By A. J. Gurevich
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The analogy between mIcrocosm and macrocosm lies at the very root of medieval symbolism, for nature was conceived of as a mirror in which man can contemplate the image of God. 21 But if all the basic ~raits of the univ:rse can be found in man, Nature herself IS at the same tIme imagined in human form. In a diadem bearing the zodiacal constellatIons and cl~d In garments decorated with pictures of birds, plants, ~nImals. and other creatures all arranged in the order of theIr creation by the Lord.
The world of the Chanson de Roland is homogeneous, sketchily localised, well kr:0'Yn to the heroic protagonists. The paladins who act WIthIn the framework of this strictly delimited world - the west~rn parts of France - have grown up with the notions of faIthful service to their lord and devotion to the Christian religion, and they are fighting a precisely delimited enemy _ the Saracens. Quite another world appears in the romances about the 'Knights of the Round Table'. Here danger lurks everywhere over the whole wide world stretching from [76J Macrocosm and microcosm England to Constantinople.
Er~d; 1 :Vh~ earthl beings, objects and pheno mena, It ~nc u e ':I~ In itself rnothe r world, create d by religious beildief aln dh~ehgloulds .. t , we cou ca l t IS wor superStitIon. ' . of medieval man a dual world , thoug h for hIm It was a unIty. '-' 1.. • d°ci [69J h Macrocosm and microcosm In volume, medieval man's knowledge of the world was not much le~s than th~t of hi? present-day counterpart, but in con~en~ I~ was radIcally dI~ferent. w~edge - knowledge of its symbolical mear:Ing, ,and of Its sIgnrficance in various aspects of the rel~tIo~ship between the mortal world and the divine world.