Virtual Conference
Dr.Jasmine Dum-Tragut

Dr.Jasmine Dum-Tragut

Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, Austria

Title: MEETING IN THE BODY OF THE HORSE: cultural transfer and knowledge transmission between Christian West and Muslim East in late medieval Armenian horse books


A lost medieval Armenian hippiatric manuscript, the existence of which is known only through a colophon in  another manuscript, and a 16th century Armenian medical manuscript, which was rediscovered in 2008 and  contains a horse book, form the framework of this project. Starting from this completely unstudied medical  manuscript, the project branches out to a wider research context to encompass knowledge transmission  between Christian West and Muslim East at the turn of the medieval into the early modern period. The holistic study of its physical form and content, of its production and perception, as well as its translation  and veterinary discussion form the methodsfor the investigation of ways of recording and imparting knowledge  in a defined space and time. The Armenian Horse Book serves as a model both for a medieval "copy", which  is an expanded and updated version rather than an uncritical plagiarism of earlier written knowledge, and for  a compilation of local and "globalized" knowledge. Furthermore, on the basis of unstudied translations of  Armenian horse books into Arabic and Georgian, the reception and contribution of Armenian horse knowledge  to that of contact cultures and thus to global equine medicine can be analysed thoroughly for the first time. The comparison of the Armenian Horse Book with its input, antique European and Muslim Arab-Persian  sources, and its output, both translations and subsequent Armenian treatises, enables to trace knowledge  transmission as a result of intense cultural contact in a geographically limited region. It also allows following  the general process of progressing from local to global knowledge. The provenance of the Armenian  manuscript, starting from its primary source in Cilicia (1298), to Sivas in the Ottoman Empire (1504) to Tbilisi  in the Georgian Kingdom (1791), Isfahan in the Afsharid Iranian Empire (19th century) until its final destination  Yerevan (2008), provides the unique opportunity to track the journey of a tangible cultural heritage, a late  medieval manuscript and to highlight its role as an intangible cultural heritage, as so far unknown source of  medieval equine medicine knowledge. This project brings together an unprecedented group of disciplines to study a medieval Armenian manuscript  with important implications for both humanities and natural sciences. PI J. Dum-Tragut (Armenian studies, Linguistics, Equine sciences) from the University of Salzburg with her team of incoming experts in Arabic (M.Yavrumyan, ARM), Georgian (Nino Sakvarelidze, Georgia) and Armenian manuscript studies) primary researchers involved, as well as national and international cooperating consultants from manuscript and medieval studies, history of science, Caucasian and Iranian Studies and veterinary medicine create a study of cultural heritage that opens up the understudied geographical area at the meeting point of local and global, East and West, Muslim and Christian, medieval and early modern at a high level of originality.