Maria Mavroudi, Ph.D.

Professor of Byzantine Studies

University of California, Berkeley

Born in 1967 in Thessaloniki, Greece
Studied Philology at the University of Thessaloniki and Byzantine Studies at Harvard University


Greek and Arabic Literary Culture Between Byzantium and the Turkish Lands, 1300-1800

The project discusses the interaction between Greek and Arabic literary culture from the fourteenth until the nineteenth century, primarily in the fields of science (both "hard science", such as astronomy and medicine, and "pseudoscience", e.g. magic and divination), philosophy, law, and historical writing. The findings can help us refine or reconsider our current understanding of the scientific and philosophical interaction between "East" and "West" during the late medieval and early modern period, as well as the conduits and significance of introducing "Western" modernity to the "Eastern" world. The project focuses on a few important scientific and philosophical problems that early modern Europe and the Ottoman world were simultaneously interested in and investigates the role of Byzantine intellectual traditions in addressing them. As it moves forward to the seventeenth century and beyond, it investigates the role of Greek- and Arabic-speaking Christians who, within an Ottoman context, utilized European approaches (e.g. the neo-Aristotelianism of Cremonini or the medicine of Paracelsus) while engaging Muslim intellectuals in philosophical and scientific dialogue. It also highlights the close contact between Greek and Christian Arabic intellectual trends toward the end of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a seminal period for the emergence of nationalisms among the subjects of the Ottoman Empire - a development that eventually led to its disintegration.

Recommended Reading

Mavroudi, Maria. "Translations from Greek into Arabic and Latin during the Middle Ages: Searching for the Classical Tradition." Speculum 90, 1 (January 2015): 28-59.
-. "Greek Language and Education Under Early Islam." In Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts: Essays in Honor of Professor Patricia Crone, edited by Behnam Sadeghi, Asad Q. Ahmed, Robert Hoyland, and Adam Silverstein, 295-342. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
-. "Translators from Greek into Arabic at the Court of Mehmet the Conqueror." In The Byzantine Court: Source of Power and Culture. Papers from the Second International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, Istanbul 21-23 June 2010, edited by Ayla Ödekan, Nevra Necipoglu, and Engin Akyürek, 195-207. Istanbul: Koç University Press, 2013.