Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited

Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited

Emmet Scott / Oct 17, 2019

Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited During the s Belgian historian Henri Pirenne came to anastonishing conclusion the ancient classical civilization whichRome had established throughout Europe and the Mediterranean world was not de

  • Title: Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited
  • Author: Emmet Scott
  • ISBN: 9780578094182
  • Page: 244
  • Format: Paperback
  • During the 1920s Belgian historian Henri Pirenne came to anastonishing conclusion the ancient classical civilization, whichRome had established throughout Europe and the Mediterranean world,was not destroyed by the Barbarians who invaded the westernprovinces in the fifth century, it was destroyed by the Arabs,whose conquest of the Middle East and North Africa terminated RDuring the 1920s Belgian historian Henri Pirenne came to anastonishing conclusion the ancient classical civilization, whichRome had established throughout Europe and the Mediterranean world,was not destroyed by the Barbarians who invaded the westernprovinces in the fifth century, it was destroyed by the Arabs,whose conquest of the Middle East and North Africa terminated Romancivilization in those regions and cut off Europe from any furthertrading and cultural contact with the East According to Pirenne,it was only in the mid seventh century that the characteristicfeatures of classical life disappeared from Europe, after whichtime the continent began to develop its own distinctive andsomewhat primitive medieval culture Pirenne s findings, published posthumously in his Mohammed etCharlemagne 1937 , were even then highly controversial, for by thelate nineteenth century many historians were moving towards a quitedifferent conclusion namely that the Arabs were actually acivilizing force who rekindled the light of classical learning inEurope after it had been extinguished by the Goths, Vandals andHuns in the fifth century And because Pirenne went sodiametrically against the grain of this thinking, the reception ofhis new thesis tended to be hostile Paper after paper publishedduring the 1940s and 50s strove to refute him The most definitiverebuttal however appeared in the early 1980s This was Mohammed,Charlemagne and the Origins of Europe, by English archaeologistsRichard Hodges and David Whitehouse These, in common withPirenne s earlier critics, argued that classical civilization wasalready dead in Europe by the time of the Arab conquests, and thatthe Arabs arrived on the scene as civilizers rather thandestroyers Hodges and Whitehouse claimed that the latest findingsof archaeology fully supported this view, and their work was highlyinfluential So influential indeed that over the next three decadesPirenne and his thesis was progressively sidelined, so that r

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    366 Comments

    1. My, my, my, what a curious read this was!Initially pleased at finding a recent review of the debate about the causes of the transition in Europe from the ancient Graeco-Roman world to the medieval age, it took about fifteen minutes of reading Emmet Scott's Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy (2012) before I had to stop and do a little research on whom and what I actually had before me, because the undisguised hostility towards everything Arab in this book became evid [...]


    2. This was a fascinating book. It is the history of an idea by historian Henri Pirenne. He wrote a book that was published posthumously called "Mohammed et Charlemagne" (1937). The idea that Pirenne put forth was that the Roman civilization in Europe was not destroyed by the barbarians, but was experiencing a resurgence, when Islam killed it. Of course this idea went against the idea that was becoming prevalent, that Islam was the civilizing force that introduced civilization to Europe that has be [...]


    3. This is a good read, very enjoyable and easy to understand. There is a great deal of information to consider and further reading would be required to understand all of the implications. I do think he stretches things just a bit but his point about how the Islamic Conquests changed Europe is very revealing.


    4. Propaganda masquerading as (cherry picked/poorly researched) history. As a historian, I recommend that you run, don't walk away when you see this book. I feel sullied for actually looking at this book.


    5. As others have said there is a tone of anti-Arab propaganda to the book. I think Pirene's original hypothesis makes sense and some of the points raised in the book about Islamic raiding and piracy having a negative impact on 7th,8th and 9th century European economy and the loss of papyrus as a resource in Europe harmed learning and literacy are true and cannot be denied. However, the author goes into periodic rants about the evil of Arab/Muslim behavior and nature that detracts from his argument [...]


    6. Makes a cogent argument. Without having seen any of the responses from the other side, I'm inclined to agree with his thesis.





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