‘Did they really believe that?’ Medieval French ‘Knowledge’ about India

A talk by Dr Miranda Griffin (Cambridge) and Dr Jane Gilbert (UCL)

Date :   Saturday 28th October 2017

Time :  From 4pm to 5pm

Venue: Alliance Française Cambridge, 60 Hills Road

Price :  Free

Limited places

Full program here


We shall explore India and the Indian Ocean as medieval French people ‘knew’ them through images and texts: bestiaries (books of beasts), maps, stories about Alexander the Great, or travellers’ tales. According to these, in India elephants have no knees and symbolise Adam and Eve; ants dig for gold; Alexander makes a flying machine by harnessing griffins to a basket; indigenous Christians throw themselves under the wheels of the Juggernaut; Prester John guards the Holy Grail; and monstrous human races abound. Did people in the Middle Ages really believe such extraordinary things? We invite you to join us in asking what it means to ‘know’ about the world, then and now.