As far as Europe was concerned before the fifteenth century, when the Turkish invasion overran its eastern countries, Mohammedan art was confined to Spain and Sicily. The Moors were, however, not expelled from Granada till 1492 and meantime their art had considerably influenced the Spanish Gothic.
The crusaders were brought in contact with the art of Syria and Egypt when the Arabs and Turks were masters of these countries and by way of Sicily also the Arab art had influence on Southern Italy. Some slight mention of it is a proper appendix to any history of Byzantine art.
It was in the seventh century that the Arabian world, under the influence of the teachings of Mohammed, began its career of foreign conquest. Of Arab art before this time we know at present nothing. It was in the east Roman provinces of Syria, Egypt, and North Africa, then conquered, that the earliest Mohammedan art developed from the Byzantine. The mosques were frequently Christian churches transformed to this use or were sometimes copied from them. The Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem is reputed to be of the former class. The El Aksa Mosque at Jerusalem is known to be of the latter.
In later days the Turks, who became the military force of the Arabs and then converts to their Arab faith, and subsequently became the political masters of their former lords, not only converted the St. Sophia Church to their