Petrovskaia (Natalia I.)

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Petrovskaia, Natalia, and Kiki Calis, Images of the world: manuscript database of the imago mundi tradition, Online. URL: <>. 

The “Images of the World” Manuscripts Database of the Imago Mundi Tradition is part of the 3-year research project Defining ‘Europe’ in Medieval European Geographical Discourse: the Image of the World and its Legacy, 1110-1500, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme VENI. The project commenced on February 1, 2017, at The Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON), Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University.

The database includes over 350 manuscripts containing the Imago Mundi of Honorius Augustodunensis and its vernacular adaptations. Manuscripts containing fragments, extracts, and extensive quotations in compilations are also included. Vernacular texts loosely based on the Imago mundi, as well as texts that constitute translations in the conventional sense of the word are included in the database. (For a full list of texts currently included, see below).

The database is intended both a tool for researchers interested in the Imago Mundi tradition and a way of presenting the results of the Defining Europe project. One of the goals of the project is to establish how the medieval geographical definition of Europe as found in the Imago Mundi spread in the period 1110-1500. The dissemination of Honorius’s text through Europe is thus a central interest of the database. The manuscript catalogue presented in the database is thus complemented by an interactive map, permitting the user to track the historical locations of individual manuscripts (where known).

Petrovskaia, Natalia I., Delw y byd: a medieval Welsh encyclopedia, MHRA Library of Medieval Welsh Literature, London: Modern Humanities Research Association, 2020.  

This edition presents extracts from the medieval Welsh encyclopedia Delw y Byd. A medieval Welsh translation of the first book of the Latin encyclopedia known as Imago Mundi, written by Honorius Augustodunensis in the first quarter of the twelfth century, this text is a fine example of the ties between the intellectual world of Europe and Wales in the late-twelfth/early-thirteenth centuries, when the text was translated, ties that brought across the scientific knowledge based on Roman and late antique sources. Structured according to the four elements: earth, water, air and fire, the text presents geographical, anthropological, and astronomical information, often with historical and mythological contexts. The present edition follows that organizational principle, providing a glimpse into the medieval understanding of the overarching structure of the universe.

The text is presented in its historical and literary context, with an updated account of its transmission. A commentary on the scientific context of the most interesting passages is provided, as well as a linguistic one. The edition also provides an overview of the variants by printing parallel texts based on all surviving medieval manuscript witnesses for a number of selected chapters. This includes sections of two previously unpublished medieval witnesses of the text. The accompanying glossary includes vocabulary from all extracts included in the edition.

Petrovskaia, Natalia I., “Mythologizing the conceptual landscape: religion and history in Imago mundi, Image du monde, and Delw y byd”, in: Egeler, Matthias (ed.), Landscape and myth in northwestern Europe, Borders, Boundaries, Landscapes 2, Turnhout: Brepols, 2019. 195–211.
Petrovskaia, Natalia, “The concept of Europe in the medieval Welsh geographical treatise Delw y byd”, Celtic Forum: The Annual Reports of the Japan Society for Celtic Studies 21 (2018): 23–34.  

The present article discusses the concept of Europe in Delw y Byd, the medieval Welsh translation of the geographical section of the twelfth-century encyclopedia Imago mundi, written in Latin by Honorius Augustodunensis. The research presented here forms part of the project ‘Defining Europe in Medieval European Geographical Discourse: the Image of the World and its Legacy, 1110-1500’ funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. An early version of this article was presented at the Japan Society for Celtic Studies Annual Congress in October 2017 as 「ウェールズの地理学 書 Delw y Byd における「ヨーロッパ」のコンセプトについて」.

Petrovskaia, Natalia, Medieval Welsh perceptions of the Orient, Cursor Mundi 21, Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. xxxv + 241 pp.  
This book introduces a new theoretical framework for the examination of medieval Western European perceptions of the Orient. Through the application of the medieval concept of translatio studii et imperii, it proposes the identification of three distinct conceptions of the Orient in medieval sources: Biblical, Classical, and Contemporary. Welsh textual material from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is used as a case-study to develop and illustrate this theory. This study brings historical sources to bear on previously unexplained literary phenomena and it examines the evolution of texts and ideas in the process of transmission and translation. The sources analysed here include vernacular and Latin texts produced in Wales, as well as material that has been translated into Welsh such as Imago mundi and legends about Charlemagne. It thus combines an important and much-needed account of the development of Welsh attitudes to the East with a unique analysis of Oriental references across an extensive literary corpus.
(source: Brepols)
Petrovskaia, Natalia I., “The travels of a quire from the twelfth century to the twenty-first: the case of Rawlinson B 484, fols. 1–6”, in: Horobin, Simon, and Linne Mooney (eds), Middle English texts in transition: a festschrift dedicated to Toshiyuki Takamiya on his 70th birthday, York: York Medieval Press, 2014. 250–267.
Petrovskaia, Natalia, “Delw y byd: la traduction médiévale en gallois d’une encyclopédie latine et la création d’un traité géographique”, Études Celtiques 39 (2013): 257–277.  
[FR] Cet article propose une investigation sur les origines du traité géographique gallois Delw y Byd ainsi que sa relation au texte latin original, Imago Mundi. Cette étude décrit la tradition manuscrite du texte gallois et identifie la branche de la tradition latine d’où provient Delw y Byd. Elle établit l’existence de deux traductions galloises indépendantes du premier livre (le livre géographique) d’Imago Mundi et démontre que l’une des traductions est dérivée de la version du texte latin représentée dans le fragment d’Imago Mundi qui est préservé dans le manuscrit de la Bibliothèque Bodléienne à Oxford : Ms Rawlinson B 484. Une date et une provenance approximative sont également proposées pour ce manuscrit Rawlinson B 484, et des informations nouvelles sont fournies sur les attaches galloises potentielles d’un autre manuscrit d’Imago Mundi : Cambridge, Corpus Christi College Ms 66.

[EN] Delw y Byd : the Welsh medieval translation of a Latin encyclopaedia and the creation of a geographical tract.
The present article is an investigation into the origins of the Welsh geographical treatise Delw y Byd and its relation with its Latin original, Imago Mundi. It presents an overview of the manuscript tradition of the Welsh text, and identifies the branch of the Latin tradition from which Delw y Byd is derived. It establishes the existence of two independent Welsh translations of the first, geographical, book of Imago Mundi and demonstrates that one of these translations is based on the Latin text represented in the fragment of Imago Mundi preserved in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson B 484. A date and approximate provenance are provided for Rawlinson B 484, and new light is thrown on the potential Welsh contacts of another manuscript of Imago Mundi, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 66.
Journal volume:  Persée – Études Celtiques, vol. 39, 2013: <link>
Petrovskaia, Natalia I., “La disparition du quasi dans les formules étymologiques des traductions galloises de l’Imago mundi”, in: Louviot, Élise (ed.), La formule au Moyen Âge, ARTEM 15, Turnhout: Brepols, 2013. 123–141.  

The present article examines the changes undergone by etymological formulae in the process of translation, in the 13th century, of Honorius Augustodunensis’ 12th century Latin treatise Imago Mundi ‘Image of the World’ into Welsh. In order to make the amount of evidence manageable, the article focuses on a specific feature of the etymological formulae and their translations – the word quasi. Depending on the context, this word is sometimes rendered into Welsh, but more often disappears from the translated text. The aim of the present article is to provide an explanation for this phenomenon. The data is, for the Latin text, taken from Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 66, and for the Welsh text, from Oxford, Jesus College, 111 and Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Peniarth 17. The article also provides, as background information, a short description of the relationship between the Latin and the Welsh manuscript traditions of this text, which the author intends to publish elsewhere in full. An Appendix provides all of the examples of the etymological use of quasi from the Latin and Welsh texts examined, along with the author’s French translations.

Petrovskaia, Natalia, “Oaths, pagans and lions: arguments for a crusade sub-narrative in Historia Peredur fab Efrawc”, Poetica: An International Journal of Linguistic-Literary Studies 77 (2012): 1–26.
Petrovskaia, Natalia, “Dating Peredur: new light on old problems”, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 29 (2009, 2011): 223–243.
Petrovskaia, Natalia, “East and west in De principis instructione of Giraldus Cambrensis”, Quaestio Insularis 10 (2009): 45–59.
Petrovskaia, Natalia, “Edling or penteulu? Ambiguities in the status of Gwalchmai, nephew of Arthur”, Quaestio Insularis 8 (2007): 113–128.


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Dennis Groenewegen
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March 2018, last updated: February 2022