To Imagine What is Otherwise Invisible: Diagrammatic Representations of the Cosmos in Byzantine Manuscripts (in dialogue and contrast with the Liber Floridus)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Having introduced the concepts of cosmology and cosmography and the distinction between the two at the start of my talk, I will then discuss a range of diagrammatic representations preserved in Byzantine manuscripts whose purpose was to help see, imagine, understand and remember the nature and structure of the universe at various scales: from the four elements or nature’s building blocks to the cosmos itself.

The lecture will serve as an introduction to the main cosmological ideas in Byzantium and will offer a survey of the available manuscript evidence. Beyond that, however, and in dialogue with the Liber Floridus, it will unpack and examine how scientific illustrations, especially the diagrammatic ones, function as abstractions and representations of what is otherwise unseen but imaginable, as for instance the tiniest particles in nature or the entirety of the creation.
Period20 Oct 2021
Event titleAutumn School in Medieval Languages and Culture 2021: "Scales of Knowledge. From Cosmos to Book"
Event typeOther
LocationGhent and FordhamShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Byzantium
  • Liber Floridus
  • Medieval cosmology
  • Medieval cosmography