For centuries during the Middle Ages, Lethaby says, what filled the minds of makers and listeners were `Mahomet, Caliphs and Emirs, Arabs, Turks, and Saracens who had nothing white but their teeth; Spain, Africa, Egypt, Persia; Cordova; Toledo ; Seville ; Palermo; Babylon, and Alexandria with its harbours and ships...’'[1]

Fascination, which eventually turned to imitation; imitation Rodinson observes, that was reinforced by the perception of the superiority of such civilisation; a model to imitate, at least on the cultural and scientific levels.[2] Often the imitation hardly answering any new needs, just satisfying old ones but according `to new modalities which bear the mark and the prestige of the civilisation from which the borrowing is made (the Islamic).’[3]

Eagerness for imitation by artists and architects, too, and lasting until fairly recently as noted by Sweetman:

`Owen Jone's masterly exposition of the geometrical complexities of Moorish patterns: or William de Morgan's patient researches into Persian glazes… the calm and fascinated interest of Christopher Wren, more than 100 years before the Royal pavilion, in the relationship between `Saracenic' style of architecture and Gothic.’[4]


   How Western Christendom imported and adopted the superior Islamic model in arts and architecture, culture and civilisation is looked at here. By no means will this chapter, just as the others, claim to be faultless or comprehensive. In the particular field addressed here, Islamic architecture, arts, culture, and their impact, years of work and thousands of pages will be needed to give them their due worth. This is beyond this author. Also, many sources will be cited in this chapter, but many good ones will be for one reason or another missing.[5] For a quick and informative source on Islamic art and architecture and their impact, is advised to look at the following site:

[1] W.R. Lethaby: Medieval Architecture: in The legacy of the Middle Ages, edited by C.G. Crump and E.F Jacob: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1969 ed, pp 59-93. p. 63.

[2] M. Rodinson: les Influences de la Civilisation Musulmane sur la Civilisation Europeene Medievale dans les domains d la Consommation et de la Distraction: l’Alimentation. In Academia nazionale dei Lincei; op cit; pp 479-99; at p.482.

[3]  Ibid. p.482.

[4] John Sweetman: The Oriental Obsession: Cambridge University Press, 1987; p.6.

[5] For some good works not used here, see for instance:

-E. Male: Art et artistes du Moyen Age; Paris 1927; pp. 30-88.

-G.Marcais: Manuel d’Art Musulman; Paris; 1926.

-H.Terrasse: L’Art hispano mauresque des origines au 13em siecle; Paris; 1933.

-M.Gomez Moreno: Iglesias mozarabes; Madrid; 1919.

-E. Lambert: L’Art gothique en Espagne aux 12 et 13em siecles; Paris; 1931.


Qortoba Great Mosque


Focus in the following will be on the central matter of this whole work: that Islamic influences on Western architecture are obvious, and make historical sense; however, any time modern Western historians suppress such an influence, and offer other explanations for such changes, a number of causes and origins become the foundation for such changes. Seen in isolation from each other, such explanations can look fairly unchallengeable as their authors have enough specialised knowledge of their subject to drown the argument in infinite detail, and to refer to each other to assert scholarly legitimacy. When, however, all changes are put together, two major findings are made:

First, the tens of causes for such changes as given by such historians are conflicting with each other, and are also historically untenable. Secondly, all such changes, especially once facts suppressed (by mainstream Western historians) are re-established, show exactly the same patterns observed already with regard to other subjects repeating themselves. Hence, in the case here, changes in architecture and construction that took place in the West, in any place, and at any time during the Middle Ages, show the same substance (Islamic forms/models/techniques), timing (precisely following contact with Islam,) agents (Muslim masons), geography (in close vicinity to Islam), etc.


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