Oct 13, 1999 06:42 AM
In a message dated 10/12/99 6:59:26 PM Central Daylight Time,
> hesse600 wrote:
> > About the Islam not being a sourse of western culture:
> > Islam is certainly part of the sourse of western culture.
> > Here in Europe we would not have had the Greek and Roman
> > texts to study from in the Middle Ages, if it had not been
> > for the way the Muslims preserved these texts in their
> > library's and university's. This is not a widely known
> > fact, but it is a fact nonetheless. And since American
> > culture owes a lot to European culture, the same goes for
> > american (US) culture.
There is another fact that most Europeans and Americans neglect.
There was the eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, next door until
its fall in 1453. It NEVER had a dark ages. It had ALL the texts
of antiquity.When western Europe wanted better translations of
Aristotle from the Greek originals to debate the Arab interpretation
called Averroism, they bought them from Byzantium. Byzantium's
imperial libraries and monastic libraries are turning up new finds to
this day such as Piri Reis map. Some fantasize that the Vatican
has lost manuscripts buried in its vaults that would be of interest
to theosophists. No, it is the old Byzantine libraries in Istanbul.
It is these libraries that HPB tried to get into, Gurdjieff tried to get
into, RA Schwaller de Lubicz got into, and many new and strange
things come out of like some of the maps of Hapgood.
Byzantium's libraries were the source by which Renaissance scholars
(and later scholars) recovered the classics (which Byzantium had
throughout the middle ages - neither the west nor Muslims
did) and some studies suggest the Renaissance was triggered
by Byzantine refugees from Turkish rule who brought such things
to Italy (off and on parts of it were a Byzantine colony in the
middle ages - especially Venice which is a Byzantine town
architecturally including its cathedral) as the Dialogues of Plato
(the west never had those until then) and Corpus Hermetica.
Byzantium had, before it fell, battles in the universities between
the monastic clergy of the theology faculty representing
Orthodox Christianity and the Neoplatonic Humanists who
were accussed of just being nominal Christians but really
pagans. So, there was Gemistho Pletho, well-known in
Byzantium as a Neo-Platonist/Hermeticist, who is later
a name associated with Marsilio Ficino.
It was from Byzantium that Arabs were getting
their Greek versions too. Finally, as is well known
to those of us from the east, by imperial edict and according
to the cataloging operations of the University of Constantinople
throughout the middle ages (preserved along with the annual
inventory taken right up to the time the library was handed over
to the Turkish Sultan), what had been left of the great library
at Alexandria was brought to Constantinople. Finally, while
European and Muslim schools were closed to women,
the Byzantine schools, including the imperial University
of Constantinople, were co-ed. The West owes much
more to its forgotten parent than it has so far acknowledged.
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