Developed by the Austrian National Library, the exhibition is dedicated to this phenomenal period of the meeting of cultures. Four great writing cultures are presented: Hebrew, Greek, Arabic and Latin. While religiously-motivated questions prevented the acceptance of cross-cultural knowledge, they also often provided the initial impetus for scientific research.
Today’s scientific world rests upon the shoulders of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars who translated ancient scriptures in the Middle Ages; first in the Middle East into Arabic, and then in Europe – starting in southern Italy and Spain – from Arabic into Latin. The significance of this transfer of knowledge cannot be overstated, even if it wasn’t the only strand of transmission. The arrival of Aristotle’s writings in medieval Europe, for example, was possible largely thanks to this translation activity.
The “House of Wisdom” was founded in Baghdad in the 9th century and became the site of much translation effort: Persian, Aramaic, Syrian, Hebrew, Indian (Sanskrit) and Latin manuscripts were translated into Arabic there by Jewish, Christian and Sabaean scholars. The polymath al-Khwarizmi (780–850) taught here, too and we owe him for a term that is very much relevant today: that of the algorithm, derived from a malapropism of his name.
Martin Gropius Bau
Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin
€ 10 / reduced € 7
Groups (from 5 persons) p. p. € 7
School groups p. P. € 5
Admission free up to 16 years of age
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