Moors also dominated the British Isles at one point in history. The archeologist and writer David McRitchie declared that the Moors dominated Scotland as late as the time of the Saxon Kings.
He stated with scholarly authority: So late as the tenth century three of these provinces [of Scotland] were wholly black and the supreme ruler of these became for a time the paramount king of transmarine Scotland. We see one of the black people - the Moors of the Romans - in the person of a King of Alban of the tenth century. History knows him as Kenneth, sometimes as Dubh and as Niger.
We know as a historic fact that a Niger Val Dubh has lived and reigned over certain black divisions of our islands and probably white divisions also, and that a race known as the "Sons of the Black" succeeded him in history. Representation of Black Saracen giant in medieval literature begin with Vernagu found in the Pseudo Turpin Chronicle of Charlemagne. Dated to the fourteenth century, the Roland and Vernagu describe a duel between the black as pitch, Saracen Vernagu, and the Christian knight Roland.
Another towering figure was Alagolfare the Ethiopian giant of the Sowdone of Babylone,who’s "skin was black and hard." It is said that:
This Astrogot (Alagolfare) of Ethiopia, he was a king of great strength; there was none such in Europe. So strong and so long in length, I trowe (?) he were a devil's son of Bezelbubb's line." There is also the legendary fight between William of Orange (an eleventh century count of Poitiers) and Ysore (a Black Saracen giant). Top left, Ysore the Black "Saracen" giant 1250 A.D. and bottom left, Bronze male statuette with a gold mask, found in Cadiz (Andalusia, Spain) in 1928, dated back to 8th or 7th century B.C.E.
The portrayals of Black Saracen giants in medieval literature thus reflect the realistic associations of "tall Africans in Saracen armies." Blacks likewise appear as sea-roving Saracens in the early Viking sagas. For example, in the Orkneyinga Saga (a thirteenth century Icelandic account of the Earls of Orkney), references are made to a great battle on the Mediterranean Sea between Vikings and Black Saracens.
It stated that:
Once both parties were aboard there was fierce fighting, the people on the dromond being Saracens, whom we call infidels of Mohammed, among them a good many black men, who put up a strong resistance.The fighting qualities of the Black Saracens must have been quite striking to the Earl of Orkney, who wrote:
Erling, honoured aimer of spears, eagerly advanced toward the vessel in victory, with banners of blood; the black warriors,brave lads, we captured or killed, crimsoning our blades. Busy with this dromond business our blades we bloodied on the blacks. After sparing some of the captives, including their leader, these Vikings fell into the hands of more Saracens, "who repaid them with similar generosity." Bottom right the Moors coat-of-arms
Translation, of course, played the major role in this diffusion of the sciences. The schools of translation were like the bridges between the Muslim and Christian scholars. Chief among these was the school of translators founded at Toledo by Alfonso X during the thirteenth century. Translations from Arabic (the medieval language of science) into Latin, the classical European language, had been going on since the tenth century.
Centers of translation sprang up all over Christian Europe Barcelona, Tarazona, Leon, Segovia, Pamplona, Toulouse, Beziers, Narbonne, and Marseilles. Bologna, Salerno and Paris made extensive use of Moorish scientific treatises. The translations from the Arabic provided links between Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and England. Alphonso X promoted Moorish erudition at every opportunity. The first university of Christian Spain was founded at Valencia by Alfonso VIII in the 13th century and the teachers employed were the Muslims and the Jews.
Nearly all the major universities in Europe sprung up around the same time, beginning in the second half of the 12th century right up through the 13th, a span of about one hundred and fifty years.
A period which coincides with the flowering of Moorish science and the establishment of centers in Europe to translate Moorish treatises from Arabic into Latin.
In Italy we have Bologna, Padua, Naples, Rome; in France, Montpelier and Toulouse; in Portugal, Lisbon and Coimbra; in England, Oxford.
Several of the Moorish works in mathematics, astronomy and medicine became standard texts at these universities.
For example, Judwal, a Moorish work in astronomy, became a standard text at Oxford.
Frederick II founded a university at Naples in 1224 and there he established a curriculum which emphasized Moorish scholarship.
Under him all theological studies ceased at Italian universities and Moorish medicine and law became the major disciplines.
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