The Earth Is Our Book

Geographical Knowledge in the Latin West ca. 400-1000
Natalia Lozovsky
A fascinating study of early geographical knowledge


"Early medieval geographical tradition resembles Andersen's ugly duckling. It often gets scolded and cannot find a place of its own, all because people almost invariably misunderstand its true nature." Thus begins Natalia Lozovsky's new book, The Earth Is Our Book: Geographical Knowledge in the Latin West ca. 400-1000. Filling a gap in the field of medieval studies, which has traditionally marginalized or ignored medieval geography altogether, Lozovsky explores medieval scholars' perceptions and representations of geographical space, how geographical knowledge fit into medieval society, and how this knowledge was taught and transmitted.

Tackling an impressive array of primary and secondary sources—including a variety of late antique and early medieval texts—Lozovsky examines early medieval geography as it existed in other fields of learning: theology, history, and natural science. She expounds on the use of published resources by examining the nature of geographical knowledge in the Middle Ages. She draws on unpublished sources—such as school commentaries—for the rich information they provide about geographical education during that period. For many scholars of medieval studies, early medieval geographical texts have more philological than geographical value. Lozovsky's work provides an insightful, alternative interpretation.

Those interested in history, medieval studies, ethnography, science, education, religion, Latin studies, and, of course, geography, will find this book a most fascinating read.

Natalia Lozovsky is an instructor in the Department of History, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Praise / Awards

  • "We are indebted to Lozovsky for identifying various philosophical and theological views found in the works of early medieval geographers. In addition, her book is filled with much interesting detail and has an excellent bibliography."
    ---Bernard S. Bachrach, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, American Historical Review, April 2002
  • "This book treats an unusual theme--the history of geography in medieval times. The author challenges what she regards as the traditional viewpoint that medieval geography was at low estate situated between the higher levels of accomplishment during halcyon Greek times and the Renaissance. This thesis of challenge. . . is provocative."
    ---G. J. Martin, Choice , October 2001
  • "Lozovsky concludes that although it did not serve practical needs, early medieval geography set forth a theoretical knowledge that contributed to contemplation and education. This book is both well written and well argued and can lead to an appreciation of a much ignored area of medieval studies."
    ---J. Francis Watson, Drew University, History

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 192pp.
  • 4 photographs, 4 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11132-9

Add to Cart
  • $84.95 U.S.