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The Prince of the Faithful, Abu Yaqub Yusuf, was Averroes patron in supporting his translations of Aristotle.

Yet, the following was written in the year 1224 AD by Abdelwahid al-Marrakushi in his writing of “The Pleasant Book in Summarizing the History of the Maghreb.”

“And in this – – – -[Averroes] faced his severe ordeal and there were two causes for this; one is known and the other is secret. The secret cause, which was the major reason, is that [Averroes] —may God have mercy on his soul— when summarizing, commenting and expending upon Aristotle’s book “History of Animals” wrote: “And I saw the Giraffe at the garden of the king of the Berbers”.

“They took one phrase out of context that said: ‘and it was shown that Venus is one of the Gods’ and presented it to [The Prince of the Faithful, Abu Yaqub Yusuf] who then summoned the chiefs and noblemen of Córdoba and said to [Averroes] in front of them ‘Is this your handwriting?’. [Averroes] then denied and [The Prince of the Faithful, Abu Yaqub Yusuf] said ‘May God curse the one who wrote this’ and ordered that [Averroes] be exiled and all the philosophy books to be gathered and burned…And I saw, when I was in Fes, these books being carried on horses in great quantities and burned.”

In truth what had happened was that the king was troubled by political upheaval. He needed a scapegoat – – – and what better scapegoat could be had than a philosopher? Ignoring the fact that Averroes was his personal physician, The Prince of the Faithful, Abu Yaqub Yusuf, banished Averroes in 1195 and ordered his writings burned. Averroes was not allowed to return to Marrakesh until 1197.

Averroes died in the year 1198 AD. His body was returned to Cordoba for burial.

ibn Rushd memorial

However, copies of Averroes’ writings had been spirited away, northward across the Pyrenees Mountains. They have been translated from Arabic into Hebrew by Jacob Anatoli, and then from Hebrew into Latin by Jacob Mantino and Abraham de Balmes. Michael Scot translated other works of Averroes directly from Arabic into Latin.

Those works, initially written in Greek by Aristotle, and translated by Averroes into Arabic, became fuel for the 12th Century Renaissance.

 

Tomorrow: Genisis

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