Transformations of the world space: From Pliny’s Natural History to the Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium of C. Julius Solinus and the poem De Mirabilibus of Theodericus
A. E. Kuznetsov
Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia, Moscow), Free University of Berlin (Germany, Berlin)
Keywords: ancient geography, medieval geography, diachrony of space, space in literature, textual criticism, bestiary, monsters in literature, medieval poetry, Pliny the Elder, C. Julius Solinus
Abstract: Two successive abridgements of Pliny’s Natural History are discussed in the paper: the Collectanea rerum memorabilium by C. Julius Solinus and a medieval abridgement of Solinus, made in verse by a certain Theodericus. The main attention is paid to the biggest part of the Collectanea which gives a geographical account of the Universe corresponding to Pliny’s Books 3–6. The geographical part of the Collectanea is of particular interest for understanding the poem of Theodericus. An analysis of the text structures reveals deep differences between the studied authors. These differences can be interpreted as changes in global concepts of the World geographic space. For Solinus, the large World space was a basis for arranging the encyclopedic material drawn from Pliny, and he created a universal continuum of information that looks somewhat similar to the modern data-base structure: I call it the ramifying catalogue. In contrast to Solinus, Theodericus completely lost the idea of a World continuum. Theodericus does not mention the greater part of the geographical names, and names of large regions are all omitted, save for a few exceptions. Theodericus, however, shows a tendency to reduce the matter of the Collectanea to thematic units. Since Theodericus had but a very vague idea of how the World was arranged in geographical space, he could not recognize evident scribal errors of his copy of Solinus’ work which affected the coherence of the geographical continuum. A neglect of the geographical space can be explained by the fact that the poem was probably intended to be read as a multilevel allegory where geographical localization would be of little importance.
To cite this article: Kuznetsov, A. E. (2020). Transformations of the world space: From Pliny’s Natural History to the Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium of C. Julius Solinus and the poem De Mirabilibus of Theodericus. Shagi/Steps, 6(1), 113–145. DOI: 10.22394/2412-9410-2020-