Transmission of the Aristotelian Legacy: Medieval Iberia

Transmission of the Aristotelian Legacy: Medieval Iberia


To provide an overview of the transmission of the Aristotelian Legacy in Medieval Iberia.

The general purpose of this paper is one of discovery.  I hope to provide a brief historical account of the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy into Latin Christendom via an examination of the twelfth and thirteenth-century Arabic to Latin translators of the Iberian Peninsula.  In addition, I will investigate a portion of the historiography associated with this process in an effort to clarify the historian’s role in transmitting Aristotle’s legacy to future generations.

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“History bestows identity; a new history either creates a new identity or proclaims an old one which has been struggling for expression.”[1]


The multiple ways in which we view our collective past have set us on a course from which there is but little return.  I would assert this to be no less true when applied to twentieth-century historiography of the Middle Ages.  In 1991 Norman F. Cantor put forth to chronicling historical process with his work Inventing the Middle Ages.[2]  In it, Cantor laid out the architectural plan of an edifice, itself a modern phenomenon, constructed primarily by scholars engaged in what Cantor called, “The Quest for the Middle Ages.”[3]  Original architects of the medieval paradigm suggested by Cantor include Frederic Maitland, Percy Schramm, Ernst Kantorowicz, Marc Bloch, Erwin Panofsky, Ernst Curtius, Clive Lewis, John Tolkien, Charles Haskins, Joseph Strayer, Michael Knowles, Etienne Gilson, Richard Southern, Johan Huizinga, Eileen Power, Michael Postan, Carl Erdmann, and Theodore Mommsen.[4]  While this list is by no means inclusive of all medieval historians of twentieth century import, it may serve scholars and students alike as an entry point for continued dialogue in the field.  Much like the on-going construction of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, history of the period situated between ancient and modern peoples continues to be “invented” and while new generations of historians debate the details regarding the next phase of construction, the original plans continue in guiding our discovery of a medieval structure yet fully realized. 

            Nevertheless, how does one participate in a process of historical discovery?  Although response to said question appears trivial in light of the voluminous record of those who have sought to discover truth, the historian’s function is culturally specific and identifiable across space and time.  This is to say the historian has a less than general role to play in the drama of human history.  Comprising this drama, we find a variety of members all of whom aid in forming the greater whole or cast of society.  Yet, what is the historian’s role within this context?  What defines the historian’s identity?  In an effort to better understand the process of historical discovery, let us pause to consider three potential character traits setting the historian apart from society’s other members.    

            First, the historian need exhibit an inquisitive disposition.  A central feature of this character trait is a thirsting for greater knowledge of that which distinguishes one thing from another.  Consequently, the historian’s inclination to question the nature of things forms the basis of historical discovery for it is through this process of reasoned investigation that isolated, yet not wholly unrelated, people, places and events begin developing.  Fundamental to thought: who, what, where, when, why and how form the western canon of inquiry and aid the historian in defining the initial question and starting point from which a plot may, or may not, emerge.

            The second character trait of the historian connects and adds to the nature of the first by making the investigative process one of critical inquiry.  As an adjective critical has a multiplicity of potentially synonymous meanings, linking it with words like dangerous, significant, life threatening, unfavorable, and analytical.  An antonym of critical is stable and a derivative of critical inquiry as an adjective-noun combination is “dangerous question.”  Therefore, in discovering history, critical inquiry likely presents itself in a variegated fashion.  The purpose of providing linguistic differentiation between the implied meanings of the two traits here discussed is manifest for together inquiry and critical inquiry offer the historian the means with which to pursue an increased awareness and greater understanding of the objective-subjective dynamic underpinning the historical analysis and interpretation of human thought, feeling and expression. 

            A third, yet by no means final, character trait of the historian is a demonstrated ability to analyze and synthesize information.  An analytic/synthetic inclination solidifies the historian’s identity or narrative role in two ways.  First, analysis initiates a process of action whereby past people, places, and events unfold in conjunction with one another.  Second, the historian’s ability to synthesize creates the bridge connecting the audience and reader with the past.  In this environment, coherence and meaning are contingent upon the historian’s ability to demonstrate effectively the proper mechanics of the discipline without sacrificing a measure of aesthetic appeal.  Historians have argued the benefits of mechanics over art and vice versa, however, in the following paper I will attempt to provide the reader with an equal treatment of both.[5]

            The general purpose of this paper is one of discovery.  I hope to give a brief historical account of the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy into Latin Christendom via an examination of the twelfth and thirteenth-century Arabic to Latin translators of the Iberian Peninsula.  In addition, I will investigate a portion of the historiography associated with this process in an effort to clarify the historian’s role or identity in transmitting Aristotle’s legacy to future generations.





Broadly speaking, the Aristotelian legacy was a corpus of human knowledge.  In describing it Fernand Van Steenberghen states, “The work of Aristotle therefore, being so vast an encyclopaedia of ancient knowledge, was as it were a reserve of energy, an intellectual capital, to be transmitted during the course of the centuries to races and societies of men.”[6]  This capital consisted of 31 authentic treatises covering a variety of subjects: logic, biology, natural philosophy, history of philosophy, history of science, methodology of science, government, ethics, rhetoric, and literary crititcism.[7]  Of these, scholars credit Aristotle as being the founder of logic and biology.[8]  In addition, the surviving works of Aristotle do not reflect the totality of his efforts nor should we view them as a collection of finished products. The traditional view is that a mere one-fifth of Aristotle’s works survive to the present day, some of which were composed as his personal lecture notes as well as other writings that may best be described as “communal notes.”[9]

            In 323 B.C.E. Aristotle turned over leadership of the Lyceum and departed for his estate in the country.  One year later he died.  Over the next three centuries, numerous copies of the Philosopher’s works were likely lost while other manuscripts survived in locales as varied as the Peripatetic School of Athens, the Alexandrian Library and the cellar of Neleus of Skepsis.[10]   However, it was not until the first-century B.C.E. that Andronicus of Rhodes collated and edited Aristotle’s surviving manuscripts.  By the second-century C.E. a tradition of commentary with respect to the Aristotelian corpus had developed.  “Alexander of Aphrodisias (second-century AD), Porphyry (third-century AD), and Philoponus and Simplicius (sixth-century AD) were amongst the most distinguished contributors to this tradition.” [11]

            Boethius, a late fifth-century and early sixth-century Roman senator, scholar and Master of Offices to Theodoric, wrote a series of commentaries on Aristotle’s Isagoge, Categories, and De interpretatione.  He also completed a number of important translations.[12]  Although Boethius appears far in advance of the twelfth and thirteenth- century Arabic-Latin translators of Iberia, he is notable as a contributor to the Aristotelian legacy by virtue of his translating two of Aristotle’s logical works, the Categories and De interpretatione.  Together with Porphyry’s Isagoge, these three works formed the ‘logica vetus,’ the standard textbook of logic prior to the first quarter of the twelfth-century.  Boethius also translated Aristotle’s Prior Analytics, Topics and Sophistici Elenchi however these translations were not available to the Latin reader until sometime after 1120 C.E.[13]  The exact circumstances regarding the recovery of these translations, hundreds of years after their having been written by Boethius, are unclear. 



The Arabic-Latin Translators of the Aristotelian Legacy: Medieval Iberia


It is possible to separate the Arabic to Latin translators of the Aristotelian corpus into two, distinct categories.  The first group contains those Iberian translators whose works we can trace back to the latter half of the twelfth-century and includes John of Seville, Gerard of Cremona and Alfred of Sareshel.  The second group involves those translators working in Iberia primarily during the first half of the thirteenth-century: Michael Scot, Hermannus Alemannus, William of Luna, and Petrus Gallegus.[14]

            John of Seville (Iohannes Hispalensis) was the translator of a Pseudo-Aristotelian work entitled De differentia spiritus et animae.  The exact date of the translation is unknown but we can surmise John wrote this work near the middle of the twelfth-century owing to its dedication to Raymond, archbishop of Toledo.  The translation survives in eighty-two manuscripts.[15]  A second work credited to John of Seville is the De regimine sanitatis.  De regimine represents a fragment of the Secretum secretorum, a popular Pseudo-Aristotelian work on occult science supposedly written by Aristotle and given to Alexander the Great.  De regimine survives in one hundred and fifty manuscripts and is significant for it represents the first appearance of the Aristotelian libri naturales in the West during the High Middle Ages.[16]

            Gerard of Cremona was the most prolific of the twelfth-century Iberian translators and of great importance when considering the Arabic to Latin transmission of the Aristotelian corpus.  As legend has it, Gerard left his home in Italy in search of Ptolemy’s Almagest.  Upon arriving in Toledo, Gerard immediately began the task of translating classical works involving numerous fields of knowledge.[17]  After his death in 1187 C.E., Gerard’s students wrote a eulogium to the master translator providing a list of his life’s work.  Of the Arabic to Latin translations credited to Gerard and his disciples, the following Aristotelian manuscripts survive: Posterior Analytics, De caelo, Degeneratione et corruptione, Meteorologica (Books I-III), Themistius’ paraphrase of the Posterior Analytics, and Physics.  In addition, Gerard’s Pseudo-Aristotelian translations of De proprietatibus and De causis also survive.[18]  Although the dates of these translations are unknown, the number of surviving manuscripts indicate the relative popularity of the De caelo (101 MSS.), Meteorologica (113 MSS.), De proprietatibus (119 MSS.), and De causis (202 MSS.) and solidify Gerard of Cremona’s position as a key figure in the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy.[19]

            Alfred of Sareshel is the last of the Arabic to Latin translators of the Aristotelian corpus of twelfth-century Iberia.  He appears in the historical record at the close of the century and his credits include having provided translations of the Psuedo-Aristotelian works De plantis (Nicholas of Damascus, 159 MSS.), on which he wrote an additional commentary, and Avicenna’s De mineralibus (32 MSS. + 113 MSS.).[20]  Alfred also wrote a commentary on Avicenna’s Meteorologica.  In this gloss, Alfred mentions a teacher and possible co-translator named “magister meus Salomon Avenraza.”[21]  The identity of “Saloman” is somewhat ambiguous however it is reasonable to suggest he was an Arabic-speaking Jew.  Although there is little evidence for a school of translators in Toledo during the first or second halves of twelfth-century Iberia, it is likely that Latin-speaking and Arabic-speaking scholars did work together in translation teams, often using Hebrew or the local vernacular as linguistic mediums.  Such an environment points to the potential relationship of Alfred of Sarashel and Saloman Avenraza as co-collaborators in the transmission of the Aristotelian corpus.

            Of the thirteenth-century Arabic-Latin translators of Iberia, Michael Scot appears as the most prolific.  Yet, his career is difficult to trace.  His name appears in the historical record in 1215 as a member of the entourage of the bishop of Toledo that attended the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.[22]  Scot’s only translation dated from Toledo is a non-Aristotelian work of the Arabic astronomer al-Bitruji however it is probable that he also completed a translation of Aristotle’s De animalibus before leaving Iberia for Bologna in 1220.  After arriving in Italy, Michael may have spent time working under the patronage of popes Honorius III and Gregory IX before finally settling down as the court astrologer of King Frederick II of Sicily no later than 1230.[23]  Michael Scot’s greatest contribution to the Aristotelian legacy, De animalibus notwithstanding, was his translation of the Arabic commentaries of Averroes.  Even though the De caelo is the only Averroean commentary officially accepted by historians as incontestably the work of Michael Scot, it is reasonable to infer his association with the translations of the other commentaries as well.[24]  

            The Aristotelian translations of Hermannus Alemannus appear to come from the middle of the thirteenth-century.  Herman was not one of the main Iberian translators involved in the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy to Latin Christendom but he did succeed in providing Arabic to Latin translations of a number of Averroean commentaries.   These translations include Averroes’ middle commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics (9 MSS.), Averroes’ middle commentary on the Poetics (24 MSS.), an almost complete text of the Rhetoric (3 MSS.) combined with portions of Averroes’ middle commentary and short fragments from Avicenna and Alfarabi, and an Arabic epitome of the Ethics known as the Summa Alexandrinorum (14 MSS.).[25]

            Little evidence remains regarding William of Luna.  Two colophons containing his name appear in translations of Averroes’ middle commentary on Aristotle’s Categories (4 MSS.) and in an Averroean epitome of the Isagoge from the same manuscript.[26]  There are two other epitomes of Averroes, one on the Prior Analytics (1 MSS.) and another on the Posterior Analytics (1 MSS.) that are likely the result of William’s work as a thirteenth-century Iberian translator. 

            Petrus Gallego, our final Arabic-Latin translator of the Aristotelian corpus, lived in Iberia during the middle of the thirteenth-century.  This Spanish Fransciscan and later Bishop of Cartagena (1250-67) completed a translation of Averroes’ epitome on the De partibus animalum.[27]  The translation survives in one manuscript, tentatively dated to the period of Petrus’ bishopric.



Interpretations of the Aristotelian Legacy


During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a flurry of translations involving Aristotelian works took place in the Christian West with Sicily and Iberia being the two, primary centers of activity.[28]  As we have seen, medieval Iberia was home to a number of scholars working within the Arabic to Latin paradigm in an effort to provide Latin Christendom with the Aristotelian corpus.  However, it is worth mentioning two items of importance regarding the historiography of the transmission of Aristotle’s legacy.    

            First, contrary to some accounts, the majority of Aristotelian translations from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were of the Greek to Latin variety.  As cognate languages, Greek and Latin posed fewer lexical and syntactical challenges for teams of translators than did the Syriac to Arabic to Latin, Arabic to Hebrew to Latin, or Arabic to vernacular to Latin translations.[29]  Nearly three-fourths of all the surviving manuscripts of Aristotelian works from the medieval translations are from Greek to Latin.  This includes translations of Aristotle’s works, the Greek and Arabic commentaries, and the Pseudo-Aristotelian and other related works.   Of the Aristotelian manuscripts still available today, approximately one-quarter are of the Arabic to Latin variety.[30]  While this data may suggest the relative importance of the Greek tradition over the Arabic in disseminating the Aristotelian legacy it does not imply the existence of a corresponding relationship between the Greek to Latin and Arabic to Latin translations of the works of other classical scholars such as Ptolemy, Euclid, and Hippocrates.  Since this paper focuses on the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy, it is important to make clear this distinction and not overemphasize the cultural hegemony of any one tradition over another without first acknowledging the historical basis for any such claim.   

            Second, it is necessary to address the notion that a “school of translators” existed under the patronage of Archbishop Raymond of Toledo (1125-52).  The legend began in 1819 with the publication of Amable Jourdain’s Recherches critiques sur l’age et l’origine des traductions latines d’Aristote.[31]  Jourdain misidentified John of Seville, a translator active in the second quarter of the twelfth-century, with an “Iohannes Avendauth” and as having collaborated with an archdeacon of Toledo named Dominicus Gundisalvi.  Together, “Iohannes” and Dominicus were to have translated Avicenna’s De anima dedicating the work to archbishop Raymond as a compendium of Aristotelian teachings.  As a result, a number of other translations by Avicenna, Algazel, and Avicebron were attributed to this collaboration in addition to a collection of astrological treatises written under the name of “Iohannes Hispalensis” or “Hispanus” or Hispaniensis” and placed within a timeframe consistent with that of Raymond’s episcopate.[32]  Later scholars complicated the matter by following Jourdain’s initial assertion, further projecting additional works, including Gerard of Cremona’s translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest, back to the period of Raymond.[33]  In this way, the idea of “a school of translators” based in Toledo during the second quarter of the twelfth-century developed.  This legend has persisted over time and is evident in current, historical accounts of multicultural teams of scholars working under the benevolent Archbishop Raymond of Toledo.[34]

            As early as the middle of the twentieth century historians started unraveling the “School of Toledo” hypothesis.  In 1924 and 1927, C.H. Haskins published, respectively, Studies in the History of Mediaeval Science[35] and Renaissance of the Twelfth Century.[36]  Before writing these seminal works of medieval scholarship, Haskins devoted a considerable amount of time and energy researching the twelfth and thirteenth-century Iberian translators and translations.  Based on his research of the documents preserved in the Toledo archives Haskins concluded, “Of a formal school the sources tell us very little.”[37]  The historical record confirms Haskins’ assertion.  While translators may have spent time in Toledo during the second quarter of the twelfth-century, there is only one work dedicated to Archbishop Raymond of Toledo, John of Seville’s translation of Costa ben Luca’s De differentia spiritus et animae.[38]

            Although there is scant evidence for a school or college of translators in Toledo during this time period it is worth noting that the successor to archbishop Raymond was Iohannes (1152-66) and the aforementioned translation of Avicenna’s De anima was actually dedicated to him.[39]  Regarding Dominicus Gundisalvi, documents indicate he was in Toledo from 1162 to 1178-81.  These surviving works also indicate that Gundisalvi did indeed collaborate with a “magister Iohannes” in a translation of Algazel and Avicebron.  However, this individual is not the “Iohannes Avendauth” mentioned earlier.[40]  It is possible that the “Avendauth” in question was actually the Jewish philosopher Abraham ibn Daud who lived in Toledo during the third quarter of the twelfth-century and it was he who collaborated with Gundisalvi on Avicenna’s De Anima.[41]  The appearance of “Avendauth” alone, “Avendauth” and “Dominicus,” and “Gundisalvi” alone in various manuscripts of the Kitab al-Shifa’ translated in Toledo suggest as much.[42]     

            These two examples represent a mere fraction of the historiography associated with the twelfth and thirteenth-century translations of Aristotelian texts in medieval Iberia.  Yet, they are representative of a complex Iberian environment.  These examples may also suggest the possibility for conveying ambiguous notions of the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy by projecting modern conceptions of cultural meaning and value back onto the roles played by the translators of the corpus.[43]  I offer a word of caution in making similar, modified interpretations of the Aristotelian legacy in future scholarship, especially, in light of the decades-long polemic involving the historiography of late medieval Iberia and early modern Spain.[44]  Medieval Iberia presents to historians a case study for developing a precedent in intellectual history on Aristotle and comparative research on the dissemination of his body of knowledge within a relatively isolated but locally variegated sociopolitical region and timeframe and said corpus’ rapid assimilation into that of a much larger milieu situated nearby, in this case the emergent “European” society.[45]  To that end, the application of modern cultural theories or perspectives need not impose upon historical methodology and further muddy an already opaque understanding of the history of the Aristotelian transmission in the West.  Plainly put, the Aristotelian legacy represents one part of a system that has its roots anchored in a broader intellectual tradition that is more deeply embedded in our past than any one modern cultural theory or tool can be reasonably expected to unearth or deconstruct.  Irrespective of cultural meaning, Aristotle’s corpus and panoply of commentaries passed from one generation to the next in Medieval Iberia circumnavigating political boundary, linguistic difference, and eventually geographic barrier only to appear in the fertile soil of the socio-political, economic, and religious conditions of the “European/medieval” milieu.[46]

            The resulting synergy of medieval and early modern culture within this paradigm came to complete fruition in a later shift, or series of societal shifts, toward modernity.  Not coincidentally, a corollary of this movement was the budding rejection of the intellectual-clerical system that had helped perpetuate the aforementioned conditions of the “European” or “medieval” society in the first place.  Reason (ironically so, considering its roots in Platonic and Aristotelian thought) provided thinkers and revolutionaries with the confidence needed to initiate the task of conceptually reconstructing the medieval-early modern paradigm.  Paradoxically, this was a second major intellectual transition in European society[47] for it represented modernity’s subterfuging of a tradition, by means of reason, that had persisted in some imbalanced form since late antiquity.[48]  In the old intellectual framework of idealist-realism, reason was a derivative of faith and subject to the authority of tradition.  A holistic investigation of the intellectual transition toward modernity reveals, however, the unmitigated growth of Aristotle’s materialist-realist worldview as evidenced by the secular and religious acceptance and rejection of scholasticism via the humanistic movement and the fundamental denunciation of both via the establishment of reasoned empiricism.  This intellectual and cultural movement worked in conjunction with the corresponding and unilateral de-stratification of Plato’s idealist-realist worldview by the agents of a religious reform predicated on salvation by means of grace alone.  The cumulative effect on the West was a re-positioning of the two philosophical and ideological systems of Plato and Aristotle as equally competitive and interdependent partners in a new, modern framework of thought dominated by the expansion of the scientific method of inquiry and later, a Newtonian worldview based on mathematical, rather than on religious or philosophical, proposition.





There is potential for comparative analysis of the medieval to modern intellectual transition within the Eurasian macro region.[49]  Twelfth and thirteenth-century China is an example of a civilization that experienced societal shifts similar to the ones described above.[50]  However, it is imperative to exercise caution when casting like comparisons of history and culture across time and space.  In overemphasizing the legitimacy of any non-historical interpretation in doing historiographic work, we, as historians, run the risk of perpetuating reductive discourse, as evidenced by the wrangling over the cultural meaning rather than historical context of convivencia.  The net result of my claim for greater historical accuracy in assessing the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy in medieval Iberia is a case in point.  Prior to comparison across the broad range of medieval Eurasia, the substantive meaning and value of any given region’s intellectual tradition or system is contingent upon the coherent use and interpretation of the texts or manuscripts that lie therein.  In this respect, the historian’s role is one of active participation based on the accumulation of factual evidence via primary and secondary source research.  It is through the active processes of discovery, critical inquiry, analysis, and synthesis of these sources whereby present and future generations will learn to form new and hopefully more accurate historical identities.  Identities based on, not bound by, a global history and culture.









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*Written in memory of Dr. Edward Peterson, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin at River Falls.    

[1] R.I. Moore, The First European Revolution c. 970-1215 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), p. 139.

[2] Norman F. Cantor, Inventing the Middle Ages (New York: William Morrow, 1991). 

[3] Ibid., chap. 1, pp. 17-47.

[4] Ibid., Contents, pp. 9-11.

[5] Although, no less of an authority on medieval history, Richard Southern once stated, “The first duty of the historian is to produce works of art.”  Cantor, Inventing, p. 346.

[6] Fernand Van Steenberghen, Aristotle in the West (Louvain, Belgium: Nauwelaerts, 1970), p. 14.

[7] Edward Grant, God & Reason in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2001), p. 87. 

[8] Ibid., p. 87.

[9] Ibid., pp. 87-89.  See also Jonathan Barnes, Aristotle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982). There is a differing in opinions as to the original composition of the writings.  For a brief rendering of the various hypotheses see P. Wheelwright, Aristotle: from Natural Science, The Metaphysics, Zoology, Psychology, The Nichomachean Ethics, On Statecraft, The Art of Poetry, ed. P. Wheelwright (New York: Odyssey Press, 1951), Editor’s Introductions, xvii-xxv.  For a specific reference advancing the “communal notes” hypothesis, see Wheelwright, Aristotle, xxiv. 

[10] Wheelwright, Aristotle, xxv.  According to the geographer Strabo, Aristotle bequeathed a substantial portion of his library to his pupil and successor Theophrastus.  In turn, Theophrastus bequeathed his library to his pupil Neleus who was originally from Skepsis, Asia Minor.  As a result, at least according to Strabo, many of Aristotle’s original manuscripts lay hidden in Neleus’ cellar for the better part of one hundred and fifty years whereupon a bibliophile from Athens, Apellicon, retrieved and purchased the collection of writings from Neleus’ heirs.  After Sulla’s capture of Athens, Apellicon’s library collection was taken to Rome where the manuscripts came under the attention of a Tyrannion. 

[11] J. L. Stocks, “Aristotelianism” in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, ed. T. Honderich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 50. 

[12] Bernard G. Dod, “Aristoteles latinus” in The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy, ed. N. Kreztmann, A. Kenny, and J. Pinborg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 53.

[13] Ibid., p. 46.

[14] Ibid., pp. 58-60.

[15] Ibid., p. 79.

[16] Steven F. Williams, The Secret of Secrets: The Scholarly Career of a Pseudo-Aristotelian Text in the Middle Ages (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2003), p. 32.

[17] See Marie-Therese d’Alverny, “Translations and Translators,” in Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century, ed. R. Benson, G. Constable with C. Lanham (Toronto: University of Toronto Press in association with the Medieval Academy of America, 1991), pp. 452-53.

[18] Dod, “Aristoteles latinus,” pp. 75-79.

[19] Ibid., p. 47.

[20] Ibid., p. 58 and p. 79.

[21] d’Alverny, “Translations and Translators,” p. 454.

[22] Ibid., p. 456.

[23] Williams, The Secret of Secrets, pp. 66-67.

[24] Dod, “Aristoteles latinus,” p. 59.  For a complete listing of the tentative translations of Michael Scot refer to the table pp. 74-79. 

[25] Ibid., p. 60.  See table pp. 77-79.

[26] Ibid., pp. 60-61.

[27] Ibid., p. 77.

[28] Jacques Le Goff, Intellectuals in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1993), p. 14.

[29] Dod, “Aristoteles latinus,” p. 52.

[30] Ibid., pp. 74-79.  See also, [Aristoteles Latinus] (1939). Codices: Pars prior, ed. G. Lacombe et al., La Libreria dello Stato; (1955). Codices: Pars Posterior, ed. G. Lacombe et al., Cambridge University Press; (1961a). Codices: Supplementa altera, ed. L. Minio-Paluello, Desclee de Brouwer.

[31] Ibid., p. 46.

[32] d’Alverny, “Translations and Translators,”                pp. 444-45.

[33]Ibid., pp. 444-45.

[34] See Richard E. Rubenstein, Aristotle’s Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages (Orlando: Harcourt, 2003), p. 12-14. 

[35] Charles Homer Haskins, Studies in the History of Medieval Science, Harvard Historical Studies 27 (Cambridge Mass. 1924; 2nd ed. 1927).

[36] Charles Homer Haskins, Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge Mass. 1927). 

[37] Haskins, Science, pp. 12-13.

[38] d’Alverny, “Translations and Translators,” p. 446.

[39] H. Bedoret, “Les premieres traductions toledanes de philosophie: Oeurvres d’ Avicenne,” Revue neoscolastique de philosophie 41 (1938) pp. 374-400. 

[40] d’Alverny, “Translations and Translators,” p. 446.

[41] Thomas F. Glick, “Science in Medieval Spain: The Jewish Contribution in the Context of Convivencia,” in Convivencia: Jews, Muslims and Christians in Medieval Spain, ed. V. Mann, T. Glick, and J. Dodds (New York, NY: George Braziller, 1992), p. 102.

[42] See esp. the footnotes in d’Alverny, “Translations and Translators,” p. 446.  The author presents “Avendauth israelita philosophus’ ” appearance in the manuscripts as being potentially consistent with the identity of ibn Daud, however, she does not explicitly state they are one in the same person.  For a slightly different interpretation of the connection between “Avendauth” and ibn Daud, see Charles F. S. Burnett, “Some Comments on the Translating of Works from Arabic into Latin in the Mid-Twelfth Century,” in Orientalische Kultur und Europaisches Mittelalter (Berlin, 1985), p. 166.  According to Glick (see previous citation), Burnett’s paraphrasing of the Latin “Habetis ergo librum, nobis [Ibn Da’ud] praecipiente et singular verba vulgariter proferente, et Dominico Archidiacono singular in latinum convertente, ex arabico translatum” is indicator enough, for him, of a collaboration between Dominicus and ibn Daud. 

[43] Rubenstein’s Aristotle’s Children is a recent example.  While Rubenstein adeptly provides an account of the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy he does so, in large part, from a highly romanticized perspective, placing special emphasis on the importance of intercultural contact and collaboration amongst medieval scholars working in Iberia.  Few will argue the importance of Jews, Christians and Muslims in transmitting ancient knowledge and wisdom during the High Middle Ages.  However, the nature of their interactions as distinct culture groups and the extent to which their collaborations resulted in an intellectual product based on intercultural contact or cohabitation is a debatable and highly controversial subject amongst historians of medieval Iberia.  I would argue more specific analysis of the relationships involving the different cultural groups of medieval Iberia is necessary prior to assigning legitimacy to any cultural theory or model as a means of historically interpreting the transmission of the Aristotelian legacy in medieval Iberia.  For an example of the role of language in medieval Iberia see, Maria Angeles Gallego, “The Languages of Medieval Iberia and their Religious Dimension,” in Medieval Encounters 9, 1 (2003).  For an account of the historiography associated with the acculturation process within Mudejar studies see, David Nirenberg, “Bibliographical essay: The current state of Mudejar studies,” in Journal of Medieval Studies, vol. 24, no. 4 (1998), pp. 381-389.      

[44] A prime example being the histrionics associated with the varying conceptualizations and subsequent usages by historians of the word convivencia within the medieval paradigm.  I am indebted to D. Fairchild Ruggles for introducing me to the history of this polemic.  See D. Fairchild Ruggles, “Mothers of a Hybrid Dynasty: Race, Genealogy, and Acculturation in al-Andalus,” in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 34:1 (Winter 2004), pp. 65-66.  For a more comprehensive history of the polemic see also Americo Castro, The Structure of Spanish History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1954), Claudio Sanchez-Albornoz, Espana: un enigma historico, 2 vols. (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamerica, 1956), Pierre Guichard, “The Social History of Muslim Spain from the Conquest to the End of the Almohad Regime,” in The Legacy of Muslim Spain, ed. Salma Jayyusi (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992), Maria Rosa Menocal, “Visions of al-Andalus,” in The Literature of Al-Andalus, The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, ed. M. Menocal, Raymond Scheindlin, and Michael Sells (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Architecture and Ideology in Early Medieval Spain (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), Richard Fletcher, The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammed to the Reformation (New York, NY: Viking Penguin, 2004), epilogue, pp. 175-161, David Nirenberg, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), introduction, pp. 3-17, and Dominique Iogna-Prat, Order and Exclusion: Cluny and Christendom Face Heresy, Judaism, and Islam 1000-1150  (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002). 

[45] See R.I. Moore, “The Transformation of Europe as a Eurasian Phenomenon,” Medieval Encounters 10, 1-3 (2004).

[46] Consider also the trajectory of Aristotelian thought within Islamic high culture from the initial Muslim and Berber incursion of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 C.E. to the end of the Umayyad Dynasty in the early part of the eleventh century.  I know of no work examining the specific nature, history, and impact of Aristotelian thought on the history and culture of al-Andalus for this time-period nor do I know of any scholarship analyzing the nature of the relationship between Aristotelianism and the ideological framework of the Spanish Reconquista. 

[47] The suggestion here is that the first transition occurred between the tenth and thirteenth centuries resulting in the creation of medieval civilization.

[48] For partial analysis of this dynamic see Lloyd P. Gerson, “Plotinus and the Rejection of Aristotelian Metaphysics,” in Aristotle in Late Antiquity, ed. L. Schrenk (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1994).  See also, Robert Russell, “The Role of Neoplatonism in St. Augustine’s De Civitate Dei,” in Neoplatonism and Early Christian Thought, ed. H.J. Blumenthal and A.H. Armstrong (London: Variorum Publications, 1981.  Concerning the roots of medieval Aristotelianism see John Marenbom, From the Circle of Alcuin to the School of Auxerre: Logic, Theology and Philosophy in the Early Middle Ages (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1981).  However, the degree to which Aristotelian and Neoplatonist patterns of thought were equally present throughout the periods of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages presents itself as a topic for future consideration.  For a brief treatment see, Etienne Gilson, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1938).

[49] See Bjorn Wittrock, “Cultural Crystallizations and World History: The Age of Ecumenical Renaissances,” Medieval Encounters 10, 1-3 (2004).  Wittrock provides a framework for conceptualizing the societal transformations of the tenth to thirteenth centuries across the geo-political landscape of Eurasia.

[50] See Johann Arnason, “Parallels and Divergences: Perspectives on the Early Second Millenium,” Medieval Encounters 10, 1-3 (2004), pp. 21-26, Peter K. Bol, This Culture of Ours.  Intellectual Transitions in T’ang and Sung China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992) and Richard von Glahn, “Imagining Premodern China,” in Paul Jakov Smith and Richard von Glahn, The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History (Cambridge/MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 35-70.  In addition, see also the work of the Japanese historian Naito Konan and his interpretation of the development of modernity in twelfth and thirteenth-century Song China.


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