East and West: Africa in the Transmission of Knowledge from East to West

  • M. A. Tolmacheva
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8551

Africa's role in the transmission of knowledge from the East to the West has been strongly conditioned and circumscribed by its geographical location and relative isolation from European and Asian centers of civilization. Africa is to the south of Europe, home of the “West”; it is also positioned to the west and south of Asia, the historical and cultural “East” of Europe, from which it is separated by distance, the Sahara desert, and the Indian Ocean. The contiguity of the Eurasian landmass makes it easy for East–West communications to bypass Africa. Nevertheless, at various periods of premodern history Africa transmitted systems or elements of knowledge and culture to Europe, some generated in Africa, others developed in Asia in the Near, Middle, or Far East. The parts of Africa most actively involved in such exchanges are delimited by the waters of the Mediterranean and Red Seas, the latter guiding to Arabia and the Indian Ocean. The precise role played in these exchanges by Egypt,...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • M. A. Tolmacheva

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