Arabo-Byzantine relations in the 9th and 10th centuries as an area of cultural rivalry

w: Proceedings of the international Symposium « Byzantium and The Arab World: Encounter of Civilizations » (Thessaloniki, 16-18 Dec. 2011), red. A. Kralides, A. Gkoutzioukostas, Thessalonique 2013, ss. 465‑478.


Abstract : The 9th and 10th centuries saw the parallel appearance in different corners of the Mediterranean of movements that shared common characteristic: unprecedented interest in ancient culture. Escalations of literary interest in ancient Greek culture, in Byzantium and in the Abbasid caliphate, took place almost simultaneously. Interestingly, there is almost a perfect correlation between the list of works translated into Arabic at that time and the list of the very first manuscripts that have undergone the process of transcription into minuscule in Byzantine scriptoria. In this paper I am developing a theory of Dimitri Gutas who maintained that these two processes were connected and that the manuscripts in Byzantium could have been copied because of the specific Arabic demand for these works. As the Arabs were highly interested in the Greek philosophical and scientific literature and as they needed the manuscript, the Byzantines possibly became aware of this matter and according and they may have provided the Arabs with fresh copies of the Greek manuscripts that were in their possession.