Map of Constantinople by Cristoforo Buondelmonti, 1422
For thousands of years the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores key cities around the Mediterranean Sea where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.
Starting from Greek, Roman, and Persian backgrounds, Hunsberger traces Rome’s turn to Christianity, the continuation of the Jewish diaspora, the Roman Empire’s division, and Islam’s development. Muslims protected Christians and Jews and began to employ them to translate Greek, Persian, and Sanskrit scientific, medical, and mathematical texts into Arabic.
Hunsberger shares stories of fascinating characters and provides a rich visual history of luxurious and everyday items, both ecclesiastical and secular, from textiles to scientific inventions. Throughout, she offers a view of the complex interdependencies of popes, emperors, caliphs, and kings, reflected in commercial, trading, spiritual, military, medical, literary, philosophical, and artistic pursuits.
Hunsberger has taught courses dealing with aspects of Islam at universities including Arya Mehr University of Technology in Isfahan, Iran, and Hunter College, the City University of New York. She currently teaches at the State University of New York at Old Westbury.
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