Fitting Medieval Europe into the World
Patterns of Integration, Migration, and Uniqueness

Bernd Schneidmüller, Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg

In these times of globalisation, history above all becomes a history of entanglements.[1] The complexity of today’s processes of change and exchange can no longer be explained by unchanging entities, but instead by transcultural connectivities. Our current experiences with worldwide flows of migration reveal the dynamics underlying the instability of political systems and the enduring power of cultural hybridisations.

The present article aims to provide some critical input to the history of entanglements and migrations from the perspective of medieval history. It came into being through various research forays into the constant swings between integration and disintegration in the cultures of medieval Europe. A priority programme conducted by Michael Borgolte and myself for the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Council) provided the opportunity to work with a team of junior and experienced scholars and to do away with the traditional framings presented by national histories and the established disciplinary cultures.[2] In the end we recognised the necessity of no longer explaining European history in terms of the integration of European factors, but of placing Europe into the nexus of the world.[3] I was given strong stimulus for this by the Heidelberg Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context. The Dynamics of Transculturality”. On the basis of these interactions I shall come up with some new and surprising conclusions about entanglement and migration in the Middle Ages. Of lesser importance to me here are the historical findings that have recently been made by transcultural research.[4] The crux of the matter rather is medieval perceptions that have remained marginalized or received little attention in the modern era. Which is why a fresh reading of the old sources presents a number of surprising insights that reveal the temporal situatedness of the premises underlying knowledge.[5]

Point of departure for this study was the observation that in the medieval era, two different discourses developed about the inclusion or exclusion of Europe in or from the world. Both will be sketched out here. This text is not aimed at criticising the research to date, but sees itself rather as a self-ironic contribution about a number of older connections in outdated concepts concerning the continent of Europe.[6]

Research into medieval concepts in their historical alterity is breaking up a sclerotic image of the Middle Ages and countering it with a fairly unexpected medieval period that may puzzle those fond of using current ideas of Europe to their own strategic ends. These thoughts adopt a clear position, because current debates about the cultural depth and unity of the continent of Europe tacitly assume a homogeneous frame of reference that has ostensibly developed from antiquity and the Middle Ages. On closer inspection, though, we see that this has grown from subsequent wishful thinking, just like the whole European concept of the Middle Ages.[7]

The following will present a medley of three interpretative approaches that arose in Latin Europe from the seventh to the fifteenth century. The concern here is firstly with the notion[8] that Europe constitutes a third of the entire world (tertia pars mundi) and a fourth of the world’s surface. Attention will then be paid to the medieval belief that Europe always existed as a constant place of immigration for various peoples, religions and cultures. And finally we shall deal with medieval controversies as to whether the peoples of Europe had been formed by migration, or by remaining on their own patch of soil. These antitheses have been articulated as historical contradictions between migrating or staying, as well as through competing models of either hybridisation or of the blood being rooted in the soil.

Europe as the third part of the world (tertia pars mundi)

Points of departure for my thoughts are several bits of knowledge that are basic to general medieval studies. Riding on the shoulders of the world pictures that held sway in antiquity, medieval authors divided the planet into three parts, which were the continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe. On round maps of the world (which were shaped like an ‘O’), Asia occupied half of the world in the form of an inscribed ‘T’, while Europe and Africa took up a quarter each. Jerusalem formed the centre of the world, ever since the time of the crusades (fig. 1).[9] This interpretation of the whole was decisive for the medieval understanding of geography and of God’s plan for salvation,[10] which for a long time hindered a segmental cartography focused solely on Europe.

Isidore Seville
Fig. 1: T-O-Diagram, according to Isidore of Seville. London, British Library, Royal Ms 12 F.IV, fol. 135v.

Not until the twelfth century—as for instance in the “Liber Floridus” by Lambert, Canon of Saint-Omer (fig. 2)—was greater interest taken in depicting the European’s own life world.[11] Isidore of Seville’s epitome conveyed the Biblical knowledge of the division of the world under Sem, Japheth and Cham, the three sons of Noah, to the Middle Ages with added precision. By pointing to Biblical traditions, which had quite happily managed till then without a concept of the three continents, the European peoples were brought together with their kindred nations the world over, which all came from the great ur-father, Noah. This led to congruence between the three continents and the three families of man.[12]

Europe lambert
Fig. 2: Map of Europe in Lambert of St-Omer, in Liber Floridus. Ghent, Universiteitsbibliotheek, MS 92, fol. 241r.

In his ‘Imago mundi’, the twelfth century theologian Honorius Augustodunensis presented a more advanced knowledge of geography with a socio-historical twist, and further advanced this mapping on the basis of his readings of Genesis and in keeping with medieval models of society. According to this, the human race was already divided into three estates in Biblical times, to wit: freemen, warriors and slaves. The freemen descended from Sem, the warriors from Japheth, and the slaves from Cham. Unlike the children of Cham (Gen. 9), Japheth’s descendants could receive salvation (fig. 3).[13]

World Map
Fig. 3: Simon Marmion, Map of the World, c. 1459–1463, in Fleur des histoires, Jean Mansel. Brussels, Bibliothèque royale Albert I, Ms 9231, fol. 281v.

The rich research done into historical cartography over the last few decades has impressively established a number of leaps forward in the geographical evidence and empirical findings from the twelfth to the sixteenth century,[14] and above all pointed out correlations and interactions between the Latin-Western, the Greco-Byzantine and the Arabic pictures of the world.[15] The change from the original ‘orientation’, which is to say the alignment of the map to the east (oriens), to a preference for the north, was presumably due to the power of the compass needle, which was now offering increasing safety in nautical affairs (fig. 4). At the same time, this fundamental change in direction—which to this day has shaped our ways of looking so much that maps aligned to the south or east seem scarcely ‘legible’—did not go so far as to alter the basic terms. The word ‘orientation’ stubbornly remained, even though the orient—as a major frame of reference for God’s plans for humanity and the latter’s goals—had long since lost its monopoly on structuring the depictions of the world. On the Ebstorf Map (around 1300, fig. 5), Paradise and thus the origin of humanity still lay due east of India.[16] The portulan charts, which were swung to the north and ‘geared to practice,’ had to manage from the Late Middle Ages onward with merely the coastal outlines and harbours, and completely without the history of God’s saving grace.

Portulan Chart
Fig. 4: Albino de Canepa, Portulan Chart (oriented to the north), 1489. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, James Ford Bell Library.
Ebstorf Map
Fig. 5: Ebstorf Map, c. 1300. (Wikipedia/Kolossos)

As the empirical recording of the world’s geography proceeded between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Europe forfeited more and more of its place as one whole fourth of the world. The Portuguese voyages to the south Atlantic led to a picture of Africa’s geographical mass that had once seemed impossible. Europe, which had been thought of as equally large, was trimmed down to very modest proportions. Then on encountering the New World, the reduction of the surface of Europe in proportion to the planet underwent an even more rapid acceleration in the sixteenth century.[17]

At that very moment when the Europeans were readying themselves to leap across the oceans, their own continent shrank more and more on the maps. A self-assured approach to European cartography solved the dilemma by no longer equating importance with size. At the end of the sixteenth century—following on from Sebastian Münster[18]—came that famous picture of Europe as queen (fig. 6). Europa Regina no longer assumed just a quarter of the world, like old Europe in the maps of yore. Sovereign dominion on earth was no longer measured by quantity, but in the late sixteenth century by quality. This asserted itself through long-enduring images of civilisation and culture. Europe, just a quarter of the world on the old T-O-maps, and inextricably linked with both Asia and Africa, now stepped to the fore. In this way, the ruling continent could impressively be distilled from the far greater world.

Queen Europe
Fig. 6: Fig. 6: Sebastian Münster, Europe as Queen—Europa regina, Basel 1588, in Cosmographia, fol. XLI.

Europe as a place of migration for religions, peoples and culture

The Christianisation of Europe, which was first completed at the end of the fourteenth century after eradicating all the previous polytheistic religions,[19] knit the people and nations together in a community of faith and religion.[20] This was accompanied by pushing through the Greek and Latin cultures of writing and scholarship, which led to the adoption of and further developments in the knowledge of the world from Mediterranean antiquity. With their languages and writing, the new peoples and realms also adopted specific patterns of social order, norms and myths. This awareness of the alien provenance of their faith, origins and ways of thinking shaped how the new was implanted into older traditions.

Clearly, after the loss of the Holy Land to Arabian empire-building, Christianity of the Greek Orthodox or Latin-Catholic Churches created its own cultic centres in place of the time-honoured patriarchies in the eastern Mediterranean.[21] The ascent of the Roman papacy and re-stylisation of the patriarchy in Constantinople are not simply explicable by the capital’s role in the Imperium Romanum. Rather the decline of the old patriarchy of Jerusalem, in the land where Christianity was born, had left an authority gap that was boldly filled by the medieval construct of the apostle’s bones migrating to the west.

For all the significance that was attributed to Rome or Constantinople, the Christians in both the west and the east were instilled with a constant belief in the origins and goal of salvation. Humanity had developed from the east to the west; east of India was Paradise, as the medieval maps showed, which remained a place of longing for lost oneness with God (fig. 7).[22] The people of the High and Late Middle Ages envisaged in the east the realm of the priest-king John, from whom they hoped for help against the Muslims.[23] The east was the location of Jerusalem and the holy sites where God had made his pact with humanity, where Jesus had spread his word, had died and resurrected, and where ultimately the miracle of the Pentecost had taken place and the first congregation formed. Jerusalem, the navel of the world, meant for Christians the beginning and goal of salvation, because it was here according to the chiliastic notions of the Middle Ages that the last emperor was to lay down his crown and sceptre.[24]

Fig. 7: Paradise, detail of Ebstorf Map, c. 1300. (Wikipedia/Kolossos)

Jerusalem, located on high medieval maps in Asia, at the centre of the world, was without doubt the foremost place of remembrance for Christian Europe (fig. 8). The bloody crusades and the countless pilgrimages to Palestine aimed at the bodily annexation, as it were, of the Holy City, as was constantly brought to mind in church services and sermons. Even when the Muslim Expansion at the end of the Middle Ages prompted opinions that meanwhile Christendom had found its home in Europe, Jerusalem remained the decisive place for European longings, way above other apostolic places of pilgrimage in Rome, Constantinople or Santiago di Compostela.[25] There was no thought of Europe as being a distillate from this connection with the Holy Land through God’s plan for humanity’s salvation.

Fig. 8: Jerusalem, detail of Ebstorf Map, c. 1300. (Wikipedia/Kolossos)

According to medieval theories of descent, which were handed down as the living past,[26] not only religion but also peoples and cultures migrated from east to west, from Mesopotamia, Egypt or Troy to Europe. Migrational flows of peoples and nations, as the medieval texts taught, were nothing less than the basic pattern of history. Modern models of a “Fortress of Europe” could not for that reason have existed in the ethnography of the Early and High Middle Ages.

Already the Romans of antiquity had chosen not to have their civilisation rise on their own Italian soil. The departure of the noblemen from the ashes of Troy and their journeys across the Mediterranean were one of the key features of Roman imaginings about its size and origins (fig. 9). Virgil had invested this Mediterranean migration myth with the highest literary import in his Aeneis written at the time of Augustus. And if the reference to the losers of the Trojan War may seem somewhat paradoxical today, Aeneas’s derivation offered the Roman Empire and its medieval scribes a unique opportunity to find a place in the framework of main cultures from the heroic days of old.

Leaving Troy
Fig. 9: Leaving Troy, c. 1470, in Recueil des Histoires de Troie. Paris, Bibiliothèque nationale de France, Collection ou fonds Louis de Bruges, Français 59, fol. 308r.

As the Frankish Kingdom elbowed its way to a position of dominance in western Europe in the Early Middle Ages, Frankish authors picked up on this pattern of Trojan descent and constructed a similar story for their own people, featuring the exodus from Troy, long periods of wandering, and the successful establishment of the empires in Gaul and Germania.[27] This tale of Troy maintained by the Romans and the Franks became the blueprint for many medieval origin myths and grew to become the most successful model for shaping up one’s own life world by means of an ideal past. Even those peoples for whom other origins were invented in Scandinavia (Goths), Macedonia (Saxons) or Armenia (Bavarians), availed themselves of the glory of geographically far-flung roots from ancient times. Inspirations for this were clearly models from Greco-Roman and Biblical antiquity, above all the Old Testament stories of wandering in the wilderness and the possession of Canaan by the people of Israel. Being God’s elect and having received His promise was closely bound with long migrations to the Promised Land.

Studies by Alheydis Plassmann on origin myths from the Early and High Middle Ages,[28] and by Norbert Kersken on drafts of national histories in the High Middle Ages,[29] make it clear that successful migrations formed the backbone of most originary myths about European peoples. Particular mention should be made here of the importance of these two summary works and the rich pickings they contain. Alheydis Plassmann has teased out highly distinct forms and motifs for the topos of migration in Britannia, among the Franks and in their subsequent realms in Germany and France, as well as among the Langobards and the Saxons. But she emphasises that “a pure autochthonous origin to the gens … as motif was far less popular,” and that none of the authors she studied advanced the conviction that “that had always been the order of things.” As explanation for this she forwards an established school of sociological thought based on Plato’s Republic, which says there has to be a “primal deed” at the beginning of any society’s history, namely “revolt and the formation of a new order.”[30] The transmission of this notion—which has enjoyed a broad basis in antique and modern political thought—to the Middle Ages is stimulating and demands even broader empirical and theoretical underpinnings by expanding cultural studies to embrace global history as a whole.

Regarding the outlines relating to national histories in the High and Late Middle Ages, Norbert Kersken has worked on the importance of the realities that people believed in of a primary migration under a salient conqueror in France, England, Scotland and Hungary. He contrasts this with the “autochthonous concepts of history” of the Scandinavian and Slavic peoples.[31] This important distinction has only partly been qualified by more recent research into the history of entanglements between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe,[32] or into the humanistic influence on the way Polish national history was written and embedded in Latin Christendom.[33]

We must obviously acknowledge that such notions of migration were lynchpins of the medieval self-image. But caution is advised when interpreting them, and earlier distinctions between an ‘older’ and a ‘younger’ Europe should not be enlisted without more ado.[34] What is still lacking at present is a suitably broad research platform for the history of migrations as a believed-in normality in medieval Europe. The aim of these remarks is to point out that this is not due to a lack of sources, but to a lack of interest within historical research, which has satisfied itself from time to time since the Enlightenment with the revelation that the origines gentium was a naïve fairy-tale, or at best a historiographical construct. Which means we are faced with a new beginning in the history of migration and entanglements when we no longer wish to rescue the broad stream of medieval texts as historical facts, or to dissect out ‘cores of reality’, but want rather to discover forms of alterity in bygone ‘knowledge of migrations’.

Exemplary here are three lines of research into Early and High Medieval transmissions that all direct attention to rediscovering the things that went without saying, to new questions about old texts, and to some astonishing revelations about the ‘Celtic fringe’.

First of all, a new look should be taken at medieval texts that openly name migration as a common means of forming historical unions. After the histories of the Goths, Langobards and Saxons from the Early Middle Ages, the ‘Historia Welforum’ would be important to consult here (fig. 10). In the second half of the twelfth century, the anonymous chronicler of the House of Welf certified that it had a distinguished Frankish and thus Trojan past. History turned into a succession of violent conquests and emerging power structures: “If anyone finds that implausible, let them read the histories of the people (historiae gentilium) and discover that almost every country was conquered by violence and taken by foreigners. The Trojans often did this after they were driven from their own territories, as did the Goths, the Alani, the Huns, the Vandals, and also the Langobards and the other peoples, above all those from the north.”[35]

Welf Dynasty
Fig. 10: Genealogical tree of the Welf dynasty, in Historia Welforum from Weingarten. Fulda, Hessische Landesbibliothek, Cod. D 11, fol. 13v.

Secondly, we should mention the Byzantine Empire, which has often dropped out of sight when looking at ‘European migrations’. It came about through a deliberate shift in emphasis in the fourth century AD and the processes of reconstitution since the sixth. Even if the capital, Constantinople, constituted a stabilising element up until the Ottoman conquest in 1453, Greek sources liked to recall the change from old to new Rome.[36] In the meantime, the many migrations inside the Byzantine Empire have been brought more clearly to the fore,[37] including the relocation of certain population groups performed for political expediency.[38] Further attention should be paid to the optimistic model of the development from a sclerotic Ancient Rome in the west, to a go-getting New Rome in the east. This imperial migration continued on into the modern era once the 1453 disaster of Constantinople was overcome by the idea of a dynamic new start centred on Moscow as the third Rome.

To come to the third point: what is the situation with the regions on the Celtic fringe of Europe, where archaeological finds have led researchers generally to moot demographic and cultural stasis? It has been objected that one must not forget the tenacity that was evinced in Celtic Europe, above all in medieval Ireland, when we look at the literary models of migration.[39] Admittedly there is no arguing about the fact that people stayed put, because this outline is more concerned with the foundations that are believed to have been laid by migrations in the Middle Ages.

The case of Ireland shows—contrary to every expectation that it has an untouched, native character—that precisely this island on the western rim of the continent fitted very nicely into the European ‘normal model’ of migratory consciousness. In the eleventh century, the Lebor Gabála, with its purported history of the land, gave etic and emic views when describing the Gaelic migrations to the promised land of the Irish island.[40] Dagmar Schlüter has compared this text with Wolfram of Eschenbach’s Parzival (Julia Zimmermann) and the Regensburger Schottenlegende (Thomas Poser) and drawn attention to the impact of the Irish source, which was disseminated in a number of versions up until the seventeenth century.[41] A quick review of Schlüter’s observations will be helpful here, because their philological astuteness facilitates access.

Lebor Gabála goes back to the Old Testament in order to place the Irish in the line of Noah’s son Japheth. From him descended Fénius Farsaid, who established two lineages, the rulers over the Gaels, and the rulers over Scythia. Fénius and the pharaoh’s daughter had a son who developed Irish in Egypt from 72 other languages, thus honing it to the peak of perfect human speech. Similarly the Gaels were led—like the Israelites—out of Egypt, first to Scythia, where after certain confusions only three of the chained-together ships bearing the people survived. These finally arrived at Ireland, where the Gaels encountered three women at three places: Banba, Fótla and Ériu. Each of them requested that her name should be given to the whole of Ireland, but ultimately it was Ériu who got her way.[42]

This mixture of long peregrinations—from Egypt and Scythia, which is to say from Africa and Asia, to the west of Europe—and the encounter with the indigenous peoples already living there formed a basis for historical awareness in medieval Ireland. So these written memories which are handed-down in Ireland stand in strong and valiant contrast to any modern ideas that something authentic might still be found in Europe’s Celt Belt.

Decisive for the European culture of remembrance in the Middle Ages—as we may sum up this triad—was the complete reshaping of the continent by migrations. Its peoples and realms came about at the end of years of wandering; its cultures grew from diverse roots. Only with the transition to the modern age, when farewell was bid to the old originary legends, did the nations come to be rooted in the mother soil of Europe and the European continent taken as the point of origin and the measure of all civilisation.

The decisive turning point for the European cultures of memory in the Middle Ages—as the lively research into humanism is revealing with increasing clarity—was the period around 1500.[43] The famous words of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini may be taken as symptomatic of the change. In his responses to the Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453, he created the term ‘Europeans’ (Europaei) and invoked a European community of fate under the Catholic faith (fig. 11). His speech on the Turks in 1454 stylised Europe as a unifying fatherland, as home and domicile: “The Fall of Constantinople, my venerable fathers, illustrious princes and all you other men distinguished by your ranks and education, was for the Turks a great victory, but for the Greeks the greatest catastrophe, for the Latins the utmost humiliation, and which torments and puts fear into each and every one of you, or so I believe, the more so the nobler and gentler you are. For what befits a good and noble man more than to care for the faith, to champion religion, and to fortify and uphold as best he may the name of Christ the Saviour? But now that Constantinople is lost, now that such a great city has fallen into the clutches of the foe, so much Christian blood been shed, and so many of the faithful been taken into servitude, the Catholic Faith is gravely wounded, our religion ignominiously shaken, the name of Christ immoderately damaged and abased. Not in any of the centuries before has the Christian fellowship, in all truth, suffered a greater humiliation than now. For while in former times we were wounded in Asia and Africa, in foreign lands, we have now been shaken and cut down here in Europe, in the fatherland, in our own home, in our own domicile. Some may say that the Turks [already] sailed from Asia Minor to Greece many years ago, that the Tatars came and entrenched themselves this side of the Don, that the Saracens occupied part of Spain after crossing the Strait of Gibraltar; but we have never lost a city or a place in Europe in any way comparable to Constantinople. … And this city, so gainful, so vital, so valuable, has been lost for Christ the Lord and became the booty of Mohammed the Seducer—while we remained silent, if not to say: were asleep.”[44]

Medieval Constantinople
Fig. 11: Cristoforo Buondelmonte, Map of Late Medieval Constantinople, c. 1466, in Liber insularum Archipelagi. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms lat. 4825, fol. 37v

These words were designed to shake up the people. After the loss of Constantinople for the Christians, four of the five patriarchal churches were under Islamic rule: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople. Rome alone had been left to Christianity. After such experiences of loss and threat, Piccolomini dismissed the old image of the Turks according to old Frankish legend as having joint origins with the Franks. No longer did he trace the Turks back to the Trojans, but to the Scythians instead. This decisive repudiation of any kinship between the Turks and the European peoples was accompanied by their exclusion as Asiatic barbarians, “steeped in every form of debauchery”.[45]

That was a new idea of Europe, in which Piccolomini united the fear of foreign barbarians with the personal belief of being among the chosen. Piccolomini aimed this link between Europe and Christianity pragmatically at the union of the Latin and the Greek churches. This led of course to a growth in ideological potential in which the European sense of mission took on an increasingly clear shape.

Europe as the cradle of the true faith and culture—this idea accompanied the successful European power expansion around the world from the sixteenth century onward, along with the differentiation of the peoples into the civilised and the savages. These lines of development cannot be traced purposefully from the Middle Ages. On the contrary: the practice of marshalling an exclusive idea of Europe was not widely practiced and not something obvious. Aeneas Silvius’s stirring words, which he later continued in his admonishions following his election as Pope Pius II, competed with national concepts inside of Europe and with the un-emotive inclusion of Europe in world history. So an embattled Christianity did not simply seek its home in Europe. Rather, it was this tight situation that actually encouraged a modern idea of Europe of a positive cast.

Wander or stay—hybridisation or native soil

This sub-heading pinpoints the concepts that were developed throughout the Middle Ages for dealing with the establishment of nations and empires. Without glossing over the distinctions they present, an opening hypothesis will be advanced of temporal succession. The medieval image of perfectly natural hybridisation through migration was followed after the turn from the Middle Ages to the early Modern Era by a new system of historical interpretation in which individual peoples had lived since time immemorial on their native soil and never mingled with others. This model of ethnic purity competed from the second half of the fifteenth century onward with the older certainty that various peoples had wandered over large distances. We know the considerable impact on modern concepts of peoples and nations and on modern forms of citizenship that is exerted by the accident of birthplace and the length of the line of descent.

A clear historical development cannot be distinguished. But Latin Europe saw a clear sense of its own sphere of communication develop from the High to Late Middle Ages, as was further reflected by European cartography. The model of Europe as an integral part of the world gave birth to new ideas about the greatest possible advance occurring in the history of the globe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Otto of Freising († 1158) came up with the famous thesis that dominion, science and piety had migrated from the East to the West, which consequently marked the culmination of political, cultural and religious development in world history.[46]

This model resembles many others in the courageousness with which an author styles himself as the climax and destination of world history. The idea of rulership, science and piety coming from East to West in permanent waves of migration evoked a tight model of development in Latin Europe in which westernisation was seen as the ennoblement of history.

The stasis that the Cologne canon Alexander of Roes[47] attained by anchoring sacerdotium, imperium and studium in the Italians, Germans and French came in the last quarter of the thirteenth century, at the time when the first collective expansion of the Latin Europeans across the Mediterranean Sea collapsed.[48] It was certainly not by chance that this concentration on the core of Europe occurred parallel to the downfall of the Christian crusaders in Palestine (fig. 12). At first the capture of Jerusalem in 1099 by the crusaders had inspired considerable confidence in the prospect of missionizing the entire world. All the more dramatic then for the Christian self-image was the collapse of Christian rule in the Holy Land between 1187, upon the fall of Jerusalem under Sultan Saladin, and 1291, with the conquest of Acre as the last bastion of the crusaders by the Mamluks. During the High Middle Ages this self-image had resolutely avoided involving itself in Europe, instead pursuing an agenda of universal missionary work. But now the wave of expansion in Latin Christendom reversed into its sobering opposite. Two reports from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries show this change in the streams of migration. The first is well-known and much cited; the second should be looked at closer as its inversion.

Palestine Map
Fig. 12: Pietro Vesconte, Map of Palestine after 1329, in Chronologia Magna, Paulinus Minorita. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms lat. 4939, fol. 10v-11r.

Prior to 1127, at the apex of the first successes, Fulcher of Chartres, canon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, celebrated the new identity of the western Christians in the Orient:

For we who were Occidentals have now become Orientals. He who was a Roman or a Frank has in this land been made into a Galilean or a Palestinian. He who was of Rheims or Chartres has now become a citizen of Tyre or Antioch. We have already forgotten the places of our birth; already these are unknown to many of us or not mentioned any more.

Some already possess homes or households by inheritance. Some have taken wives not only of their own people but Syrians or Armenians or even Saracens who have obtained the grace of baptism.

…He who was born a stranger is now as one born here; … Our relatives and parents join us from time to time, sacrificing. even though reluctantly, all that they formerly possessed. Those who were poor in the Occident, God makes rich in this land. Those who had little money there have countless bezants [gold coins] here, and those who did not have a villa possess here by the gift of God a city.

Therefore why should one return to the Occident who has found the Orient like this?[49]

But in 1290/91, shortly before the fall of Acre, the Franciscan monk Fidentius of Padua swung this success story round into its exact opposite. Although many Christians arrived from almost every nation to Acre, they did not love their new fatherland, but constantly remained newcomers who adhered to their various languages and customs. “It is curious that many Christians who came with much passion to the Holy Land returned to their home countries with an even greater passion.”[50]

At the end of the Middle Ages, Humanism brought about a remarkable transformation in the centuries-old understanding of the distant origins of the peoples and cultures. With the passing from the fifteenth to the sixteenth century, just as Latin Europe was readying itself to cross the oceans, the old teachings of Europe as the third part of the world and on the Asian descent of the peoples and cultures made way for new ideas about their origins. Central here were—slightly overstated—(1) new concepts of ethnic purity, (2) the association between blood and native soil, (3) the nationalization of world history, and (4) the hierarchizing distillation of Europe from the entire world.

Around 1500, new ideas came to replace the older traditions about the origins of peoples based on migration.[51] These peoples no longer had captured their respective lands during the course of history, but had always been there. The change in narrative resulted from an ethnographic turnabout that presumably goes back to the discovery and humanistic reception since 1455 of Tacitus’s Germania.[52]

Tacitus had already described the German people around 100 A.D. as indigenes, not as arrivals: “The people of Germany appear to me indigenous, and free from intermixture with foreigners, either as settlers or casual visitants.”[53] For late medieval readers, this teaching on the state of native citizenship changed all that had been known till then. These new ideas contrasted strongly with the medieval traditions of migration and the origin myths about the peoples based on lengthy peregrinations and conquests. Tacitus’s writing now polarised European scholars. Momentous distinctions came into effect regarding the past that had been credited to the Germanic or Romance peoples.[54] In view of its impact, we shall cast an eye on the Swabian discourse.[55]

In 1456/57, at the time perhaps that Tacitus’s Germania was discovered, the Augsburg Benedictine monk Sigmund Meisterlin wrote in his Augsburg chronicles, in both Latin and German, that the Swabians had been raised on their soil since time immemorial (fig. 13). This is the opposite model to the Trojan migration legend, even if thoroughly influenced by it.[56]

Augsburg Construction
Fig. 13: The construction of Augsburg, 1522, in Sigmund Meisterlin’s Chronicle. Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Res/2 J.publ.g. 97#Beibd.2, fol. 4v.

Meisterlin’s Augsburg was older than Rome. His Swabians, a people descended from the progeny of Noah’s son Japheth, were the first to have arrived in the land, which they populated. The Vindelici, named after their city of Vindelica, constituted one of the Swabian tribes prior to Roman expansion. Swabia was where the campaigns of devastation were despatched from to pre-Christian Italy. The Romans felt the severity of Lucan’s furor teutonicus; the Swabians held out more tenaciously than any of the other tribes; even Caesar failed against them. He was unable to vanquish the warlike Swabians, and only managed to win their affections through goods and gifts. Since then, the Romans, as lords of the world, never accomplished anything of magnitude without the help of the Swabians. Audacious and faithful—Meisterlin already placed the origins of the Swabians’ self-confidence in the Roman imperial period.[57]

These Swabian discourses later expanded. Heinrich Bebel rooted his own tribe in his home soil and wrote a tract on the German peoples as indigenes. With this we discover an interesting watershed—from the Swabian perspective—in the late medieval historical memory of the peoples. No longer did they come to their land, they were always there.[58]

Conrad Celtis puts this succinctly with regard to the Germanic peoples, who had always lived on the same patch of earth and been engendered under the same sky. Writing on the situation in Germany and the German way of life, he noted in 1500: “An unvanquished people, well-known throughout the world, has lived forever there where the earth, bent in its spherical form, descends to the north pole. They patiently tolerate the heat of the sun, the cold and hard work; they cannot put up with the idleness of slothful living. This is an indigenous people (indigena gens) that does not trace its origins to another lineage, but that was sired under its own sky …”[59]

Many lines of tradition come together in this discourse of indigenous origins. Decisive starting points were provided by Tacitus with the god Tuisto who arose from the earth, and his son Mannus, the apical ancestor and founder of the Germanic people (Germany, chap. 2). The harmonisation of ethnographic knowledge with Biblical lore was not necessarily done in a uniform manner under Humanism, but the variations can be reduced to clear patterns. Under the name of Annius of Viterbo, the papal librarian Giovanni Nanni (1432–1502) penned a text on the origins of the European peoples which allegedly came from the Chaldean priest-prince Berossus from the fourth or third century B.C.

This pseudo-Berossus turned Tuisco, or Tuisto, who in Tacitus is still a god of the Germans, into Noah’s adopted son and the first legislator on the Rhine (fig. 14). With that it seemed proven that the Germans were older than the Trojans. Unlike the woolly eastern borders of the Germanic world that we find in Tacitus, Pseudo-Berossus was much clearer: his Tuysco was the ruler of Sarmatia. In this way, the European empire took shape in the minds of the humanists, from the Don to the Rhine.[60] And by declaring the Scythians to be Noah’s first pupils, Scythian history was likewise enlisted for German purposes. With that the link was discovered that made German civilisation the oldest in the world, and marked by a strong opposition to everything Roman.[61] This served a clear goal for Giovanni Nanni: “fighting against and ultimately destroying Rome!”[62]

Father Germans
Fig. 14: “Tuiscon, Father of all Germans,” 1543, in Ursprung und Herkummen der Zwölff ersten alten König und Fürsten Deutscher Nation, Burckard Waldis. Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Res/2 1121#Beibd.5, fol. A2v.

A retrograde extension of the German language and culture to the beginnings of humanity was undertaken in Der Oberrheinische Revolutionär. Das buchli der hundert capiteln mit XXXX statuten at the turn to the sixteenth century. This reform tract underlined that German was the language of Adam, and the sole tongue spoke in Noah’s Ark, prior to Japheth bringing it to the Rhine. “The only tongue spoken in Noah’s Ark was that of Adam, and it was German. Japheth then brought it to the Rhine.”[63]

Soon after, the Bavarian historian Aventin also considered including the Gauls in the German bloodline, but noted their degeneracy brought on by the mingling of their language and blood. Against this, German power could hold its own against and over every empire. Tuisco’s offspring had extended their rulership far across the world, “into the Asiatic Sarmatia, now ‘Tartary’, and to Scythia bordering India”. In their subsequent struggle against the Romans they had allegedly attacked and seized the fertile countryside of the Roman Empire, to wit Italy, France, Spain, Africa and Asia.[64] Everything foreign would be repelled by the Germans’ valour and moral purity. The reason given for this was the chastity of the German men, who despised nothing more than effeminacy and held nothing in higher regard than purity. For which reason they had in primeval times avoided the proximity of women, foreigners and books.[65]

With this, the scholarly humanists created their own associative picture of the ascendancy of the German people, which had lived on its “old sod” since time immemorial. There was no place in this self-image for dynamics and hybridisation through migrations, land occupation and settlement, or ethnogenesis. The consequences for the ongoing development of national stereotypes were considerable in the modern era, because it made quite a difference whether a people developed its history from foreign origins or from the eternally same soil of the homeland, which is to say from the bond between blood and soil. The research is closer to its onset than its end, because not until the lines of development in other European countries have been established from the sources can we establish a reliable basis to compare such concepts about origins.[66]

So in the end we are faced with a paradox: the more of the world the European peoples accessed, the older and purer they claimed the history of their own people to be. In terms of geographical knowledge, Europe shrank by relation more and more (fig. 15, following page). The southern voyages of the Portuguese in the fifteenth century proved that one could no longer speak of Europe and Africa as being of equal extent, as had been believed since ancient times. The circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century then turned Europe into an even smaller part of the world. The Europeans overcame this by making new distinctions between the civilized world and the savages,[67] through colonialism and slavery,[68] and through the idea of Europe as queen of the world. It was to take some time before this essentialism was seriously challenged. In return, the present methodological and theoretical approaches are now all the more resolute. ‘Transcultural Studies’ is making an end of the old models of acculturation and of the export of civilisation, and returning Europe back to a small patch of the world, even smaller than it already was on the Ebstorf Map around 1300.

Map World
Fig. 15: Martin Waldseemüller, Map of the world (Cosmographiae introductio), 1507, Africa breaches the frame of the map. Washington, DC, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

[1] This text presents in broad swaths a translation of Bernd Schneidmüller, Die mittelalterlichen Destillationen Europas aus der Welt,” in Europa in der Welt des Mittelalters: Ein Colloquium für und mit Michael Borgolte, ed. Tillmann Lohse and Benjamin Scheller (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014), 11–32. I would like to thank the editors and the publisher for their kind permission and Malcolm Green for the English translation.

[2] Summary publications from the DFG-Schwerpunktprogramm 1173: Michael Borgolte, Juliane Schiel, Bernd Schneidmüller, and Annette Seitz, eds., Mittelalter im Labor: Die Mediävistik testet Wege zu einer transkulturellen Europawissenschaft. Europa im Mittelalter: Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, ed. Michael Borgolte and Wolfgang Huschner, vol. 10 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2008); Michael Borgolte and Bernd Schneidmüller, eds., Hybride Kulturen im mittelalterlichen Europa: Vorträge und Workshops einer internationalen Frühlingsschule—Hybrid Cultures in Medieval Europe: Papers and Workshops of an International Spring School. Europa im Mittelalter: Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, ed. Michael Borgolte and Wolfgang Huschner, vol. 16 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2010); Michael Borgolte, Julia Dücker, Marcel Müllerburg, and Bernd Schneidmüller, eds., Integration und Desintegration der Kulturen im mittelalterlichen Europa. Europa im Mittelalter: Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, ed. Michael Borgolte and Wolfgang Huschner, vol. 18 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2011).

[3] Michael Borgolte, Julia Dücker, Marcel Müllerburg, Paul Predatsch, and Bernd Schneidmüller, eds., Europa im Geflecht der Welt: Mittelalterliche Migrationen in globalen Bezügen. Europa im Mittelalter: Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, ed. Michael Borgolte and Wolfgang Huschner, vol. 20 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2012). Cf. Michael Borgolte, Migrationen als transkulturelle Verflechtungen im mittelalterlichen Europa: Ein neuer Pflug für alte Forschungsfelder,” Historische Zeitschrift 289 (2009): 261–285; Michael Borgolte, Mythos Völkerwanderung: Migration oder Expansion bei den ‘Ursprüngen Europas’”, Viator 41 (2010): 23–47.

[4] Michael Borgolte, ed., Migrationen im Mittelalter: Ein Handbuch (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014); The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, ed. Immanuel Ness (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).

[5] My own sketches on this: Bernd Schneidmüller, Europäische Erinnerungsorte im Mittelalter,” Jahrbuch für Europäische Geschichte 3 (2002): 39–58; Bernd Schneidmüller, Grenzerfahrung und monarchische Ordnung: Europa 1200–1500 (Munich: Beck, 2011).

[6] Fundamental now to the history of the research and interpretations is Klaus Oschema, Bilder von Europa im Mittelalter. Mittelalter-Forschungen, vol. 43 (Ostfildern: Thorbecke, 2013).

[7] Achim Thomas Hack, Das Mittelalter als Epoche im Schulbuch: Periodisierung und Charakterisierung,” in Das Bild des Mittelalters in europäischen Schulbüchern, ed. Martin Clauss and Manfred Seidenfuß (Berlin: Lit, 2007), 85–116; Jürgen Voss, Das Mittelalter im historischen Denken Frankreichs: Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalterbegriffes und der Mittelalterbewertung von der zweiten Hälfte des 16. bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Veröffentlichungen des Historischen Instituts der Universität Mannheim, vol. 3 (Munich: W. Fink, 1972); Uwe Neddermeyer, Das Mittelalter in der deutschen Historiographie vom 15. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert: Geschichtsgliederung und Epochenverständnis in der frühen Neuzeit. Kölner Historische Abhandlungen, vol. 34 (Cologne: Böhlau, 1988); Jean-Daniel Morerod, “La base textuelle d’un mythe historiographique: le ‘Moyen Âge’ des humanistes italiens,” in Retour aux sources: Textes, études et documents d’histoire médiévale offerts à Michel Parisse, ed. Michel Parisse and Sylvain Gouguenheim (Paris: Picard, 2004), 943–953.

[8] On the power exerted by such concepts, see Hans-Werner Goetz, Vorstellungsgeschichte: Gesammelte Schriften zu Wahrnehmungen, Deutungen und Vorstellungen im Mittelalter, ed. Anna Aurast, Simon Elling, Bele Freudenberg, Anja Lutz, and Steffen Patzold (Bochum: Winkler, 2007).

[9] Folker Reichert, Das Bild der Welt im Mittelalter (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2013), 9–42; Ingrid Baumgärtner and Martina Stercken, eds., Herrschaft verorten: Politische Kartographie im Mittelalter und in der frühen Neuzeit. Medienwandel – Medienwechsel – Medienwissen, vol. 19 (Zurich: Chronos, 2012); Christoph Markschies, Ingeborg Reichle, Jochen Brüning, and Peter Deuflhard, eds., Atlas der Weltbilder. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: Forschungsberichte, vol. 25 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2011); Anna-Dorothee von den Brincken, Studien zur Universalkartographie des Mittelalters. Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte, ed. Thomas Szabó, vol. 229 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008); Ingrid Baumgärtner and Hartmut Kugler, eds., Europa im Weltbild des Mittelalters: Kartographische Konzepte. Orbis mediaevalis. Vorstellungswelten des Mittelalters, vol. 10 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2008); Evelyn Edson, Emilie Savage-Smith, and Anna-Dorothee von den Brincken, Medieval Views of the Cosmos (Oxford: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, 2004); Ute Schneider, Die Macht der Karten: Eine Geschichte der Kartographie vom Mittelalter bis heute (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2004).

[10] Hans Werner Goetz, Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewußtsein im hohen Mittelalter. Orbis mediaevalis. Vorstellungswelten des Mittelalters, vol. 1 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1999); Hans-Werner Goetz, Gott und die Welt: Religiöse Vorstellungen des frühen und hohen Mittelalters, part 1, vol. 1, Das Gottesbild. Orbis mediaevalis. Vorstellungswelten des Mittelalters, vol. 13.1 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2011); Hans-Werner Goetz, Gott und die Welt. Religiöse Vorstellungen des frühen und hohen Mittelalters, part 1, vol. 2, II. Die materielle Schöpfung: Kosmos und Welt. III. Die Welt als Heilsgeschehen. Orbis mediaevalis. Vorstellungswelten des Mittelalters, vol. 13.2 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2012).

[11] Gent, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Ms. 92, fol. 241r. Reproduced in Oschema, Bilder von Europa im Mittelalter, ill. 11. Cautious evaluation of the same, 452–473.

[12] See Oschema, Bilder von Europa im Mittelalter, 336 ff.

[13] Honorius Augustodunensis, Imago mundi, ed. Valerie I. J. Flint. Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge49, (Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1982), 7–153, in particular 125.

[14] Evelyn Edson, The World Map, 1300–1492: The Persistence of Tradition and Transformation (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); Rudolf Simek, Erde und Kosmos im Mittelalter: Das Weltbild vor Kolumbus (Munich: Beck, 1992); Patrick Gautier Dalché, La géographie de Ptolémée en occident (IVe–XVIe siècle) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009). Regarding the portulan charts see Monique de La Roncière and Michel Mollat Du Jourdin, Portulane: Seekarten vom 13. bis zum 17. Jahrhundert (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 1984).

[15] Michael Borgolte, Christliche und muslimische Repräsentationen der Welt: Ein Versuch in transdisziplinärer Mediävistik,” in Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: Berichte und Abhandlungen 14 (2008): 89–147.

[16] Hartmut Kugler, ed., Die Ebstorfer Weltkarte: Kommentierte Neuausgabe in zwei Bänden (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2007).

[17] Anna-Dorothee von den Brincken, Fines Terrae: Die Enden der Erde und der vierte Kontinent auf mittelalterlichen Weltkarten. Schriften der Monumenta Germaniae Historica, vol. 36 (Hanover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1992); Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum: Gedruckt zu Nuermberg durch Johann Koler anno MDLXXII; Mit einer Einführung und Erläuterungen von Ute Schneider (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006).

[18] Caspar Hirschi, Boden der Christenheit und Quelle der Männlichkeit: Humanistische Konstruktionen Europas am Beispiel von Enea Silvio Piccolomini und Sebastian Münster,” in Leitbild Europa? Europabilder und ihre Wirkungen in der Neuzeit, ed. Jürgen Elvert and Jürgen Nielsen-Sikora (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2009), 46–66.

[19] Christoph Stiegemann, Martin Kroker, and Wolfgang Walter, eds., Credo: Christianisierung Europas im Mittelalter. 2 vols. (Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2013); Rudolf Schieffer, Christianisierung und Reichsbildungen: Europa 700–1200 (Munich: Beck, 2013).

[20] For the historical and cultural importance of monotheism see Garth Fowden, Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993); Michael Borgolte, Christen, Juden, Muselmanen: Die Erben der Antike und der Aufstieg des Abendlandes 300 bis 1400 n. Chr. (Munich: Siedler-Verlag, 2006).

[21] Ernst Pitz, Die griechisch-römische Ökumene und die drei Kulturen des Mittelalters: Geschichte des mediterranen Weltteils zwischen Atlantik und Indischem Ozean, 270–812. Europa im Mittelalter. Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, vol. 3 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2001).

[22] Bernhard Pabst, Ideallandschaft und Ursprung der Menschheit: Paradieskonzeptionen und -lokalisierungen des Mittelalters im Wandel”, Frühmittelalterliche Studien 38 (2004): 17–53.

[23] Ulrich Knefelkamp, Die Suche nach dem Reich des Priesterkönigs Johannes: Dargestellt anhand von Reiseberichten und anderen ethnographischen Quellen des 12. bis 17. Jahrhunderts (Gelsenkirchen: A. Müller, 1986); Bettina Wagner, Die ‘Epistola presbiteri Johannis’ lateinisch und deutsch. Überlieferung, Textgeschichte, Rezeption und Übertragungen im Mittelalter: Mit bisher unedierten Texten. Münchener Texte und Untersuchungen zur deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters, vol. 115 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2000).

[24] Hannes Möhring, Der Weltkaiser der Endzeit: Entstehung, Wandel und Wirkung einer tausendjährigen Weissagung. Mittelalter-Forschungen, vol. 3 (Stuttgart: Thorbecke, 2000); Beat Wolf, Jerusalem und Rom: Mitte, Nabel – Zentrum, Haupt; Die Metaphern ‘Umbilicus mundi’ und ‘Caput mundi’ in den Weltbildern der Antike und des Abendlands bis in die Zeit der Ebstorfer Weltkarte (Bern: Lang, 2010); Bruno Reudenbach, ed., Jerusalem, du Schöne: Vorstellungen und Bilder einer heiligen Stadt. Vestigia Bibliae, vol. 28 (Bern: Lang, 2008).

[25] Klaus Herbers, Pilger, Päpste, Heilige: Ausgewählte Aufsätze zur europäischen Geschichte des Mittelalters, ed. Gordon Blennemann, Wiebke Deimann, Matthias Mauser, and Christofer Zwanzig (Tübingen: Narr, 2011).

[26] František Graus, Lebendige Vergangenheit: Überlieferungen im Mittelalter und in den Vorstellungen vom Mittelalter (Cologne: Böhlau, 1975). Cf. also Beate Kellner, Ursprung und Kontinuität: Studien zum genealogischen Wissen im Mittelalter (Munich: W. Fink, 2004).

[27] Troia: Traum und Wirklichkeit, ed. Joachim Latacz (Stuttgart: Theiss, 2001). Published in conjuncture with the exhibition oft the same name, shown at Forum der Landesbank Baden–Württemberg, in cooperation with the Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden–Württemberg in Stuttgart, the Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum and Herzog–Anton–Ulrich-Museum – Burg Dankwarderode in Braunschweig, and the Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in Bonn, 2001/2002; Kordula Wolf, Troja – Metamorphosen eines Mythos: Französische, englische und italienische Überlieferungen des 12. Jahrhunderts im Vergleich. Europa im Mittelalter. Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, vol. 13 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009).

[28] Alheydis Plassmann, Origo gentis: Identitäts- und Legitimationsstiftung in früh- und hochmittelalterlichen Herkunfserzählungen. Orbis mediaevalis. Vorstellungswelten des Mittelalters, vol. 7 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2006).

[29] Norbert Kersken, Geschichtsschreibung im Europa der nationes’: Nationalgeschichtliche Gesamtdarstellungen im Mittelalter. Münstersche Historische Forschungen, vol. 8 (Cologne: Böhlau, 1995).

[30] Plassmann, Origo gentis, 361f.

[31] Kersken, Geschichtsschreibung im Europa der nationes’, 800f.

[32] Thomas Foerster, Vergleich und Identität: Selbst- und Fremddeutung im Norden des hochmittelalterlichen Europa. Europa im Mittelalter. Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, vol. 14 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009); Dominik Waßenhoven, Skandinavier unterwegs in Europa, 1000–1250: Untersuchungen zu Mobilität und Kulturtransfer auf prosopographischer Grundlage. Europa im Mittelalter. Abhandlungen und Beiträge zur historischen Komparatistik, vol. 8 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2006).

[33] Hans-Jürgen Bömelburg, Frühneuzeitliche Nationen im östlichen Europa: Das polnische Geschichtsdenken und die Reichweite einer humanistischen Nationalgeschichte, 1500–1700. Veröffentlichungen des Nordost-Instituts, vol. 4 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2004).

[34] Apart from this hierarchisation, which developed in the period when Europe underwent a divide, but also expressly stimulated by the courage that went into this attempt to achieve structure, the SPP-Schwerpunktprogramm 1173 tried to develop a non-targeted perspectival approach to Europe in the Middle Ages, cf. note. 2.—Regarding the medieval history of Europe (in the world ) cf. Hans-Werner Goetz, Europa im frühen Mittelalter, 500–1050. Handbuch der Geschichte Europas, vol. 2 (Stuttgart: Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 2003); Michael Borgolte, Europa entdeckt seine Vielfalt, 1050–1250. Handbuch der Geschichte Europas, vol. 3 (Stuttgart: Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 2002); Michael North, Europa expandiert, 1250–1500. Handbuch der Geschichte Europas, vol. 4 (Stuttgart: Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 2007); Thomas Ertl, Seide, Pfeffer und Kanonen: Globalisierung im Mittelalter (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2008); Akira Iriye and Jürgen Osterhammel, eds., 1350–1750, Weltreiche und Weltmeere. Geschichte der Welt, ed. Wolfgang Reinhardt, vol. 3 (Munich: Beck, 2014).

[35] Matthias Becher, ed., Quellen zur Geschichte der Welfen und die Chronik Burchards von Ursberg. Ausgewählte Quellen zur deutschen Geschichte des Mittelalters, vol. 18b (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007), 34/35.

[36] Franz Dölger, “Rom in der Gedankenwelt der Byzantiner,“ in Byzanz und die europäische Staatenwelt: Ausgewählte Vorträge und Aufsätze (Ettal: Buch–Kunstverlag, 1953), 70–115; Kilian Lechner, “Hellenen und Barbaren im Weltbild der Byzantiner: Die alten Bezeichnungen als Ausdruck eines neuen Kulturbewußtseins” (doctoral dissertation, LMU Munich, 1954); Kilian Lechner, “Byzanz und die Barbaren,” Saeculum 6, (1955): 292–306; Herbert Hunger, Reich der neuen Mitte: Der christliche Geist der byzantinischen Kultur (Graz: Verlag Styria, 1965); Hélène Ahrweiler, L’idéologie politique de l’Empire byzantin. L’historien, vol. 20 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1975); Ralph-Johannes Lilie, Byzanz: Das zweite Rom (Berlin: Siedler-Verlag, 2003).

[37] Peter Charanis, Studies on the Demography of the Byzantine Empire: Collected Studies (London: Variorum Reprints, 1972); Anna Avraméa, Le péloponnèse du IVe au VIIIe siècle: Changements et persistances. Publications de la Sorbonne. Série Byzantina Sorbonensia, vol. 15 (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1997); Hélène Ahrweiler and Angeliki E. Laiou, eds., Studies on the Internal Diaspora of the Byzantine Empire (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1998); Michel Balard and Alain Ducellier, eds., Migrations et diasporas méditerranéenes (Xe–XVIe siècles). Publications de la Sorbonne. Série Byzantina Sorbonensia, vol. 19 (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2002); Victor Spinei, The Great Migration in the East and South East of Europe from the Ninth to the Thirteenth Century. 2 vols (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 2006).

[38] Peter Charanis, “The Transfer of Population as a Policy in the Byzantine Empire”, in Charanis, Studies on the Demography of the Byzantine Empire.

[39] An overview may be found in Michael Richter, Irland im Mittelalter: Kultur und Geschichte (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1983).

[40] Rezension I, given in the ‘Book of Leinster’, the oldest manuscript from the end of the 12th century: Richard I. Best, Osborn Bergin, and Michael A. O’Brien, eds., The Book of Leinster formerly Lebar na Núachongbála, vol. 1 (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1954), 1–56. John T. Koch and John Carey, eds., The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales, 2nd edition. Celtic Studies Publications, vol. 1 (Malden, Mass.: Celtic Studies Publications, 1995), 213–266; Cf. Dagmar Schlüter, History or Fable? The Book of Leinster as a Document of Cultural Memory in Twelfth-Century Ireland. Studien und Texte zur Keltologie, vol. 9 (Münster: Nodus, 2010).

[41] Thomas Poser, Dagmar Schlüter, and Julia Zimmermann, “Migration und ihre literarische Inszenierung: Zwischen interkultureller Abschottung und transkultureller Verflechtung,” in Borgolte, Europa im Geflecht der Welt, 87–100, here 93–95.

[42] I follow here the chapter in Poser, “Migration und ihre literarische Inszenierung,” 93–95.

[43] Of fundamental importance Caspar Hirschi, Wettkampf der Nationen: Konstruktionen einer deutschen Ehrgemeinschaft an der Wende vom Mittelalter zur Neuzeit (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2005); Cf. also Frank L. Borchardt, German antiquity in Renaissance Myth (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1971); Paul Joachimsen, Geschichtsauffassung und Geschichtsschreibung in Deutschland unter dem Einfluß des Humanismus, vol. 1 (Leipzig: Teubner, 1910); Ulrich Muhlack, Geschichtswissenschaft im Humanismus und in der Aufklärung: Die Vorgeschichte des Historismus (Munich: Beck, 1991); Johannes Helmrath, “Die Umprägung von Geschichtsbildern in der Historiographie des europäischen Humanismus,” in Von Fakten und Fiktionen: Mittelalterliche Geschichtsdarstellungen und ihre kritische Aufarbeitung, ed. Johannes Laudage (Cologne: Böhlau, 2003), 323–352; Johannes Helmrath, “Probleme und Formen nationaler und regionaler Historiographie des deutschen und europäischen Humanismus um 1500,” in Spätmittelalterliches Landesbewußtsein in Deutschland, ed. Matthias Werner (Ostfildern: Thorbecke, 2005), 333–392.

[44] Johannes Helmrath, “Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pius II.) – Ein Humanist als Vater des Europagedankens?”, in Europa und die Europäer: Quellen und Essays zur modernen europäischen Geschichte, ed. Rüdiger Hohls, Iris Schröder, and Hannes Siegrist (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2005), 361–369, Quellen 366–369, Quelle 6.1c.

[45] Hirschi, „Boden der Christenheit und Quelle der Männlichkeit,“ 49.

[46] See Hans-Werner Goetz, Das Geschichtsbild Ottos von Freising: Ein Beitrag zur historischen Vorstellungswelt und zur Geschichte des 12. Jahrhunderts. Beihefte zum Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, vol. 19 (Cologne: Böhlau, 1984). A new interpretation may be found in Joachim Ehlers, Otto von Freising: Ein Intellektueller im Mittelalter (Munich: Beck, 2013).

[47] Alexander of Roes, “Noticia seculi”, in Alexander von Roes: Schriften, ed. Herbert Grundmann and Hermann Heimpel. Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Staatsschriften des späteren Mittelalters, vol. 1:1 (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1958), 149–171, here 159; On the further development of the Roman-German Empire in the late Middle Ages see Len Scales, The Shaping of German Identity: Authority and Crisis, 1245–1414 (Cambridge, N.Y: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

[48] Annette Seitz, Das lange Ende der Kreuzfahrerreiche in der Universalchronistik des lateinischen Europa (1187–1291). Historische Studien, vol. 497 (Husum: Matthiesen, 2010).

[49] Fulcher of Chartres, Historia Hierosolymitana, ed. Harold Fink, trans. Frances Ryan (Knoxville: University of Texas Press, 1969), lib. III, chap. 37, 271–272.

[50] Fidentius of Padua, “Liber recuperationis Terre Sancte ([1274] 1290–1291),” Projets de croisade (v. 1290–v. 1330), ed. Jacques Paviot (Paris 2008), 54–169, here 62f.

[51] I am consulting in the following my own expositions in Bernd Schneidmüller, “Erinnerte gentes: Geschichtsgedächtnis für das spätere Mittelalter,” in Völker, Reiche und Namen im frühen Mittelalter, ed. Matthias Becher and Stefanie Dick. MittelalterStudien, vol. 22 (Munich: W. Fink, 2010), 395–409.

[52] Dieter Mertens, “Die Instrumentalisierung der ‘Germania’ des Tacitus durch die deutschen Humanisten,” in Zur Geschichte der Gleichung ‘germanisch – deutsch’: Sprache und Namen, Geschichte und Institutionen, ed. Heinrich Beck, Dieter Geuenich, Heiko Steuer, and Dieter Hakelberg. Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, vol. 34 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2004), 37–101; Dieter Mertens, “Caesar, Arminius und die Deutschen: Meistererzählungen und Aitiologien,” in Antike im Mittelalter: Fortleben, Nachwirken, Wahrnehmung, ed. Sebastian Brather, Hans Ulrich Nuber, Heiko Steuer, and Thomas Zotz (Ostfildern: Thorbecke, 2014), 383–441. Cf. also Arno Borst, Der Turmbau von Babel: Geschichte der Meinungen über Ursprung und Vielfalt der Sprachen und Völker, 4 vols. (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1957–63), 3.1: 1033–1101; Christopher B. Krebs, Negotiatio Germaniae: Tacitus’ Germania und Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Giannantonio Campano, Conrad Celtis und Heinrich Bebel. Hypomnemata, vol. 158 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005).

[53] Germany and the Agricola of Tacitus, trans. Edward Brooks (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1897), 2.1., [Accessed on 03. December 2014].

[54] The explosiveness of this new interpretation, up to its ideologisation in the 20th century, is striking in Hirschi, Wettkampf der Nationen, 489–501.

[55] See Klaus Graf, “Das ‘Land’ Schwaben im späten Mittelalter,” in Regionale Identität und soziale Gruppen im deutschen Mittelalter, ed. Peter Moraw. Zeitschrift für historische Forschung. Beiheft, vol. 14 (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1992), 127–164; Klaus Graf, Exemplarische Geschichten: Thomas Lirers ‘Schwäbische Chronik’ und die Gmündener Kaiserchronik’. Forschungen zur Geschichte der älteren deutschen Literatur, vol. 7 (Munich: W. Fink, 1987).

[56] Gernot Michael Müller, “‘Quod non sit honor Augustensibus si dicantur a Teucris ducere originem’: Humanistische Aspekte in der Cronographia Augustensium des Sigismund Meisterlin,” in Humanismus und Renaissance in Augsburg. Kulturgeschichte einer Stadt zwischen Spätmittelalter und Dreißigjährigem Krieg. Frühe Neuzeit, vol. 144 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010), 237–273.

[57] As evinced in Dieter Mertens, “Spätmittelalterliches Landesbewußtsein im Gebiet des alten Schwaben,” in Werner, Spätmittelalterliches Landesbewußtsein in Deutschland, 93–156, here 145f.

[58] Krebs, Negotiatio Germaniae, 226–250.

[59] Gernot Michael Müller, Die ‘Germania generalis’ des Conrad Celtis: Studien mit Edition, Übersetzung und Kommentar. Frühe Neuzeit, vol. 67 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2001), 94f.

[60] Ronald E. Asher, ed./trans., National Myths in Renaissance France: Francus, Samothes and the Druids (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993), App. I: text and translation of Annius Fragments attributed to Berosus and Manetho, 191–233, citation 202; on Tuisco, Tuisto as Noah’s adopted son: 208.

[61] Asher, National Myths in Renaissance France, 198.

[62] Hirschi, Wettkampf der Nationen, 331.

[63] Der Oberrheinische Revolutionär: Das buchli der hundert capiteln mit XXXX statuten, ed. Klaus H. Lauterbach. Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Staatsschriften des späteren Mittelalters, vol. 7 (Hanover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2009), chap. 10, 135; cf. also chap. 8, 127: “der sproch, den Adam sproch, das ist almantz sproch, darumb die tuschen hiessen in latin ‘almani’”. On the theory of origins Klaus H. Lauterbach, Geschichtsverständnis, Zeitdidaxe und Reformgedanke an der Wende zum sechzehnten Jahrhundert: Das oberrheinische ‘buchli der hundert capiteln’ im Kontext des spätmittelalterlichen Reformbiblizismus. Forschungen zur oberrheinischen Landesgeschichte, vol. 33 (Freiburg: K. Alber, 1985), 167–179 (with references to Hildegard of Bingen, whose Adam and Eve also spoke German).

[64] Johannes Aventin, “Chronica von ursprung, herkomen und taten der uralten Teutschen …,” in Johannes Turmair’s genannt Aventinus kleinere historische und philologische Schriften (Munich: Kaiser, 1881), 299–372, here 343.

[65] As evinced by Hirschi, Wettkampf der Nationen, 333–337.

[66] See for instance with regard to the Gallic usurpation of France’s Frankish past, Colette Beaune, Naissance de la nation France (Paris: Gallimard, 1985); Jean-Louis Brunaux, Nos ancêtres les Gaulois (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2008); Henri Duranton, “‘Nos ancêtres, les Gaulois’. Genèse et avatars d’un cliché historique,” Cahiers d’histoire 14 (1969): 339–370.

[67] Urs Bitterli, Die ‘Wilden’ und die ‘Zivilisierten’: Grundzüge einer Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte der europäisch-überseeischen Begegnung, 3rd edition (Munich: Beck, 2004).

[68] Walter Demel, ed., Entdeckungen und neue Ordnungen, 1200 bis 1800, WBG Weltgeschichte: Eine globale Geschichte von den Anfängen bis ins 21. Jahrhundert, vol. 4 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2010); Wolfgang Reinhard, Geschichte der europäischen Expansion. vols. 1–2. (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1983–1985).