The Map of Knowledge by Violet Moller

Fascinating history of the way in which Middle Eastern learning and scholarship survived the fall of Rome and developed on its own path even as Europe was experiencing what is often called the Dark Ages,” a time when the lights of learning almost went out .

The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found: A History of Seven Cities
by Violet Moller
2019 / 336 pages
read by Susan Duerden – 8h 46m
rating / 9 – Middle East history: 500-1200 AD


Following a Preface in which Moller outlines the personal background for her book and reveals the main thrust of the narrative, the scene is set for a tour of cities and how the writings of Eucild, Ptolemy and Galen were transmitted through the cities from Alexandria to Bagdad to Cordoba and Toledo. or Salerno to Venice and up into Frankish Europe.

Moller writes very nicely and illuminates the dry history with tidbits about the medical, mathematical and scientific knowledge as well as the translators who were indispensable. And the book seems to be just the right length – there’s an incredible amount of information.

I knew some math history from this era , but how the ideas got around in time and space, from Alexandria to Tours and Bagdad to Ephesus is a wonder. I’ll be reading this again.

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