Le statut des récits de voyage dans la géographie humaniste du XVe siècle

Abstract : Since the 13th century at least travel accounts are essential as sources for the knowledge of the world. Humanists, such as Cristoforo Buondelmonti or Cyriac of Ancon, are travellers themselves, while the Ancients had conferred a heuristic status to the travel literature by recording information gathered from travellers. Humanists are yet ambivalent. Some of them, for example Poggio Braccioloni, are enthusiastic in their use of such material whereas others, such as Enea Silvio Piccolomini, are far more suspicious about it. In the 15th century, a humanist would use a travel account only if he was convinced of the sincerity of his author and of his ability to properly transcribe reality. The success of Niccolò de’ Conti’s account is partly due to the critical authority of his writer, Poggio Bracciolini, which actually certifies the truth of it. But how can new information be introduced in places where nothing is absolutely certain? Even the humanists who use information gathered from travellers generally consider it with a critical eye. Therefore travel accounts are no more than a piece of material among others used to draw a picture of a world uncertain by essence, which would explain that in the 15th century, these narratives could not be used as a tool to radically challenge the ancient geography.
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Contributor : Nathalie Bouloux <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 26, 2017 - 5:12:20 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 1:48:05 PM

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Nathalie Bouloux. Le statut des récits de voyage dans la géographie humaniste du XVe siècle. Damien Coulon et Christine Gadrat-Ouerfelli. Le voyage au Moyen Age. Description du monde et quête individuelle, pp.47-61, 2017. ⟨halshs-01547466⟩

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