chapter  4
33 Pages

The Eastern Heritage

This chapter discusses the intellectual leadership of the Muslim world that had shifted from Baghdad to the west, and the contributions of Iberian and African Muslims, together with several thinkers with their scientific work, contributed to the intellectual revival of the central middle Ages. Muslim traders were more active in Black Africa and Asia than in the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe outside Iberia. In the 1030s the Byzantines campaigned against the Muslims in eastern Sicily; in a fateful mistake, they used Norman mercenaries. The chapter talks about the Visigoths who had established a kingdom in Spain in the fifth and early sixth centuries that had been badly compromised by internal rivalries. The early kings had been Arian Christians. Although in 587 King Reccared converted to orthodox Christianity, the Arian belief remained strong among members of the tribe, many of whom considered the kings' adoption of the religion of most of their Roman subject's treason to the national heritage.