The Birth of the Renaissance according to M. R. Menocal

In her book Ornament of the World [1] the scholar Maria Rosa Menocal presents the following view for what triggered the Renaissance. (The argument is made mostly in the chapter "Banned in Paris", pp. 201-215.)

The Arabs of Al-Andalus (Spain) had libraries and translations (in Arabic) of the Greek philosophers. During the "Reconquest" (12th to 13th centuries) Northern European Christians came across such works and had them translated into Latin. That started a revival of secular learning in Europe. At the same time the wars in Spain brought to power the fundamelist Arab rulers known as Almohads. They in turn suppressed secular learning in the Arab world.


1. Maria Rosa Menocal Ornament of the World, Back bay Books, 2002.

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