Inter-cultural Transmission of Intellectual Traditions in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. A comparative perspective


Piotr Chmiel

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Friends or enemies? Georgia and the states of the Western Chtistendom: the mutual images and cultural identification in the presence of the Muslim threat in 16th-17th centuries.

The aim of my research is to analyze the image of Georgia (or of the Georgian principalities) spread in the Western Christendom in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period as well as the image of Latin Christians existing among Georgians. This problem seems particularly interesting in regard to the growing threat caused by the rise of neighboring Muslim empires. This threat is likely to be very present in the Georgian culture and quite diffused in the Latin Christendom in 15th-17th centuries. The research aims at identifying main sources to this subject - both Georgian and Western. Given this scope, the frames of the study are at this stage very large.

In course of the research I propose to analyse i.a. the following issues: 1) a reciprocal image in the times of crusades and Georgian plans of an involvement in these expeditions; 2) an image of the Georgians in the comparison to other Eastern Christians (e. g. Greeks) in times of the Turkish threat; 3) the idea of the bulwark of Christendom (antemurale christianitatis) and its interpretation in the context of the Orthodox Christian culture. Moreover, I would like to analyze the Polish-Georgian contacts and to find the reasons for cooperation in frames of anti-Ottoman coalitions.    

I hope that this research may contribute to an interpretation of the idea of antemurale christianitatis. It could also identify the cultural status of Eastern Christians  present among elites of the Catholic states and the reasons of cooperation (or of its lack) among both groups. In a broader perspective it can put more light on the use of the ideas of crusade and bulwark of Christendom in the culture of Christian East and West. 

Piotr Chmiel is a PhD student at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales” in Warsaw and prepares a thesis on the idea of antemurale of Christianity in the political thought of Poland and the Republic of Venice in the 16th-17th centuries. He has graduated from Italian philology and cultural studies. Recipient of scholarships of Socrates-Erasmus Program at the University of Padua and the research scholarship of the Italian government to libraries of the University of Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore. He has led a seminar on the role of borderlands in Polish culture in Collegio Universitario Don Mazza in Padua.