Discovery of the Roman West

Roman civilization provided large parts of Western Europe with a physical infrastructure in the form of roads and urban settings. It laid the foundations of a system of administration, which was adapted to new circumstances in the period of the so-called ‘great migrations’, and eventually exported to regions beyond the original sphere of Roman influence. Moreover, it provided medieval Western European societies with the religious orbit of Christianity and a written culture in Latin.

If Arabic-Islamic scholars were to understand the historical roots of Latin Christendom, they had to form an understanding of its Roman past. Since the general features of the Arabic-Islamic vision of Roman history have already been analysed by Marco di Branco,[1] [2] the present chapter focuses on what knowledge medieval Arabic-Islamic scholars acquired about the western dimension of Roman rule.

  • [1] Branco, Storie (2009).
  • [2] Cf. Millar, East (1993), pp. 27—99, esp. 93—6; Bowersock, Arabia (1994), pp. 76—90.
 
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