During the Golden Age of Islamic civilisation, Muslims held a standard for literary and musical developments. Muslim Spain and to a lesser extent Muslim Sicily offered Europe many of its notions on poetry, chivalry, and instrumentals. By the end of the European Middle Ages Islam and its followers became the subjects of literature and music. During Elizabethan England, some Muslim representative (usually chosen via political motivation) revolved around the themes of literary works. Authors and playwrites consistently used "Turning Turk" (converting to Islam) as a means of conveying their own ideas as well as reflecting the fears of the time. During the Romantic Era (which was brought on by Goethe, a sympathizer of the Muslim world, or at least its ideals), the forbidden Orient and fantasies of Arabians Nights became the subjects of poems, paintings, operas, and plays. The 18th century saw a Turkish theme to much of the European tastes that encompassed clothes, candy, and tobacco. Themes from Muslim nations continued to be subjects of much artistic endeavour in the next two centuries. Like other sections, the entries in this list could be innumerable if every work mentioning Islam or some component of it was included; by no means does exclusion from the list signify inferior contribution to the discourse of Islamic studies or the perception of the Islamic world. Included in this section are some Muslims who contributed to the development of some aspects of culture in Western Europe.
|645||Khansa, a famous poetess, dies. As an old woman, she came to the Prophet Muhammad to accept Islam. All of her sons were martyred in the battle of Qadsiya (between Muslims and Persians). Her poetry would be published in Beirut in 1888 and translated into French in 1889. |
|786||The Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid begins his reign in Baghdad. The Abbasids reach their height in splendor and culture during his rule, which lasts until 809. He proves to be an effective administrator and able leader. Harun al-Rashid would become popular in the West partially through the romanticizing of the Arabian Nights.|
|822||The multitalented Abul Hasan Ali ibn Nafi, also known as Ziryab (a nickname referring to a bird of black plumage) settles in Cordova from the court of Baghdad. He is credited with developing a new five string lute (a precursor to the guitar), founding a conservatory of music in Cordova, inventing a toothpaste, introducing into Spain the practice of presenting meals in courses rather than all at once, introducing Europe to asparagus, in addition to setting trends in attire and hairstyle.|
|888||Abbas ibn Firnas dies. After Ziryab, he heavily propagated Oriental music in Spain. Like Ziryab, the music of ibn Firnas is Perso-Arabic in nature. Soon Muslim Spain will come to dominate the cultural music scene overshadowing Baghdad, especially in the 11th century. Ibn Firnas was known to make glass from stones, built a planetarium in his home, and attempted to fly. His flight suit was comprised of feathers with wings which carried him some distance before he experienced a hard fall. He attributed the rough landing to not making a tail.|
|1095-1291||The range of the Crusades to the Holy Land occurs during this period, which typically begins with the proclamation of the First Crusade in 1095 and ends with the fall of Acre to the Mamluks in 1291. Numbers of Crusades vary, although typically are put at nine, since many of the mobilizations of European nations occurred in waves lead by groups with varied motives. The exchange between the Muslim Middle East and European Christendom during this period is often overemphasized, but cultural diffusion did exist prominently in many aspects. Such influences from the East included the renewed importance of the public bath (last flourished in Europe under the Romans), exotic fabrics and metallic wares, and expanded gustatory interests with the popularity of spices, soft drinks, and sugar. Oriental themes in the works of Chaucer and Boccaccio are believed to have originated from this period. |
|1184||Capellanus pens Love and Its Cures, a treatise on courtly love. Early 12th-century monarch King Guilhem of Aquitaine is said to have introduced many of these principles of courtly love. The idealism of chivalry and courtship that penetrated into Western Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries, inspiring troubadours and the writings of numerous epics, came from Arab culture. The combination of horsemanship and poetry, ubiquitous aspects of Arab life, gave the backdrop for ideals of mercy in war and regard for women.The latter was further developed with the advent of Islam and its restrictions on premarital relations; the male had to win the woman's heart, not with physical endowments, but with individual skill. The mercifulness of Ayyubid ruler Salah ud-Din (Saladin) toward the Crusaders popularized the ideas of Muslim chivalry in this period. These ideas also filtered into Europe through Muslim Spain.|
In the next couple of centuries Arthurian legends feature Palomides the Muslim knight who converted to Christianity and joined the Knights of the Round Table. He has a significant role in the post-Vulgate Roman du Graal as the enigmatic knight tracking the Beste Glatissante and in Tristan where he is both a companion and rival (particularly for the love of the Queen Iseut) of Tristan. Palomides is noted for his valor and chivalry.
|1200||Italian artisans begin to implement the pottery adornment of the Muslim world into their ceramics, which previously were typically utilitarian and lacked décor. |
|1307-1321||Dante's The Divine Comedy, considered to be an epitome of Western literary achievement, finds basis in much of its imagery on Muslim literature. Inspirations stem from the Mi?raj (Prophet Muhammad's ascent to heaven), the renowned Ibn Arabi's Meccan Revelations, the works of Abu al-Ala al-Maarri, Quranic descriptions of hell's punishments, and accounts of heaven. In the work itself, a number of Muslims make an appearance; The Prophet Muhammad and Ali ibn Abi Talib suffer perpetual torture as provokers of schism while Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, and Saladin –unable to achieve salvation because of their denial of Christianity, yet unworthy– of hell because of their good deeds– remain in limbo. |
|1310||Muhammad ibn Daniyal al-Khuza?i al-Mawsili, Muslim physician possibly of either Christian or Jewish origin who flourished in Egypt, dies. His famous Tayf al-Khayal fi Marifat Khayal al-Zill (Phantoms of the imagination on the knowledge of shadow play) is the only known example of dramatic poetry from the Islamic world during the Middle Ages. These puppet plays, which the Islamic world retrieved from India or Persia, will filter into Europe through Egypt and other bordering Muslim nations.|
|1316||Simone Martini's Saint Louis of Toulouse Crowning Robert of Anjou, King of Naples stands as one of the earliest examples of the use of Oriental carpets from the Islamic world in Italian paintings.|
|1330||Giotto's painting Madonna and Child reflects the popular use of tiraz, bands of Arabic inscriptions marking royal garments and other textiles in the Muslim world. Italian artists employ Arabic and pseudo-Arabic in many works echoing their regard for Muslim calligraphy.|
|Ca.1440||Leonardo Bruni's Historia Fiorentina, produced in Florence, reflects the influence of bookbinding and design from the Muslim world.|
|1493||To demonstrate the value of imported Oriental carpets from the Muslim world, Lorenzo de' Medici's best table carpet exceeds in value two sculptures by Donatello owned by Luigi Martelli.|
Around this time Gentile Bellini's Madonna and Child Enthroned depicts a Muslim prayer rug under the Madonna's throne.
|1511||Albrecht Dürer paints A Turkish Family.|
|1516||Ludovico Ariosto's chivalric poem Orlando Furioso revolves around the conflict between Charlemagne and the Muslims.|
|1563||The first Italian costume book, printed in Venice, depicts a Turkish servant, Ethiopians, three Africans, and Tatars.|
|1587||Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine , Part I opens. The play is based on the Turco-Mongol Muslim (although Marlowe's rendition exhibits the title character as polytheist) Tamerlane, who was a famed conqueror in the late 14th century. In 1402, Tamerlane (also known as Emir Temur) defeats and captures Ottoman Sultan Bayazid at the Battle of Ankara. Bayazid dies in captivity effectively halting his attempt at a Constantinople conquest and further invasions into Europe. The event gave rise to many European romances of Tamerlane, who was perceived to have saved Europe from conquest by a Muslim power.|
|1588||Marlowe's play Tamburlaine, Part II comes out.|
Robert Greene's play Selimus, Emperor of the Turks opens.
Turkish Mahomet and Hiren the Fair Greek, a dramatic work by George Peele, opens.
|1589||George Peele's comes with another work of orientalist nature with The Battle of Alcazar.|
|1591||Orlando Furioso, the play by Robert Greene, hits the stages.|
|1592||A story about a Turk who falls in love with a beautiful Christian captive is told in Thomas Kyd's play The Tragedye of Soliman and Perseda.|
|1594||Marlowe's The Second Report of Doctor John Faustus appears in London. The title character Faustus joins forces with an evil Turk.|
Fulke Greville's play Mustapha appears.
|1601||William Percy's Arabia Sitiens opens.|
|1602||Thomas Heywood's play The Fair Maid of the West, or A Girl Worth Gold Part I opens. Part II will come out in 1630.|
|1604||Shakespeare's Othello, a play about a converted Moor in Venice, first premiers. This play, like many others of the period, allegorically presents many of the ideological and cultural concerns that plague the time.|
|1607||John Mason's The Turke comes out.|
|1612||Robert Daborne's play A Christian Turn'd Turk is performed in London. "Turning Turk" becomes popular during this period due to the large number of Christians who are converting to Islam and settling in North Africa.|
Thomas Dekker's play If This not be a Good Play, the Divel is in it includes as characters Simon Danser and John Ward, two European renegades employed in North Africa. John Ward also appears as the main character in A Christian Turn'd Turk.
|1613||Around this year, Thomas Goffe writes the play The Couragious Turke, or Amurath the First.|
|1620||The play by Rowley and Middleton All's Lost by Lust portrays the motif of Christians falling in love with seductive Muslim women and turning Turk.|
|1622||Due to the large number of Europeans enslaved by Muslims, captivity narratives become popular in Europe. John Rawlins writes of his plight in The Famous and Wonderful Recovery of a Ship of Bristol, Called the Exchange, from the Turkish Pirates of Argier, with the Unmatchable Attempts and Good Success of John Rawlins, Pilot in Her, and Other Slaves in this year. This work names many Englishmen who accepted Islam: John Goodale; Henry Chandler, a chandler's son in Southwark, who adopted the name of Ramadhan Reis; Richard Clarke who had changed his name to Jafar; George Cooke who had become "Ramedam"; John Browne who had become "Memme"; and William Winter who took the name Mustapha.|
|1624||Philip Massinger's play The Renegado tells of a young Venetian, coming to rescue his sister from slavery in Tunis, falling for a beautiful Turkish princess who he eventually convinces to accept Christianity and a renegade named Grimaldi who returns to Christ.|
|1631||Thomas Goffe writes the Raging Turk, or Bajazet the Second.|
|1656||Davenant's The Siege of Rhodes depicts Suleiman the Magnificent as the noble Turk. |
|1658||The account of a Muslim convert to Christianity, named Dandulo, The Baptized Turk, Or A Narrative of the happy Conversion of Signior Rigep Dandulo, . . . and of his Admission unto Baptism by Mr. Gunning at Excester-house Chappel the 8th of Novemb. 1657 appears.|
|1672||Racine's drama Bajazet (Bayazid) appears.|
|1673||Guy Allard writes his novel Zizime prince ottoman, amoureux de Philippine-Helene de Sassenage. The story commemorates the love affair between Jem Sultan and Philippine Helene during the royal hostage's captivity in France.|
|1686||Johann W. Franck's opera Cara Mustapha features events of the Ottoman siege of Vienna three years earlier.|
|1693||Reinhard Keiser's opera Muhammed II comes out.|
|1704||Antoine Galland –a polyglot who speaks Arabic, Persian, and Turkish– translates and publishes the first volume of the Thousand and One Nights.|
|1724||Handel's opera Tamerlane opens. The scene where Ottoman Sultan Bayazid drinks poison was celebrated as one of the Baroque era most powerful opera scenes. Bayazid was also one of the earliest major tenor roles in opera.|
|1728||Leasge's Achmet et Almanzine features Achmet dressing up as a woman in order to rescue his lover, Almanzine, from the harem.|
|1732||Voltaire's Zaire utilizes Ottoman themes and images of the Grand Turk to convey messages about ethics.|
|1735||The opera Scanderberg, music by Rebel and Francoeur and libretto by Houdar de La Motte, depicts the exploits of Albanian hero Skanderbeg as he triumphantly defied Ottoman expansion.|
|1753||The opera Solimano, based on Suleiman the Magnificent, by Hasse first comes out.|
|1761||Charles-Simon Favart's Libretto of Soliman II ou Les Trois Sultanes, about competition between the concubines of the Ottoman harem, opens. Madame Favart, playing the role of Roxelane (historically Suleiman the Magnificent's favorite wife), wears authentic Ottoman attire brought in from Constantinople. This popular play exhibits for the first time such detail of Ottoman life in the performing arts of Europe. |
|1770||Most European armies employ marching bands similar to those of the Janissary corps of the Ottomans. Augustus II of Poland (r.1697-1704) is the first ruler to have an Ottoman-inspired band. Many of the early musicians were Ottoman but then replaced by "Black Turkish" musicians. |
|1782||Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio opens at Burgtheater in Vienna on 16th of July. The piece takes place in 16th century Turkey with characters named Selim Pasha and Osman. The story ends with the Ottoman characters displaying righteousness and nobility.|
|1783||Gretry's La Caravane du Caire opens and will receive 500 perfomances in Paris by 1829. Louis XVI was believed to have had a part in the composition of the libretto.|
|1812||Josef von Hammer-Purgstall translates into German many of the poems of the Persian Hafiz under the title Der Diwan von Hafis.|
|1813||Giacchino Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri is performed.|
|1814||Giaocchino Rossini composes the comic opera Il Turco in Italia (The Turk in Italy).|
Voyages en Asie et en Afrique by Ali Bay el Abbassi (Domingo Badia y Leblich) becomes the earliest published account of a European incognito going to Mecca and Medina.
|1817||Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Revolt of Islam appears.|
|1819||German intellectual Goethe's West-Oestlicher Divan, a book of poems, exhibits Oriental influence.|
|1822||Albanian ruler Ali Pasha of Ioannina (born ca. 1750) dies. He ruled as virtually an autonomous sovereign, although technically under the Ottomans, of Albania and mainland Greece. He became the subject of numerous Orientalist works in literature and art where he was depicted as an archetype for the cruel Oriental despot. Accounts of his personal life were wrought with exaggerated legends; however, he was a very powerful regional ruler that was sought by the European powers thwarting Ottoman influence in the region. Works that featured him included Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Composer Giovanni Martino Cesare's score La Ioannina, Albert Lortzing's composition Ali Pascha von Janina, and John Howard's Ali Pacha.|
Many of the Albanian soldiers in the service of Ali Pasha had seen military action in Europe as mercenaries in France and Italy. Ali's court had a number of Western Europeans present including a French physician, An Italian named Colovo who served as court secretary, Marco Quirini, a former Roman Catholic priest who for a time converted to Islam taking the name Mehmet Effendi while serving as secretary for foreign affairs before leaving the court for other European territories and renouncing Islam, and the Frenchman Ibrahim Manzur Effendi whose specific identity is debated.
|1826||Oberon, Carl Maria von Weber's opera, premiers at Covent Garden. The story takes place during the 9th century in France, Tunis, and Baghdad. Characters include Caliph Harun al-Rashid, Razia, Fatima, Almanzour, Abdullah, Charlemagne, and many more. Oberon has been considered a basis of German romantic opera and the triumph of Weber's career.|
|1829||Victor Hugo, author of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, pens numerous Oriental-based and Islamic-themed poems in Les Orientales such as "The Turkish Captive," "The Dervish," "The Lost Battle," "The Djinns," "The Sacking of the City," and more.|
|1859||E. Fitzgerald publishes the Rubaiyat (Quatrains) of Omar Khayyam.This work on poetry makes Omar Khayyam famous in the West for his literary contributions. Ironically, his popularity in the East is due to his scientific and mathematical works.|
|1863||French painter Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (b. 1798) dies. Many of his works incorporated romantic and classical themes in an Orientalist setting. His works often depict many of the exaggerated images Europeans associate with Islam and the East. The artist himself made one trip to North Africa. His notable works include The Death of Sardanapalus (1844), The Loin Hunt (1855), and The Collection of Arab Taxes (1863).|
|1867||Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (b. 1780) dies. This recipient of the Croix de la Légion d' Honneur and elect to the Institut de France produced such famous Orientalist paintings as Odalisque and Slave (1842). He never traveled out of Europe.|
|1876||British painter and former resident of Cairo John Frederick Lewis (b. 1805) dies. His Orientalist paintings include An Intercepted Correspondence, Cairo (1869) and A Mamluk Bay, Egypt (1868).|
|1893||The foundation of the Société des Peintres Orientalistes becomes the first establishment for Orientalist painters. |
|1894||Characters from the exotic nations including Muslim lands became popular characters during the Golden Age of professional wrestling in Europe and America. These were the ancestors to many contemporary exaggerated ethnic characters of today's professional wrestlers.|
This year saw the French wrestler Joseph Doublier, in an attempt to seek revenge on his rival Ferdinand Sabes, return to Paris with the Terrible Turks: Youssuf Ishmaelo, Hassan Nurullah, and Kara Osman.Ismaelo would become very popular billed as the Sultan's favorite wrestling and competing in celebrated bouts in Europe and the United States; two of his famous ones included a victory over the celebrated Ed Strangler Lewis and his brutal bout in Paris with another Turk named Ibrahim Mahmout. Ishmaelo was said to have drowned in 1898 due to the weight of $10000 gold belt, which he refused to relinquish when his ship, SS La Bourgogne, sailing back from America sunk. The Terrible Turks, a popular gimmick which lasted for years to come, were ethnically diverse and the heritage of even the more famous ones is disputed. Ahmed Madrali, unsuccessfully brought in to challenge George Hackenschmidt, was another famous "Turk" of this era.
|1888||Sir Richard Burton's A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights in 10 volumes appears. Burton, a widely celebrated traveler, journeyed throughout Asia and Africa including disguising himself to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.|
|1900||In Paris around the time of the Great Exposition, in a famous match of ethnic professional wrestlers, the Hindu Ghulam defeats the Turk Cour Derelli.|
|1904||Jean-Léon Gérôme (b.1824) dies. This French Orientalist painter was appointed Professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and elected to the Institut de France. He made numerous trips to the Middle East inspiring his famous paintings such as Dance of the Almah (1863), The Moorish Bath (c. 1870), The Carpet Merchant (c. 1887), and The Whirling Dervish (1895).|
|1907||Prague-born, German poet Rainer Maria Rilke writes Mohammeds Berufung (Muhammad's Call).|
|1910||Bengali billionare Sharat Kumar Mishra sponsors a tour bringing popular Indian wrestlers Gama, Imam Bux, Ahmed Bux, and Gamu to the professional wrestling scene in London. Imam Bux held a celebrated victory over John Lemm. The highly successful Gama wrestled Stanislaus Zbyszko. Ahmed defeated the Swiss Armand Cherpillod. The following year another batch of Indians came to England. Gulam Mohiuddin, wrestled a celebrated match with Maurice Gambier, was in this group. |