How Europe came to forget about its Arabic heritage



Source / Courtesy: January 2011, Alislam-eGazette

Minaret of Mosque of Seville, which is now a part of a church: A picture is worth a thousand words!

Traditional education about Western civilisation tells the story of how around 1500, Greek texts recovered the lost memory of Europe’s Greek and Roman past and unleashed an era of progress in science and civilisation called the Renaissance. In fact, the progress in civilisation had begun in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and was the result of the transfer of Arabic civilisation to Europe. The sixteenth century Renaissance was rather the construction of an exclusive Christian European identity within the world of literature and science. Latin humanists created a movement imitating the Arab tradition in its key values, but distinguishing itself by classical Latin as its lingua franca and the classical authors as its founding fathers. After a period in which classical culture was vigorously celebrated and Arab influences were attempted to be removed from the scientific canon, the image of a Greek source of European culture had settled itself firmly in the European mind. Scholars hardly dared cite an Arab in support of their revolutionary developments. Popular belief reaffirmed the theme of the revived classics by repetition after repetition until the Arabic heritage in Europe came to be forgotten. Biased educative material should be corrected to offer a true image of history to our youth.

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