The Mind of the Middle Ages, A.D. 200-1500: An Historical Survey

By Frederick B. Artz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Islamic Civilization
THE NATURE OF ISLAM
EDUCATION, LAW, PHILOSOPHY, AND SCIENCE
LITERATURE, ART, AND MUSIC
ISLAM AND THE WEST

ON the outer edge of Latin Christendom, in Spain, Sicily, and North Africa, and around the heart of the Byzantine Empire, in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor, and farther on to the east stood the world of Islam. For centuries, Islam was both a threat and a source of commerce and ideas to both the Greek East and the Latin West. Its great cities and the courts of its princes became, from the eighth century through the twelfth, the centers of a brilliant material civilization and of a great scientific, philosophic, and artistic culture.1

When the Arabs began to expand in the first half of the seventh century they brought with them only one marked cultural trait: a love of poetry. Soon, though, they learned from the Byzantines, the Jews, the Persians, and the Hindus the basic elements of culture, and, as the Arabs extended their religion and their language, the conquered peoples, in turn, passed on their civilization to their Mohammedan conquerors. Spreading both eastward and westward, Islam embraced, before the Christian missions of the nineteenth century, more different national groups than any other world religion; these included Cau-

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The Mind of the Middle Ages, A.D. 200-1500: An Historical Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface to First Edition vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiv
  • Acknowledgments xiv
  • Part One - The Dominance of the East 1
  • Chapter I - The Classical Backgrounds of Mediaeval Christianity 3
  • Chapter II - The Jewish and Early Christian Sources of Mediaeval Faith 39
  • Chapter III - The Patristic Age, 2nd-5th Centuries 64
  • Chapter IV - Byzantine Civilization 95
  • Chapter V - Islamic Civilization 132
  • Chapter VI - The Latin West, 5th-10th Centuries 179
  • Part Two - The Revival of the West, 1000-1500 223
  • Chapter VII - Learning (I) 225
  • Chapter VIII - Learning (II) 270
  • Chapter IX - Literature (I) 320
  • Chapter X - Literature (II) 355
  • Chapter XI - Art and Music 384
  • Chapter XII - Underlying Attitudes 419
  • Epilogue 443
  • Notes 456
  • Bibliographical Notes 503
  • Index 559
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