Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch: Mastering Nature in the Medieval Arabic and Latin Worlds

27 January 2024, 3:00 pm–6:00 pm

Book Cover

We invite you to a celebration of the work of Charles Burnett and the presentation of this Festschrift 'Mastering Nature in the Medieval Arabic and Latin Worlds. Studies in Heritage and Transfer of Arabic Science in Honour of Charles Burnett'

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students






Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
G11, ground floor, South Wing
United Kingdom

Charles Burnett’s studies exemplify cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary research that views the Arabic and Latin worlds as part of a vast cultural area spreading across West Asia, North Africa and Europe, and bridged by inquisitive scholars and learned translators.

Mastering Nature (Ann Giletti, Dag Nikolaus Hasse (eds), Brepols 2023) collects studies on medieval Arabic science and European engagement with it. They introduce a range of learning: astrology conducted with planetary lots; a geography where features of the earth's surface move over time; knowledge of the elements and climates which Adelard of Bath learned from Arab masters; Avicenna’s meteorology explaining extremes of fire storms and catastrophic floods; debates about the eternity or creation of the world; evaluations of magic as a rational discipline, or alternatively a danger needing censorship and linked to female witchcraft; and a precious astrolabe which in the Renaissance was reused and inspired new theoretical writings.

The book launch will begin with an introduction by the editors, Ann Giletti and Dag Nikolaus Hasse, followed by short presentations by the eight authors: 

Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum (Duxbury, MA, USA and London, UK) is a historian of astrology in Greco-Roman and later Antiquity and the Middle Ages and its transmission from Hellenistic to Arab thinkers.
Godefroid de Callataÿ (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) is a historian of medieval Arabic science and philosophy and their role in transmitting knowledge from Greek Antiquity to the Latin West.
Pedro Mantas-España (Córdoba, Spain) is a historian of medieval philosophy and the transmission of scientific and philosophical knowledge between Arab and Latin thinkers.
David Porreca (Waterloo, Canada) is a medieval intellectual historian specialising in Christian reception of the pagan Classical tradition, particularly magic and the Hermetic tradition.
Sophie Page (London, UK) is a historian of medieval social, cultural and intellectual history, with a focus on the history of magic, science and religion, cosmology and approaches to nature.
Koenraad Van Cleempoel (Hasselt, Belgium) is a specialist in medieval scientific instruments including astrolabes, as well as conceptual perspectives on architecture and design.

About the Speakers

Ann Giletti

at Oxford University

Ann Giletti is a medieval intellectual historian focusing on Latin reception of Aristotelian philosophy, science-religion conflicts and heresy, and philosophy in inter-faith dialogue.

Dag Nikolaus Hasse

Editor at University of Würzburg

Dag Nikolaus Hasse is a historian of philosophy focusing on Arabic and Latin philosophy and science and the transmission of knowledge from Arabic to Latin circles.