Synopses & Reviews
Arabic-Islamic Views of the Latin West provides an insight into how the Arabic-Islamic world perceived medieval Western Europe in an age that is usually associated with the rise and expansion of Islam, the Spanish Reconquista, and the Crusades. Previous scholarship has maintained that the Arabic-Islamic world regarded Western Europe as a cultural backwater at the periphery of civilization that clung to a superseded religion. It holds mental barriers imposed by Islam responsible for the Muslim world's arrogant and ignorant attitude towards its northern neighbours. This study refutes this view by focussing on the mechanisms of transmission and reception that characterized the flow of information between both cultural spheres. By explaining how Arabic-Islamic scholars acquired and processed data on medieval Western Europe, it traces the two-fold 'emergence' of Latin-Christian Europe - a sphere that increasingly encroached upon the Mediterranean and therefore became more and more important in Arabic-Islamic scholarly literature.