- De oudheid onder Ummayaden en Abbasiden. Schetsen van de historische en ideologische context
- Pages (from-to)
- Issue number
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
While much has been made of a presumed all-pervasive conflict between East and West, the history of Arab-Muslim comportment towards that which we call classical history - so readily spoken of as the backbone of Western civilization, offers a wonderfully diverse tale of adaption, rejection and appropriation. The archaeological record shows how the Ummayad elites adopted models of Roman imperial greatness even into the religious centre of Medina. The Abbasids - surrounded by traditions of Persian imperial prestige - consequently rejected these material enrichments of the West that had come to be associated with the preceding dynasty. They focussed rather on the ancient fruits of the intellect with great success, but not without ulterior motives. Contemporary historians such as Al-Jâhiz and Al-Mas‘ûdi paint the picture of a remarkable appropriation of ancient Greek heritage by the Abbasids, who point out that there is a long way between the Christians of their day and the Greek of ancient times. Here too, then, we see that the posture taken towards classical heritage is part of a complicated ideological context.
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