIons and cl~d In garments decorated with pictures of birds, plants, ~nImals. and other creatures all arranged in the order of theIr creation by the Lord.

The accepted and universally widespread system of land measurement was completely satisfactory; it was the only possible, indeed only conceivable one, for the people of the Middle Ages. This is, incidentally, of great importance for historians who are trying to determine the area of landed estates and farms in the Middle Ages: the numerical data contained in feudal estate inventories and governmental registers seem ready-made to be set out as statistical tables, but incautious use of them can simply create an illusion of accuracy, since the components underlying these cadastral data vary very widely in dimensions.

Theologians and poets aver that the mIcrocosm is as complete and perfect in itself ~s is t~e larger world we live in. The microcosm was conceIved In the form of man , who could be understood only within the framework , of the parallelism between the 'small' ~nd the 'great~ unIve~se. This theme, which is found in the anCIent East and In claSSIcal Greece, enjoyed enormous popularity in the Middle Ages, especially from the twelfth century onwards. The elements of the human body were identical, it was held, with the elements forming the universe.

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Categories of Medieval Culture by A. J. Gurevich


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