Without Alexander the Great there would not have been a unified Islamic civilization’.”

Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Firdawsi (d.1020); Recto: The bier of Iskandar

Carl Heinrich Becker was a prominent German orientalist and politician and one of the founders of the study of the contemporary Middle East. Becker noted that all the lands taken over by the Muslims in the seventh century, which were for long to be the core of the Islamic empire, had been affected by the classical art of Greece and Rome in its widest sense. He put his view succinctly: Without Alexander the Great there would not have been a unified Islamic civilization’.

Maria Todorova  writes:

“German historian Carl Becker refutes the attempts to depict Islam as a product of the desert, as being purely an outgrowth of Arab culture. He shows its genealogy from Christianity and Judaism, its Aramaic, Greek and Persian roots, and persuasively argues that “Islamic civilization” was possible only because it was grafted onto a pre-existing civilization: the Hellenistic Near East. …
“Commenting on the constant clashes between Greece and Persia, and the subsequent conquests of Alexander the Great, he simply stated that ‘the borders between East and West were becoming increasingly less defined’.”

The historical argument is complex. Those interested can read on here:

http://www.iwm.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=365&Itemid=231

http://silenceisloud.com/caliphate/144-the-rise-of-islam-and-the-artistic-climate-of-the-period-part-3.html

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