The Classics between Canterbury and Bukhara: The different classical traditions of the medieval world

15Nov2018 18:00 - 19:30


The legacy of ancient Greco-Roman thought is traditionally approached from both a modern and a Eurocentric point of view. Ancient Greece and Rome are then anachronistically considered to be ‘Western’ and to be inextricably linked with the Renaissance and the Enlightenment of early modern Europe. In response, some scholars have argued that the medieval Arabic tradition was an indispensable channel of transmission for ancient texts between antiquity and modern Europe. In counter-narratives of this nature, the ‘West’ is heavily indebted to the ‘East’ for its ability to draw upon ancient thought. This talk aims to transcend such views by pursuing an objective and comprehensive investigation of the legacy of Greco-Roman thought that includes the European, Byzantine and West Asian intellectual traditions of the medieval period alike. It will explain how classical thought was transmitted across various linguistic, cultural and geographic boundaries and it will explore the similarities and differences in classical canons across medieval civilizations.


Erik Hermans is an independent scholar with a background in Classics, Comparative History and Arabic Studies, who specializes in global intellectual history. He obtained his PhD from the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, and currently teaches at the Trinitas Gymnasium in Almere, The Netherlands.

Location: Room 1.02
Amsterdam University College
Science Park 113, 1098XG Amsterdam
Convenor: Dr. Emma Cohen de Lara

Published by  Amsterdam University College