Light from the East: How the Science of Medieval Islam helped to shape the Western World
'John Freely is a virtuoso of cultural narration. His Light from the East stands as a towering achievement that chronicles the process of awakenings in the Western world under the impetus of Islamic sciences. Thanks to its easy flowing style, it sheds light on how the Muslims conveyed the scientific heritage of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece as well as their own discoveries and inventions to the Western world.' --Talat S. Halman, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters at Bilkent University
'John Freely's Light from the East presents a thorough and wide-ranging account of pre-Islamic and Islamic science as well as of the considerable debt that Western scientific thinking owes to the Arabs.' --Robert Irwin, Middle East editor, Times Literary Supplement, author of 'The Arabian Nights: A Companion'
Long before the European Renaissance, while the western world was languishing in what was once called the 'Dark Ages', the Arab world was ablaze with the knowledge, invention and creativity of its Golden Age. This is the story of how Islamic science, which began with the translation of Greek manuscripts into Arabic in eighth-century Baghdad, preserved and enhanced the knowledge acquired from Greece, Mesopotamia, India and China. Through the astrologers, physicians, philosophers, mathematicians and alchemists of the Muslim world, this knowledge was carried from Samarkand and Baghdad to Cordoba and beyond, influencing western thinkers from Thomas Aquinas and Copernicus and helping to inspire the cultural phenomenon of the Renaissance. John Freely tells this spellbinding story against a background of the melting pot of cultures involved and concludes with the decline of Islam's Golden Age, which led the West to forget the debt it owed to the Muslim world and the influence of medieval Islamic civilisation in forging the beginnings of modern science.