This volume contains fifteen articles from the international symposium “Cultural exchanges in the Middle Ages: from dialogue to the construction of cultures”, held 18th and 19th November 2017 at the Yamato-Bunkakan museum in Nara, the former capital of Japan, at the initiative of the network of medievalists Ménestrel. At the end of a long joint work, it restores the experience of a meeting in polyphonic mode, resonating past and present cultures, intertwining historical themes and historical voices from the extremities of Eurasia.
Medieval cultures are compared by two main perspectives, determined by the scale of distances. On the one hand, a history of more or less close exchanges and interactions, extended by forms of mutual knowledge which, with geographical distance, tend towards the imaginary. On the other hand, between the ends of the world deprived of direct contact, a comparative approach that brings to light intriguing similarities and differences.
Bringing together and interweaving very diverse themes – war, languages, emblematic, religions, sciences, art and book collections, travels and knowledge of the world – this volume opens up new avenues in political and social history as well as in history. art or texts. Happily crossing disciplinary boundaries, it above all calls for an open dialogue between the traditions of historiographical thought.
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