Islamic Background of Western Renaissance (4)

Islamic Background of Western Renaissance (4)

Translations (2)

If the name of any European sovereign deserves to be specially associated with the redemption of Christendom from barbarism and ignorance it was not that of Charlemagne, the travesty of whom in the character of a civilizer is a fulsome patriotic and ecclesiastical fiction, but that of the enlighten and enthusiastic ruler (Frederick II) who adopted Saracenic civilization and did more than any sovereignto stimulate its diffusion" The Jews of Sicily played a vital role in the diffusion of Arabian learning in Europe. Of them Farragut of Sirgent, Mese of Palermo and Faraz Ben Salem are noteworthy. The first two translated the astronomical and medical works of Arabs into Latin. Southern Italy which was ruled by the Norman Kings of Sicily considerably assisted in diffusing Arab culture to nor them Italy and even to central Europe. A number of translators worked in western Italy, Burgundio of Pisa (1130 A.D.) translated ten books of Galen; Bonacosa, a Jew translated the colliget of Ibn Rushd at Padua and Paravisius translated the Taysir of Ibn Johral at Venice. Due to a lack of appropriate wards, Arabic technical words and scientific terms were adopted in Latin. Thus the Arabic words alchemy, alcohol, azure, cipher, elixir (al-Taksir) were introduced into the vocabulary of Europe and are still in use.

The work of translating Arabic works continued unabated till the middle of the 17th century A.D. Great attention was paid to the translation of Arabic chemical works. Andrea Alphago of Baluno of Italy (1520 A.D.) translated the biographical dictionary of Ibn Kifti as well as some of the important works of Galen, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd. A work of Abdur Rahman on music and the Pyramids was rendered into Latinby Piyare Vattier of Orleans in 1664 A.D. The period of translation was followed by a period when Arabian knowledge was systematized, assimilated and the ground prepared for the creative works which brought about the renaissance in Europe. The systematizes arranged the vast material obtained through Arabian sources and paved the way for the intellectual growth of Europe.

Among the foremost systematisers were Alexander of Halle (1245 A.D.), Robert Grosseteste (1255 A.D.), St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-75 A.D.) Albertus Magnus (1193-1290 A.D.)., Roger Bacon (1214-94 A.D.), Amold of Villanova (1255-1320A.D.), and Peter of Abano (1250-1320 A.D.). "The impulse of this intellectual activity", writes Campbell, "was derived in the main from the Arabian writers and Albertus Magnus and Rager Bacon were the eminent types of Arabo-Scholastics of the period who derived the basis of their learning from Arabian sources." Roger Bacon (1214-94 A.D.) is considered the father of the European renaissance. He was educated by Jewish teachers in the Oxford School which was established, for the propagation of Muslim science by Jews who had been driven out of Spain by the Christians and had reached England along with William of Normandy. According to M. N.. Roy,"Roger Bacon was a disciple of Arabs".

Roger Bacon, who in the West is known as the originator of the experimental method in Europe had himself received his training from the pupils of Spanish Moors and had learnt everything from Muslim sources, The writer of the article "Roger Bacon" in the Encyclopedia Britannica claims that it is beyond all doubt! that Rager Bacon was profoundly versed in Arabian learning and derived from it many of the germs of his philosophy." The influence of Ibn Haitham (Alhazen) on Roger Bacon is clearly visible in his works. Europe was rather slow to recognize the Islamic origin of her much advertised scientific (experimental) method. Writing in the Making of HumaaitY, R. Briffault admits that "It was under their successors at the Oxford School that Roger Bacon learned Arabic and Arabic science.

Neither Ragger Bacon nor his later namesake has any title to be credited with having introduced the experimental method. Roger Bacon was no more than one of the apostles of Muslim science and method to Christian Europe; and he never wearied of declaring that the knowledge of Arabic and Arabic science was for his contemporaries the only way to true knowledge". As a reward for his love of Arabic science, Roger Bacon was thrown into prison as a sorcerer and he died shortly after his release from 10 years imprisonment.

The Crusade were partly responsible for popularizing Puiuslim learning in Christian Europe. The direct contacts of the Christian west with Muslims in Palestine made the Christian scholars like Raymond Lull of Catalonia (1235--1315 A. D,X realize the futility of conquering Islam by brute force and attempt to win their hearts by peaceful means. This necessitated the learning of Arabian sciences and of training Christian missionaries in Arabic culture. Such a training centre was established in Toledo in 1250 A. D. Raymond the Martin, who was the principal scholar of this school, founded a monastic college at Miramar in 1276 A.D. Probably it was Martin who influenced the ecclesiastical council of Vienna in 1311 A.D. to adopt a Resolution to create the chair of Arabic language at the Universities of Paris, Louvain and Salamanca.
According to Lec Clerc, "The contacts of the Arabs with southern Italy and the Crusades contributed to the spread of Arabian medicine and culture generally in the west of Europe".

Campbell also testifies to the above view when he says, "the crusaders were undoubtedly influenced by the medical and philosophical doctrines of the Arabians". The superior culture and advanced knowledge of the Arabs in several branches of learning greatly influenced the Christian crusaders when they came in direct contact with the Arabs and the works of persons like Harmon the Cripple bear testimony to this influence of Arab culture.

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