Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance: South India Through European Eyes, 1250-1625

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 5, 2002 - History - 443 pages
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This book, first published in 2000, offers a wide-ranging and ambitious analysis of how European travellers in India developed their perceptions of ethnic, political and religious diversity over three hundred years. It analyses the growth of novel historical and philosophical concerns, from the early and rare examples of medieval travellers such as Marco Polo, through to the more sophisticated narratives of seventeenth-century observers - religious writers such as Jesuit missionaries, or independent antiquarians such as Pietro della Valle. The book's approach combines the detailed contextual analysis of individual narratives with an original long-term interpretation of the role of cross-cultural encounters in the European Renaissance. An extremely wide range of European sources is discussed, including the often neglected but extremely important Iberian and Italian sources. However, the book also discusses a number of non-European sources, Muslim and Hindu, thereby challenging simplistic interpretations of western 'orientalism'.
  

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Contents

In search of India the empire of Vijayanagara through European eyes
1
Marco Polos India and the Latin Christian tradition
35
Establishing lay science the merchant and the humanist
85
Ludovico de Varthema the curious traveller at the time of Vasco da Gama and Columbus
125
The Portuguese and Vijayanagara politics religion and classification
164
The practice of ethnography Indian customs and castes
201
The social and political order Vijayanagara decoded
223
The historical dimension from native traditions to European orientalism
251
The missionary discovery of South Indian religion opening the doors of idolatry
308
From humanism to scepticism the independent traveller in the seventeenth century
349
Before orientalism
388
Appendix
399
Bibliography
401
Index
423
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About the author (2002)

Rubies is Lecturer in History at the U. of Reading.

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