OsAr Greek-Arabic

The OsAr Greek-Arabic Seminar (OsAr GRAR) studies Arabic texts that are the result of Greek-Arabic translation activites from the 2nd to the 5th century A.H. (8th to 11th A.D.), mainly in Baghdad (the "City of Peace", capital of the ‛Abbāsid empire). We investigate the terminology and phraseology of translated texts as compared with their Greek originals (when extant) and discuss their role in medieval Arabic literature and science.

Galen's Taqāsīm al-Insāniyya

This page describes the current and planned activities of the OsAr GRAR and gives relevant information and basic references in order to facilitate the study of Greek-Arabic translation texts. Check the semester page (link below) for current activities and scroll down for a general presentation of the Greek-Arabic seminar and future plans.

If you have any comments or wish to participate in a current or planned seminar, or if you want to suggest texts or topics for future seminars, please don't hesitate to contact us. For general information about OsAr and other seminars, go home.

Spring 2010: This semester we continue reading Aristotle's Organon. In accordance with the usual OsAr policy, the main objective is to read the Arabic text and gain a basic understanding of the content. But the long-term objective, which we are already working on, is to make a complete digital edition of the (Greek and Arabic) Organon (and hopefully also Euclid's Elements), and we are currently gathering material for this edition, which will be one of the pioneering sub-projects to the Bibliotheca Polyglotta, currently being developed at IKOS.

If you wish to participate, we will be delighted!

All Greek-Arabic seminar pages, including texts and various resources, are collected here:

Plat à décor épigraphique (Khurasan ou Transoxiane, XIe-XIIe siècle)

OsAr GRAR and the Greek-Arabic translation literature


Translations from Greek into Arabic marks more than anything else the period of cultural and scientific efflorescence in Baghdad and in other centers of the Islamic empire from the 2nd to the 5th century A.H. (8th to 11th A.D.). During this period, which Werner Jaeger justifiably characterised as “die erste große internationale Wissenschaftsepoche, die die Welt gesehen hat” (Endress 1986: 164, quoted without "große" by Endress in GAP II: 423, n. 48 and hence in Gutas 1998: 192, n. 7), “almost all non-literary and non-historical secular Greek books that were available throughout the Eastern Byzantine Empire and the Near East were translated into Arabic” (Gutas 1998: 1). This large-scale translation of Greek philosophical and scientific literature into Arabic was a cultural and historical phenomenon of great importance for Islamic, or even global, history.


The OsAr GRAR Seminar aims to provide a scholarly environment at the University of Oslo for the study of this period, through the basic seminar activity with parallel readings of Greek and Arabic original texts, and preparing the texts studied for online publication at the Bibliotheca Polyglotta, which is currently being developed at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo.

The seminar has collected a number of parallel texts for this purpose (see list below), but we wish to stress that we favour collaboration with ongoing research projects or any other clearly defined projects (MA and PhD Theses, for example).