The story we read in books about the Renaissance tells us that Petrarch and Poggio rediscovered the books of antiquity that had been copied for centuries in medieval abbeys. The re-introduction of Greek science and philosophy, however, began in the twelfth century but occurred mainly in the thirteenth century. These works were first translated into Syriac and Arabic in the eighth and ninth centuries and stored in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. There they were read, used, and commented on by Arab philosophers, of whom the most famous was Averroes (1126–1198), who lived in Cordoba. The translation of his commentaries on Aristotle changed the European philosophical scene profoundly. Averroes, who also had a philosophy of his own, had followers in Latin Europe until the sixteenth century. His work was well-known and he appeared in histories of philosophy until the middle of the nineteenth century, when the Arabs were pushed out of the history books. One reason was the invention of the concept of the Renaissance.



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