The Wrong Side of the Roman Empire

It is no secret that Europeans welcome Ukrainian refugees more warmly than the Syrian  refugees of 2015. In an earlier contribution to this blog I wrote about Guibert of Nogent, who around 1100CE already held a firm contempt toward Greeks and Syrians, since they adhered to the wrong kind of Christianity or even Islam.  A … Continue reading The Wrong Side of the Roman Empire

Black, but Comely

“I am black, but comely,” says the king's bride in the Bible, Song of Solomon 1: 5. This is the Christian tradition of the West: Nigra sum sed formosa. (You may have heard the Latin version sung in Monteverdi's Vespers for the Blessed Virgin.) Both the King James Version and the American Standard version translate “black, … Continue reading Black, but Comely

Suppressed Antiquity: Persia

Anyone interested in Ancient History has heard or read something about Persia. It was an enormous and powerful empire: Achaemenids, Cyrus, Persepolis, Darius, Battle of Thermopylae, Xerxes’ failed attempt to conquer southern Greece. An empire to which Alexander the Great dealt blow after blow and finally defeated and replaced with his own empire: the battles … Continue reading Suppressed Antiquity: Persia

Ants and Cats Intercontinental

Ant: While working on a Christian Arabic text by Jibrīl ibn Nūḥ al-Anbārī (9th century) that I intend to publish, I came across this description of the course of the stars:  Think of the stars and the difference in their orbits. One group of them do not leave their place in the firmament and moves … Continue reading Ants and Cats Intercontinental

Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 4: Schizophrenia

Armin Geus (1937–) Armin Geus was a professor of medicine history in Marburg, Germany, from 1973 to 2002. He has a PhD in biology, but was not a psychologist, psychiatrist or physician. Nor did he know Arabic; to work on the biography of Muhammad he was therefore dependent on translations of old texts.  A significant part … Continue reading Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 4: Schizophrenia

Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 3: Acromegaly

Sequel to: Muhammad's alleged disease - 2: hysteria Herman Somers (1921-2004)The biographical information I found about this author is not very solid, so I present it with reservations. Somers was not a physician, but had a PhD in psychology. He worked in Leuven (Belgium), although not at the university. He was initially a Jesuit, but … Continue reading Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 3: Acromegaly

Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 2: Hysteria

Back to Mohammed's Alleged Illness – 1: Epilepsy For centuries Europeans believed that Muhammad suffered from epilepsy. In modern times this diagnosis was no longer heard, but in the eyes of some Europeans, the prophet had nevertheless been chronically ill. I intend to discuss three people who managed to posthumously discover a disease in the … Continue reading Muhammad’s Alleged Illness – 2: Hysteria