Friday, May 18, 2012

Fjordman: How Islam Killed Greco-Roman Civilization


Fjordman’s latest essay, a review of Emmet Scott’s book, has been published at FrontPage Mag. Some excerpts are below:

A number of books published in recent years have demolished the myth of an allegedly tolerant Islamic culture that preserved the Greco-Roman heritage. Ibn Warraq’s book Why the West Is Best is among the better and more accessible titles in this field. As I concluded in one of my earlier essays, the only part of the ancient Greek heritage that proved to be more compatible with Muslim than with Christian European culture was slavery, and possibly anal sex with young boys in certain parts of the Islamic world.

In early 2012 the historian Emmet Scott published Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy. If you have any interest in the subject of the Greco-Roman legacy and Islam as they relate to medieval Europe, I strongly recommend that you buy this book. For those who are interested, Scott has published some excerpts from this work online at the New English Review.

Many books claim to be groundbreaking, but rather few of them actually are. Emmet Scott’s Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited falls into the latter category.

He shows convincingly that archaeological excavations paint a very clear picture of devastation brought by the Arab conquests throughout the entire Mediterranean region, from Syria to Spain, in the seventh century AD.

The Belgian historian Henri Pirenne in his work Mohammed and Charlemagne, published posthumously in 1937, suggested that Islam and the Arab conquests constituted the real dividing line between the civilization of Greco-Roman Antiquity and that of medieval Europe. Moreover, Islamic raids in the Mediterranean partially cut Europeans off from their Classical roots. Scott supports this hypothesis but goes even further than Pirenne — who focused on Europe — by showing that the Arab conquests and Islamic repression largely destroyed Greco-Roman Classical civilization in North Africa and parts of the Middle East, which were more urbanized than Europe.

In short, rather than preserving the Classical heritage, as their apologists like to claim, Arabs and Muslims did more than anybody else to wipe out Greco-Roman civilization. The modest contributions they made by preserving certain Greek texts through Arabic translations cannot in any way make up for this massive wave of destruction.

Scott demonstrates that by cutting off the normal trade of Egyptian papyrus to Europe, leaving Europeans only with expensive parchment made from animal skins as a viable alternative, the Arabs essentially doomed much of the Classical literature to oblivion due to a chronic shortage of good writing materials. Sadly, the heroic efforts made by medieval Christian monks in Europe for centuries could only partly make up for this loss.

The author also describes how certain ideas such as an early version of the Inquisition, the concept of Holy War and other often negative innovations were spread due to Islam.

Read the rest at FrontPage Mag.

Note: I have also read Dr. Scott’s excellent book, and will be reviewing it myself when I find the time to scan the passages I need for block quotes.

For a complete archive of Fjordman’s writings, see the multi-index listing in the Fjordman Files.


Jewel said...

I'm rereading Fox's Book of Christian Martyrs. I am nauseated by Greco-Roman culture. If it hadn't destroyed itself, first, God would have destroyed it ultimately.

Qualis Rex said...

Well put. No one knows the damage Mohammedan conquests did to Classical Greco-Roman culture more than Sicilians. The Island was a vassal of the Byzantine Empire until it was conquered by the Mohammedan in the 10th century. All of the ancient Greek temples which were still pristine and free-standing at that point were summarily destroyed (not becuase there were any paganst worshiping in them; simply to destroy any pre-Mohammedan cultural icons). In the 90 years they occupied the island, nearly all churches, monuments and outward remnants of Greco-Roman civilization were razed.

Ironically, it was the subsequent NORMANS who reinstated the Greco-Roman heritage by erecting large Byzantine-styled churches, mosaics and libraries...AFTER they (wiht the indigenous population) defeated the Mohammedan.

This is all open knowledge for anyone to verify, but of course does not quite fit into the historical revisionism of the PC crowd. The common theory today is those responsible for "keeping alive" the Greco-Roman herritage within Mohammedan lands (i.e. those Greek texts translated to Arabic) were in fact the "conversos" or 2nd/3rd generation forced-converts from Christianity who championed the survival of these texts as part of their OWN cultural heritage, and not some pan-Mohammedan enterprise.

Qualis Rex said...

Jewel - Greco-Roman culture was certainly barbaric to our Christian standards, but it did have a lot to contribute to Europe; namely in the form of critical-thinking, which fostered art, architecture, scientific achievement etc. But yes, as reading Fox will confirm ALL cultures are in need of Christian values. Europe was not at all a perfect fit for Christianity...and neither is ANY culture, which is why we cannot allow certain groups to accuse us of trying to spread "Western Culture" through Christianity. That just isn't the case.