In «The Legacy of Islam» Professor Gibb wrote a very interesting chapter on the influence of the Arabs on European literature. He quoted some excerpts from the lectures of Professor Mackail on poetry. He said «Europe is indebted to Arabia for her «Romance» movement and to Judea for her faith.»... «And we - Europeans - are indebted to the Arabs in Arabia and Syria for most of the driving forces - or all those forces - which turned the Middle Ages into a different world in spirit and imagination from that by Rome».

Professor Gibb does not admit this generalization; neither does he negate it completely. However, he does not deny the influence of the Arabs on European poetry and prose from the 13th century up to modern times. He believes that Arab influence infiltrated into European literature through the inspiration and tales told by Muslims who spoke Arabic and some other European languages as well as by some poets of Southern France whose knowledge of Arabic has not been ascertained.

However, we believe that the flourishing of Arabic literature in Andalusia and its legacy could not he ignored by the history of Europe. Arabic literature has directly influenced the tastes, thoughts, topics, psychological motives, and linguistic construction of the Europeans.

This belief is confirmed by the fact that there were three inroads which carried Arab culture to Europe in the Middle Ages. First of all, there were the commercial convoys which used to ply between Asia, and Eastern and Northern Europe by the Caspian Sea and through Constantinople. Perhaps, by that route, news of the Muslims had reached Scandinavia.

Secondly, the Crusaders' long occupation of some land between Syria, Egypt and other Islamic countries. Thirdly, the rise of Islamic states in Andalusia and Sicily and other countries, and the spread of the Arabic language there.

Arabic poems were linked with names of some gifted poets of Europe who lived in the fourteenth century and after. Their connection with Arab culture cannot be doubted or denied. We mention in particular Boccacio, Dante and Patrarch the Italians, the English poet Chaucer, and the Spanish Cervantes, who had the credit of revitalizing the ancient arts of those countries.

In 1349 Boccacio wrote his «Decameron» in which he adopted the pattern of «Arabian Nights» or «One thousand and one nights» which was then in circulation in Egypt and Syria. He compiled one hundred stories on the lines of «One thousand and one Nights», and ascribed them to seven ladies and three men who had fled from the town and took refuge in the suburbs for fear of being overtaken by plague. Each was called upon to narrate a story every morning to pass the time. These stories spread all over Europe. Shakespeare derived from them the subject of his comedy «ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL»; similarly Lessing, the German poet, derived NATHAN THE WISE».

In English Poetry, Chaucer was the greatest plagiarist in his age. After he returned from Italy, he compiled his Canterbury tales on the lines followed by Boccacio in his (Decameron), of which one is the story of (the Kinght) which was borrowed from «One thousand and one Nights». He began his tale with the description of a court belonging to one of the Khans of the Tartars or Moguls. The Western Poets continued spinning their stories on those lines until Longfellow author of the bock (Tales of Khan at the turning of the Road».

Perhaps Dante's connection with Arab culture is more pronounced than Bocaccio's and Chaucer's. He lived in Sicily during the reign of King Frederick II who was given to the study of Arabic references on Islamic culture.

Dante and the King used to debate Aristotel's School. Some of those debates were taken from Arabic sources and were written in manuscripts which are still kept in the library of Sir Thomas Bodley in Oxford. More than one Orientalist has noticed the close similarity between the description of Paradise by «Mohiuddin Ibn Arabi» and in Dante's «Divine Comedy». Dante knew much about the Prophet Muhammad, and must have read the chapter about The Night Journey, the Prophet's trip across the seven heavens. He also might have read the «Message of Absolution» by Abu El-Ala. From all those readings he derived his Journey To The Next World as described in «The Divine Comedy». Professor Asin Palacios, a Spanish Scholar devoted to Arab Studies, is an authority on derivation by Westerners

Petrarch lived during the age of Arab culture in France and Italy. He learnt at the Universities of Montpellier and Paris, which where founded by disciples of the Arabs that had graduated from the Andalusia Universities. Cervantes lived in Algeria for some years and wrote his «Don Quixote». Those who read «Don Quixote» will never doubt the wide-reading of Cervantes in Arabic and his borrowing of Arabic sayings and proverbs which are still current among the Arabs. Prescott, a wide-read scholar in Spanish history, affirms that the comedy of «Don Quixote» is wholly Andalusian in its core.

But the influence, which surpasses the effects of all those individual borrowings and derivations, is that comprehensive one which had had the credit of reviving modern European languages and promoting them to the ranks of literature and science, after they had been ignored by scientists, and scholars, whose literary and scientific works used to be written in Latin and Greek. Authorship of those work was restricted to theologians and their life, who arrogated learning to themselves alone to the exclusion of the masses of the people.

The adoption of Arabic as a means of education resulted in the neglect of Latin and Greek, and revival of the Popular language and the leanings of poetry rhetorics and science from sources other than priests and monks who were devoted to theology. Dozy quotes in his book, «Andalusian Islam», the message of the Spanish writer Al-Farro, who was greatly embittered at the neglect of Latin and Greek and the enthusiasm for learning the Muslim language. Al-Farm said, «Our intellectual class have been transported by the charm of the Arabic language, and have consequently neglected Latin and written solely in the language of their conquerors». Another more patriotic contemporary was embittered at that state of things and wrote. «My Christian brothers are enchanted by the Arabs' poems and narrative. They therefore study the works written by the Muslim Philosophers and Scholars. They learn, not to rebut and refute, but to imitate the style of classical Arabic. Who else other than theologians that read interpretations of the Gospel and Bible? Who reads these days the testaments and prophets' scriptures? Alas, the rising generation of intelligent Christians master no other literature and language than Arabic. They voraciously read Arabic books and heap up stocks of these books in their libraries at the highest prices. They chant everywhere the praises of the Arabic treasures, whereas they refuse to hear of Christian works when they are mentioned. They allege that Christian works are worthless and do not deserve to be given attention. How sad The Christians have forgotten their language. You seldom find one among a thousand Christians who writes to a friend in Christian language. As to Arabic, how innumerable are those who can give its best expression and excel the Arabs themselves in the composition of poems.

Dante said that the Italian poetry had been born in Sicily, that poems were greatly composed in vernacular in Provence where the Latin peoples of the South met. Wandering poets spread from that territory. They were known by the name «Troubador». The Europeans derived that name from the original word «Trobar», which Orientalists believe to be taken from Arabic word «Tarab or Tarob» meaning ecstasy). The name of their poem «tenson» is derived from the Arabic word «Tanazo» meaning (competition) They used to compete with each other in the composition of poems wherein they boasted of their glories and made pretensions as today's glib tongued Bedouins do. It is noticeable that there is close similarity between the meters of their poems and those of Andalusiverses. Verse had appeared before them; it was sung by singers at homes and in fairs. In the European poems of North Andalusia, there have been found Arabic words and reference to customs that had existed among Muslims alone, namely allotment of the fifth of cattle to the ruling Prince.

The relationship between Arabic Literature rather Islamic Literature as a whole and Modern European Literature has continued since the 17th century. Suffice it as an evidence of the influence of Islamic literature on European literature that we scarcely find a man of letters whose poetry and prose is devoid of an Islamic hero or anecdote. Of these literary people are Shakespeare, Addison, Byron, Southey, Coleridge, Shelley from England; Goethe, Herder, Lessing, Henine from Germany, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hugo and La Fontaine from France. La Fontaine said that he had spun his fables on the lines of «Kalila and Demna» which was introduced to the Europeans by the Muslims.

The European story was influenced during its rise by the technique of the Arabic novel of the Middle Ages namely, the ballad, epic, adventures of knights for romance and glory, etc. Some European critics believe that Gulliver's Traveis by Swift, and Robinson Crusoe by Defoe are indebted to Arabian Nights and «Message from Hai Ben Yakzan» which was written by the philosopher Ibn Tofail. The «Arabian Nights» exerted a stronger influence after its translation at the beginning of the 12th century, that had surpassed all effects it had by reputation before the publication of its translation. That was paralleled by the Translation of similar literary works. This tendency to turn to the East become as familiar in literature as it was in politics and colonization.

The School of Romantic chivalry of Medieval Europe is the offshoot of the chivalrous life of the Arab and Muslim conquerors who had introduced it to the West. This life prevailed in the West as a result of the practical lead the Arab and Muslim conquerors had inevitably taken. «Abanese» the Spanish writer believes, as mentioned in another part of this book - that Europe had not known knighthood, its, arts and enthusiastic drive before the arrival of Arabs in Andalusia, and the spread of their knights and heroes in the Southern regions. The belief of Abanese had much evidence to support it. The strongest evidences endorsing it is that a new military pattern which was not known to the heroes of Roman and Greek battles before, the burning love which had no match in the erotic poetry of the Northern and Southern peoples, the chivalrous edification of the sweetheart in the same way as that followed by Muslim ascetics who combine worship with chanting the grace of love. Although the love poetry did not rise in European literature to that plane.

The Spanish and Portuguese people drew from the Arabs quite a number of Arabic words that could make up a fairly big glossary. However it is not a question of compiling a glossary of words; what counts is the currency of these new words as an instrument in social life and expressing one's purpose and intent. However these words were not assimilated in the languages until their instrumentality in catering for living, and thinking had been established. Hence, much more credit must go to the sources of its inscription and orientation than to those who copied and inculcated them.