In the twelfth century a wave of Arabic texst swept north across the Pyrenees, changing the intellectual map of Latin Europe and making possible – in the thirteenth century – the rise of the University of Paris and the birth of Scholasticism. It was te translators who made this possible, who made these texts over into Latin and, in many cases, physically brought them north acress the Pyrenees.
The carreer of Petrus Alfonsi, one of the earliest of these twelfth-century translators, provides a vivid example of how this transmission worked. A convert from Judaism and an emigrant from Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), Alfonsi brought Arabic texts north with him to Aragon, England and France. Rather than provide word-for-word translations of these4 texts, he adapted them into his own Latin versions aimed at his new clerical, Christian audience, compiling the disciplina clericalis, a book of moral Wisdom, from various proverbs and fables he has read or heard in Arabic.