Asian Ceremonies and Christian Chivalry in Pigafetta’s ‘The First Voyage Around the World’

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This essay focuses on early Iberian Asia and explores the theme of curiosity in the Asian sections of Antonio Pigafetta’s First Voyage Around the World, an account of the Magellan expedition. The contribution discusses Pigafetta’s narrative after the finding of the Strait, fleshing out both the colorful images of Asian rites and the presence of Christian chivalry in the text. Pigafetta portrays the Philippines, the Moluccas, and other islands from the perspective of an intellectual knight, self-consciously shaping his own character not only in the past, but also in the future. On the one hand, his guided curiosity usually avoids judgments about the strange societies that he observes; on the other hand, the importance of chivalric values demonstrates the resilience of cultural backgrounds and locally rooted meanings even at the moment of encounter. There is empathy rather than “othering,” but this is not in contradiction with Pigafetta’s cultural and religious identity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTravel Writings on Asia.
Subtitle of host publicationCuriosity, Identities, and Knowledge across the East, c. 1200 to the present
EditorsChristian Mueller, Matteo Salonia
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9811901236
ISBN (Print)9811901236, 9811901236, 9789811901232
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies
ISSN (Print)2662-7922
ISSN (Electronic)2662-7930


  • European explorations
  • Ferdinand Magellan
  • Iberian Asia
  • Italian literature
  • Medieval and Renaissance studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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