Bibliographic data

Bahr, Frank: Von der griechischen Antike bis zur Frühen Neuzeit. Horizonte I. Braunschweig: Westermann Verlag, 2006, 345.

"The Superiority of the Franks"

[p. 345]

"The Superiority of the Franks"

The first category is that of wild savages, the second of the uncivilized barbarian, whereas the third comprises people who are cultured, refined, sedentarized, civilized and have attained the highest degree of urbanization. In this third category there are discrepancies between these countries in terms of the sciences and arts, the standard of living, compliance with a given system of laws and progress in craftsmanship. For instance, Frankish lands have attained the highest degree of proficiency in mathematics, natural sciences and metaphysics, in regard to both their theoretical foundations and the various branches. Indeed, in the time of the caliphs we were the most perfect of all countries. The reason for this is that the caliphs helped scholars, artists and others like them. Some of the caliphs even got personally involved in these pursuits. From this you can understand that in any period the sciences do not spread except through the support extended by the ruler to his people. One proverb says that ‘people follow the religion of their kings’. The might of the caliphs dissolved and their possensions were broken up, as witnessed by al-Andalus, which has been in the hands of the Spanish Christians for some 350 years now, while the might of the Franks was strenghtened because of their skills, organization, justice, technical know-how, versatility and inventiveness in matters of warfare. If Islam had not been protected by the might of God — praise be to Him the Exalted — it would have been nothing in relation to the Frank’s power, multitude, wealth, proficient skills, etc.

(1) Respectively to the development of civilization the author assumes a phase modell.

Translation taken from: An Imam in Paris, Account of a Stay in France by an Egyptian Cleric (1826-1831), By Rifā⁽a Rāfi⁽ al-Țahțāwī, Introduced and translated by Daniel L. Newman, Saqi, London 2004, p. 100-109.


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