Arab Conquests Finished Off the Ancient East, according to the Louvre
The famous Louvre Museum in Paris admits that the Arab Conquests, the coming of Islam, represent a discontinuity --a breach, a sharp turning point-- in the history of Oriental civilization. In fact, the Arab Conquests finished off, wrecked, in plain English, the ancient East. Here is how the Department of Oriental Antiquities of the Louvre describes itself in its galleries[first English, then French original].
Collections of the Louvre - Department of Oriental Antiquities
"The Department of Oriental Antiquities is devoted to the ancient civilizations of the countries of the Near and Middle East, from the birth of villages more than 10,000 years ago until the arrival of Islam. Starting with the IIIrd Millenium, the same written culture, the cuneiform, was spread throughout the ancient East, including Egypt."
Collections du Louvre - Antiquités OrientalesNow some might want to soften the picture by saying that the arrival of Islam was a new departure. Indeed, the Louvre's Department of Oriental Antiquities itself softens the picture by saying "the arrival of Islam." Maybe it merely arrived, just like a letter in the mail. In fact, it was a brutal conquest which wrecked the Ancient East, putting an end to ancient Oriental civilization in the cradle of its birth. Nevertheless, despite the Louvre's use of a euphemism announcing "the arrival of Islam," it recognizes that the East has never been the same since the Arab-Islamic conquest, which submerged the pre-existing cultures, peoples, religions, and languages of the ancient East, wrecking whole civilizations. Edward Sa`id, arch-propagandist that he was, could not recognize this truth, or did not want to recognize it.
“Le département des Antiquités orientales est consacré aux civilisations anciennes des Pays du Proche et Moyen-Orient, depuis la naissance des villages il y a plus de 10.000 ans jusqu’à l’arrivée de l’Islam. A partir du IIIe millénaire, une même culture écrite, celle du cunéiforme, est répandue dans l’ensemble de l’Orient ancien, y compris l’Egypte.”
For contemporary views of the Arab Conquest, see the two preceding posts on this blog. For Spanish readers, the post of 4-26-2007 includes the Spanish version of an important passage from a contemporary account [in Syriac] of the Arab Conquest of Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, along with two English versions of the same passage.
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Here is the Louvre's official Spanish-language version of the text quoted above in English & French:
El departamento de Antiguedades orientales esta dedicado a las civilizaciones de los paises de Oriente Medio y Proximo, desde el nacimiento de las aldeas hace mas de 10.000 anos hasta el advenimiento del Islam. A partir del III milenio, una misma cultura escrita, de caracteres cuneiformes, se expande por todo el Antiguo Oriente, incluido Egipto.UPDATING- 18 June 2008
Here's an example of what is said above. A wonderful lighthouse was built at Alexandria in Egypt during the period of rule of the Ptolemies, a Macedonian dynasty descended from one of Alexander's generals, called Lagos.
Here is a partial description of the lighthouse and an admission by an Egyptian archeologist that it was wrecked at the time of the Arab conquests. The quote is taken from here.
The lighthouse used to have a huge mirror, which according to myth, reflected the whole of the city. The mirror and the brazier at the top created the large[st] amount of light ever produced by a lighthouse. As such the lighthouse of Alexandria influenced man's initial thinking about the uses of lenses. According to Dr. Hawass the lighthouse remained functioning until the Arab conquest in 641 AD.An admission by the foremost archeologist in Arab Egypt. Some attempts to partly restore the lighthose were relatively briefly successful.
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Link Added 1-14-2010 John J O'Neill concurs with me that the Arab/Muslim conquests finished off classical civilization. Whereas I focus on civilizations in the Middle East [the Orient in Roman geographical terminology], O'Neill looks from the point of view of Europe [here & here]
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Coming: More on James Baker, Jews in Jerusalem & Hebron, peace follies, propaganda, etc.