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Renaissance Craftsmen and Humanistic Scholars

Circulation of Knowledge between Portugal and Germany


Edited By Thomas Horst, Marília dos Santos Lopes and Henrique Leitão

The study of the relations between Portugal and the German-speaking countries in the 15th and 16th centuries is an intriguing topic that has attracted the interest of scholars for some decades. In recent years evidence accumulated has shown that there was still much to be known and even some large areas were still unexplored. In order to better grasp the nature of what was a complex historical phenomenon, an interdisciplinary approach to the topic turned out to be necessary by deepening the understanding of what is usually termed the circulation of knowledge. The present book shows how knowledge travels with people, with artifacts, along commercial lines, and is created and transformed by the intervention of individuals from various educational and social strata.

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«De insulis et peregrinatione lusitanorum» – Valentim Fernandes als Vermittler von Informationen zwischen Portugal und Oberdeutschland zu Beginn des 16. Jahrhunderts (Yvonne Hendrich)


Yvonne Hendrich

«De insulis et peregrinatione lusitanorum» – Valentim Fernandes als Vermittler von Informationen zwischen Portugal und Oberdeutschland zu Beginn des 16. Jahrhunderts

Abstract: This article deals with the Lisbon-based typographer, Valentim Fernandes of Moravian-German descent, who, at the turn of the 16th century, not only printed religious and secular books but also worked as a notary and interpreter for German merchants residing in Portugal’s capital. Fernandes contributed significantly to the dissemination of information about the “Novos Mundos” (New World) through his correspondence with merchants and humanistic scholars from Nuremberg and Augsburg, Upper Germany’s trade centers and printing capitals of the time.

Fueled by his own interest in Portugal’s maritime expansion efforts in Africa and Asia, Fernandes collected reports from sailors and navigators during the first decade of the 16th century. In his manuscript, known as the Códice Valentim Fernandes (accessible through the Bavarian National Library in Munich), Fernandes gives accounts of cultural contacts between the European colonizers and indigenous peoples, while simultaneously, revealing his own fascination with the flora and fauna of remote and uncharted territories.

This article analyzes Fernandes’ written correspondence with his merchant friends in Nuremberg and the humanistic scholar Konrad Peutinger in Augsburg, by which the following research questions emerge: What was the role of the bilingual Fernandes in the mediation of knowledge between Portugal and Upper Germany? Who participated in the process of disseminating information and news spreading? What were the cultural and commercial interests of his...

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