Astronomy and travels to Asia in the 13th and 14th centuries
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The relationship between the development of astronomy and the Great Navigations is a classic subject of the history of science and the history of the European expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries. Most of these studies, however, due to their effort to emphasize the particularities of that time, have relegated to a few notes the possible links between long-distance travels and the knowledge of the stars that preceded the so-called Age of Discovery. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the connections between the cosmological theories and the intercontinental expeditions prior to the aforementioned Navigations, between the 13th and 14th centuries. At that time, a growing production and translation of astronomical treatises coincided with the undertaking of a series of travels to the Far East. To do so, these treatises will be examined together with reports by those travellers in order to better understand the relationships between the development of astronomy and the new questions about the geographical world images that were posed to these people. In this sense, these texts will be approached from two different points of view: on the one hand, in an attempt to understand to what extent geography defined the information extracted from the motion of the heavens and, on the other, in an attempt to assess how travel reports relied an astronomical knowledge to elaborate a description of the Orient and its people.