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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Mapping the world

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, the idea of Persia has fascinated much of the world. From the Middle Ages on, Europe and Persia’s knowledge of each other expanded as a result of greater contact through pilgrimage, diplomacy, conflict, trade and travel.

Maps created during this period reflect this increasing knowledge – not only in terms of each region’s geographical features and place names but also in relation to shared ideas within schools of scientific thought, such as astronomy and geography.

The two world maps within this section of the website, for instance, present the earth as round. The idea that the medieval world viewed the earth as flat is a myth that has a relatively recent history. This idea was largely perpetuated in the 19th century by those wishing to promote a sense of intellectual progress and, in turn, the superiority of recent scholarship.

Classical writers as early as Aristotle, in the 4th century BC, had described the earth as spherical, and Ptolemy’s theories and world map based on a spherical earth continued to be highly influential to both European and Islamic cartography more than a thousand years after his writings in the 2nd century AD.

Love & devotion in the UK

The Bodleian Libraries is showing its own presentation of the Love and devotion exhibition at the Exhibition Room, Bodleian Library, in Oxford, England, between 29 November 2012 and 28 April 2013.

Learn more about how you can visit this exhibition on the Bodleian Libraries website.


Love and devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

This two-day conference held in April 2012 featured distinguished international guests and Australian specialists exploring cultural convergences in literature, the arts and architecture, history and philosophy within Persia's cultural sphere and Europe, from the 11th century to the present day.

For information on keynote speakers & topics discussed, visit our conference page

Visit the exhibition

The Love and devotion exhibition took place from 9 March to 1 July 2012. In-depth information about the exhibits and themes can be found on this website.

State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Tel +61 3 8664 7000