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Othello's Island 2015

at the Severis Foundation • Nicosia • Cyprus


Speaker: Dr Milda Kvizikevičiūtė (Vilnius University, Lithuania)

Title: "Reflection of the Levant in the Hierosolymitana peregrinatio (1582-1584) by M. K. Radvila (Grand Duchy of Lithuania)"




During the Renaissance the Levant  has been a very popular traveling destination. Travelers from Great Duchy of Lithuania (hereinafter GDL) have also reached it. The first traveler from GDL was Mikalojus Kristupas Radvila Našlaitėlis (hereinafter) Radvila) (1549-1616) - a high official of  GDL and famous explorer, who wrote a traveling diary„Journey to Jerusalem“ (lot. Hierosolymitana peregrinatio).


The aim of the paper is to analyse reflections of the Levant in the diary and capture the cultural intersections.  The cornerstone of this paper is  cultural and religious differences, historical and exotic aspects of the Levant in perspective of the Renaissance traveler of GDL. The first  part of the paper presents Radvila  and the enviroment, which had put an impact on his worldview – social status, religion etc.


Thereafter  attention will be paid to the cultural and religious differences, captured by the author. Radvila was appointed a lot of effort and time to prepare for a future trip to Jerusalem, tehrefore he allowed himself to discuss the existing truths and myths about the Levant culture. This was vividly revealed on the topic of religion, both Christianity and Islam.


The third part of the paper focuses on the exotics of the Levant region. Radvila was interested not only in the pilgrimage, but also historical sites. Nevertheless he kept writing about exotic flora and fauna. It is clear that many things was still shrouded in mystique and ignorance (apparantly this point of view has been continuing till 18th century). All this demonstrates  that Lithuania was still too distant to perceive the culture of the Levant region, but it also shows deep impact of the Renaissance culture on M. K. Radvila. His traveling diary was not only fixation of interesting aspects, but also it was understood as guide to the Levant culture in GDL.




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