Illustrated with material from the Arcadian Library, this lecture surveys the Western reception of knowledge from and about the Arabic-speaking world between the Middle Ages and the 19th century. Beginning in the early 12th century European science was dominated by works originally written by Arab and Persian scientists. Prompted by commercial considerations and European interest globally, however, the emphasis shifted to the history, natural history, and topography of Arabic-speaking areas. Arab motifs affected European art and taste, and some literary texts, like 1001 Nights, profoundly influenced European literature.
Alastair HamiltonArcadian Visiting Research Professor and Co-Director, Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE), The Warburg Institute