6

The Role of the Arabs in the History of Science

6.1 Historical Background

The Arabs were destined to play two important roles in the history of science: one was to safeguard, translate, and transfer the rich heritage of Greek and Hellenistic periods to Europe; and the other role was to function as a bridge between the East and the West, through which the accumulated knowledge of the Indians and the Chinese was transmitted to the Europeans, who, of course, built upon it and developed it further.

The Dark Age in Europe

In 476 AD, Rome fell to the barbarians (the Vandals, the Goths, and the Huns). In the east, Emperor Justinian ordered the closing of the schools of Athens in 529 AD, and banned all pagan or heathen learning. Then, as one last ...

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