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From Greek to Latin, the long way round: 5th - 12th c. AD

Many of the surviving texts of Greek science travel to the Latin world, over a span of several centuries, by an amazingly devious route.

In Syria, during the 5th century, they are translated into the local version of Aramaic, known as Syriac. In the heyday of Baghdad, in the 8th century, they are translated into Arabic - either from these Syriac versions or from the original Greek. Annotated by scholars throughout the entire Muslim world, they become familiar texts in Spain where Islam and Roman Catholicism confront each other. Translated finally into Latin, the language of the western church, they gradually make their way from the 12th century through western Europe.