THE LINGUISTIC HURDLE

Whereas channels of transmission and environments of documentation shifted in line with geopolitical changes, one obstacle remained in place throughout the entire period of investigation—the linguistic hurdle. Linguistic interaction between the Romance- and the Arabic-speaking sphere was high, particularly in al-Andalus, in the crusader states as well as in the orbit of the high and late medieval powers engaged in intensive diplomatic and commercial exchange.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] However, the world of Arabic-Islamic scholarship largely failed to invest much intellectual energy into the acquisition of foreign language skills. Although scholars acquired some theoretical knowledge about Latin, they never developed a proficiency in either Latin or one of its derivates.

  • [1] See Chapter 2.2.2. and 2.2.5.
  • [2] Cf. Ibn Khurdadhbah, al-masalik, ed. de Goeje, p. 231, on the geographic term 'Qjeavos(Luqyanus).
  • [3] Ibid., p. 91, on the city-names Pentapolis (Antabulus) and Tripolis (Atarabulus). He also mentions other city-names classified as ‘Greek’ (bi-l-Rumiyya), e.g. ‘Qalanlqus’ (p. 73), ‘Halrnubulus’(p. 73), ‘Tarsum’ (p. 99).
  • [4] Ibid., pp. 153—4.
  • [5] Cf. al-Mascudl, muruj, ed./trans. Pellat, § 712, p. 30 (AR), p. 267 (FR), on Augustus composingverses in ‘al-Rumiyya’, and § 127, p. 73 (AR), p. 54 (FR), on the name of the apostle Peter (Butrus) inthe same language.
  • [6] 72 Ibid., § 733, p. 40 (AR), p. 274 (FR): ‘wa-aktharuha bi-l-Rumiyya fa-hakayna min dhalika mataatta lana wasfuhu’.
  • [7] Ibid., § 910-22, pp. 145-52 (AR), pp. 343-8 (FR).
  • [8] al-Istakhri, al-masalik, ed. de Goeje, p. 9; Ibn Hawqal, surat al-ard, ed. Kramers, p. 14; cf.Miquel, Geographic (2001), vol. 1, p. 269.
 
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