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Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) pres.

Medieval Lunch. A Mediterranean Ecumene: Intellectual Contacts and Networks in the Late Medieval Mediterranean.

Samet Budak, Middle East Studies

Pletho image Pletho image
Pletho image
The Turkish Mediterranean lived and breathed with the same rhythms as the Christian, that the whole sea shared a common destiny, a heavy one indeed, with identical problems and general trends if not identical consequences.
—Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean

His theoretical concerns aside, Braudel’s conceptualization of the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century was based on geography, economy, and society in a path-breaking way. This presentation proposes a cultural and intellectual oecumene within the Eastern Mediterranean basin in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Although it seemed politically divided, the Eastern Mediterranean’s idiosyncratic commonalities within its intellectual context transcended all boundaries that were imagined in political spheres, including those of the Byzantines, Mamluks, and Ottomans as well as the Renaissance Italians.

This presentation will investigate the activities and oeuvre of scholars in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and their networks across the Mediterranean. In line with this purpose, I will focus on three scholars, Gemistus Pletho (d. 1452), Abd al-Rahman al-Bistami (d. 1455), and Bedreddin of Simavna (d. 1420) who were representative of those complex and multivalent networks as well as members of clandestine scholarly organizations. While mapping out their scholarly network, this presentation also hopes to point to a textual relationship through intercommunal discussions, especially that between Platonism and Aristotelianism. In doing so, it aims to offer fresh insights on intellectual history that go beyond limitations imposed by traditional methodologies, unquestioned genres, and undisputed literary and linguistic traditions.
Pletho image Pletho image
Pletho image
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