[Professor Draper] attributes all the initiative of modern science to the impulse derived from the Arabs. This used to be a favorite way of looking at the history of culture for those who wanted to minimize just as far as possible all Christian influence. The facts of history are in constant contradiction with this. Modern European science began at the University of Salerno. It has often been stated that Arabian influence must have largely impelled Salerno’s work, situated as it was in the southern part of Italy, but the use of any such expression means that the writer must forget that this southern part of Italy had been a Greek colony, was indeed called Magna Graecia and that Greek influence persisted there, and when the revival came after the Barbarians who had invaded Italy had gradually been brought by religious influence into a state where culture and science and civilization were to mean something for them, the influence of the old Greek authors was first felt here. Gurlt, in his History of Surgery, emphasizes the fact, for instance, that the first important modern (or medieval) writers on surgery, the Four Masters of Salerno, were not influenced by the Arabs. Their books contain no Arabisms but many Graecisms. They obtained their inspiration from the old Greeks and carried on the torch of learning in their own department magnificently as recent studies of the School of Salerno have shown. They corrected the polypharmacy of the Arabs and restored natural modes of cure to their proper place.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)


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