Book Series Cursor Mundi, vol. 40

Order into Action

How Large-Scale Concepts of World-Order determine Practices in the Premodern World

Christoph Mauntel, Klaus Oschema (eds)

  • Pages: 332 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:5 b/w, 16 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59046-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59047-9
  • E-book
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A cross-cultural enquiry into the practical effects of ordering the (premodern) word.


Christoph Mauntel is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Medieval History (University of Tübingen). His research focuses on late medieval political culture (esp. in France) and the interrelation between geographical and cultural concepts in premodern cultures.

Klaus Oschema is professor of (late) medieval history at the Ruhr-University Bochum. His specialisation includes late medieval nobility and society, the concept of Europe in the Middle Ages and transcultural contacts and transmission of knowledge.


The construction and application of models that order complex phenomena such as ‘the world’ is not a ‘neutral’ activity: theoretical models and ideas help us to perceive and categorize the information conveyed by experience and tradition alike; in turn, they also influence the behaviour and actions of individuals and groups.

Collecting a global series of case studies on premodern societies, this volume proposes new approaches to research into premodern models of world-order and their effects. With its focus on the period between c. 1300 and 1600, it seeks to open up fresh perspectives for premodern Global History and the analysis of phenomena of transcultural contact and exchange.

Focussing on religious, political, and geographical ideas and models, the contributions explore whether and how large-scale concepts influenced or even determined concrete actions. The examples include socio-religious concepts (Christianity, terra paganorum, dār al-ḥarb), political concepts (empire) and geographical notions. A special section is dedicated to comparative insights into societies in Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, and pre-Columbian America. Taken together, the contributions underline the importance and effects of historically shaped cultural traits in the long term.


List of Illustrations, Acknowledgements

Introduction: Creating Order and Causing Action — Klaus Oschema and Christoph Mauntel

Dār al-ḥarb vs terra paganorum: On the Practical Implications of Circumscribing the Sphere of the ‘Infidels’ — Daniel G. König

The Concept of Christendom: Christianitas as a Call to Action — Nora Berend

A ‘Medieval Islamist’ Versus an ‘Arab Machiavelli’? The Legacy of the Mamluk Scholars Ibn Taymīya (1263–1328) and Ibn Nubāta (1287–1366) — Albrecht Fuess

The Mongol World-Order: From Universalism to Glocalization — Michal Biran

Between Universal Empire and the Plurality of Kingdoms: On the Practical Influence of Political Concepts in Late Medieval Latin Europe — Christoph Mauntel and Klaus Oschema

Imperial Geography and Fatherly Benevolence: The Chinese World Order and the Construction of its Margins — Donatella Guida

The Advent of the Black Magus: Moving towards a Continental Hierarchy — Michael Wintle

Beyond Eurasia — the African Contribution to the Pre-Modern World: Examining the Global and the Local in the Kilwa Sultanate, East Africa — Mark Horton

Seeing Through the Rainbow: Aboriginal Australian Concepts of an Ordered Universe —Veronica Strang

Translating Otherworlds: The Encounter of Pre-Columbian and European Cosmologies in Colonial Missionary and Indigenous Texts from Highland Guatemala — Frauke Sachse