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Medieval Central Europe in Arabic sources: Manuscripts Reconsidered, by Mykhaylo Yakubovych (National University of Ostroh Academy)

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Traditional Arabic historical and geographical texts are usually considered as one of the main sources for the history of East-Central Europe. Starting from Muruj al-Zahab of al-Mas’udi (896 –956) and finishing with Nu-zhat al-Mushtaq of al-Idrisi (1100 –1165), the corpus of Arabic texts is rich in historical dates, toponyms, descrip-tions of events etc.; some of them still leave enough space for further interpretation and pose many ques-tions, regardless of their authenticity. Although almost all of the known Arabic sources on medieval Europe were introduced to the scholarly usage up to the middle of the 20th century (first of all, due to the critical edi-tions and translations), some recent manuscript discov-eries may shed even more light on the question. My research is dedicated to the new manuscripts among medieval Arabic geographical sources, especially about the well-known genealogy of Slavic tribes by al-Mas’udi and, finally, list of the states, cities and depiction of the frontiers by al-Idrisi. Also some additional textual evidences will be used, mostly, later Ottoman works where the legacy of al-Mas’udi was taken over and developed for further aims.


Mykhaylo Yakubovych, PhD (Director of the Center for Islamic Studies, The National University of Ostroh Academy, Ostroh, Ukraine, currently J. M. Bak research fellow at IAS of CEU) is the author of the first complete translation of the Qur’an into Ukrainian (10 editions issued since 2013) and scholar of Islamic Studies. He held numerous academic fellowships in Poland (Warsaw University, Warsaw), Saudi Arabia (Academic Department, King Fahd Qur’an Printing Complex, Medina), USA (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) and Germany (IOS Regensburg, Free University of Berlin). Currently, he works on the history of Islamic intellectual traditions in Eastern Europe and East-West relations in the region, His recent publications include monographs on the history of the Islam in Ukraine and intellectual traditions of the Crimean Khanate as well as translations of medieval Arabic texts.