Research Projects

  • (C-5-1) Common sense geography and mental modelling

    This interdisciplinary research project aimed at linking cutting-edge research in cognitive linguistics with studies in ancient geography. Cognitive linguistic approaches usually deal with synchronic processes, whereas the study of ancient texts necessarily implies the adoption of a diachronic perspective. The combination of these two methods allowed to gain a unique insight into the conceptualization of spatial categories in the ancient world.

  • (C-5-2) Space, distance, spatiality

    This research project was concerned with ancient measurement data mostly, but not exclusively, distances. The primary aim was to collect, visualize and evaluate specifications of distance that have been handed down in ancient texts.

  • (C-5-3) Insularity

    The goal of this project was to investigate on the one hand the diachronic development of the concept of island, or rather, insularity, through a philological examination of the literary sources, and on the other hand to reconstruct the role this concept played in the context of Greek and Roman thought.

  • (C-5-4) Bird´s eye view in ancient Greek sources

    Within this research project descriptions of landscapes in various literary genres of Greek literature were investigated, paying particular attention to the study of those passages in which a “bird’s-eye view” is used. During the research, the focus shifted insofar as the search for the bird’s-eye view has cast some doubt on the model of a “hodological space”, at least as a default model to explain ancient geographical descriptions.

  • (C-5-5) Winds, wind directions, wind roses

    This research project addressed the topic of compass points in antiquity. Compass points or cardinal directions were far less standardized in Greek and Roman times than in the modern era.

  • (C-5-6) Paradoxography and strange things

    This research project consisted in a critical edition and commentary of the Anonymus Florentinus for the Fragmente der griechischen Historiker IV (ed. by Stefan Schorn, Kai Bordersen, Klaus Geus), pursued jointly with an extensive study of the epistemic norms which inform the tradition of paradoxography. This latter, interpretive work is located within the context of a study of norms of rationality and evidence in Greek (primarily: Aristotelian) philosophy and science.

  • (C-5-7) Common sense geography and the Peutinger Map

    This research project investigated the Tabula Peutingeriana from the perspective of the “common sense geography”, theory jointly developed by Topoi research group (C-5) Common Sense Geography. With regard to the significance of this source it is surprising that an academic commentary had not been provided yet.

  • (C-5-8) Cognitive perception and the presentation of space and place in Mesoamerica

    This research project studied prehispanic codices and early colonial map-like documents from Mesoamerica. It shows the changes the representations underwent after contact with the Spaniards. The Prehispanic documents, known as Codices, reflect a distinctive perception by means of a graphical representation system that distinguishes them from the “lienzos” and “mapas” (maps) produced in the course of the Spanish colonization. The study examined the ‘mapped worlds’ in the the ‘art of mapping’ in Mesoamerica and compares the visualization and organization of space in the pictorial documents before and after the Spanish Conquest.

  • (C-5-9) Italia illustrata. Interactions between historico-topographical descriptions and contemporary cartography in the Italy of the early modern era

    The original subject of this research project was the proto-national conception of Italy that developed in the 15th and 16th century through the interaction of historiographical, geographical and literary media. Contrary to the first idea to cover the whole period, the project was finally built around the “Italia illustrata” of Flavio Biondo (ca. 1450), a detailed historiographical and geographical description of Italy in which the author struggles with a huge number of information cues, such as toponyms (place names, points-of-interest), landmarks, streets, distances, places, rivers, walls, historic sites that are foremost based on ancient authors such as Strabo, Pliny or Livy.