The Difficult Unity of the Mediterranean in the Works and Expeditions of Bory de Saint-Vincent (1778-1846)

The Difficult Unity of the Mediterranean in the Works and Expeditions of Bory de Saint-Vincent (1778-1846)

For a long time consigned to oblivion, the figure of the soldier and naturalist Bory de Saint-Vincent has been during recent years the subject of a renewed but timid interest. This recovery is justified especially for his role as leader of the French missions in the Morea and Algeria, which replicat...

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Journal Title: Culture & History Digital Journal
Author: Carlos Cañete
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Language: English
Get full text: http://cultureandhistory.revistas.csic.es/index.php/cultureandhistory/article/view/15
Resource type: Journal Article
Source: Culture & History Digital Journal; Vol 1, No 2 (Year 2012).
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Publisher: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas CSIC
Usage rights: Reconocimiento (by)
Categories: Social Sciences/Humanities --> History
Abstract: For a long time consigned to oblivion, the figure of the soldier and naturalist Bory de Saint-Vincent has been during recent years the subject of a renewed but timid interest. This recovery is justified especially for his role as leader of the French missions in the Morea and Algeria, which replicated the military-scientific model that started in Egypt. Indeed, this leadership and the works of anthropology or botany that he produced as a result are now considered key elements in the process of construction of a modern unitary representation of the Mediterranean. These recent contributions, however, often do not consider other of his works that offer a much more complex and contradictory image of his thought. This article offers a review of recent interpretation by giving examples of his works on the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands. It aims to show his representation of the Mediterranean not as a homogeneous and linear process but as the result of an ambivalent approach that led to both a unitary image and a simultaneous internal differentiation of the region.
Translated abstract: Durante largo tiempo relegada al olvido, la figura del militar y naturalista Bory de Saint-Vincent ha sido en los últimos años objeto de un renovado aunque tímido interés. Esta recuperación se justifica especialmente por su papel como líder de las misiones francesas en Morea y Argelia, que reprodujeron el modelo de expedición científico-militar planteado en Egipto. Precisamente, este liderazgo y los trabajos de antropología o botánica que él mismo llevó a cabo en dichas misiones se consideran actualmente como elementos fundamentales en el proceso de construcción de una moderna representación unitaria del Mediterráneo. Estas aportaciones recientes, sin embargo, no suelen considerar otros trabajos del militar-naturalista que ofrecen una imagen mucho más compleja y contradictoria de su pensamiento. En este artículo se ofrece una revisión de la reciente interpretación presentando ejemplos de sus trabajos en la península ibérica y las Canarias. El conjunto pretende mostrar su representación del Mediterráneo no como un proceso lineal y unívoco sino como el resultado de un acercamiento ambivalente que provocó tanto una imagen unitaria como una simultánea diferenciación interna.