Writings about Europe by non-Europeans in the ancient world

Sep 2012
942
Prague, Czech Republic
Any recommendations on books? Translated of course.
Not an original source, but The European Other in Medieval Arabic Literature and Culture by Nizar Hermes is an interesting summary of Arabic writings on Europe and Europeans between the 9th and 12th centuries.
 
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dreamregent

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
4,410
Coastal Florida
To summarise, the Egyptians did write about Europe even before Alexander conquered them. Their main information on Europe as far as I know comes from their records about the Sea Peoples, which came from places like Sardinia and Sicily or at least attacked them, while the Egyptians also conquered Cyprus at one point. They basically describe the Sea Peoples as ravagers coming in boats similar to how the Anglo-Saxons described the Vikings saying how they destroyed everywhere they went. They even portrayed the Sea Peoples in their stelae and papyri, with horned helmets and coming in great number from their ships until the pharaoh defeated them.
I would imagine there's more from late antiquity. However, I'm not sure I'd characterize the earlier Egyptian corpus as providing much information about "Europeans". There are sparse mentions of potential Europeans beginning in the New Kingdom. And we've got evidence of Minoan murals in a Thutmosid palace at the site of Avaris. We also certainly have some railing against the Sea People but no significant descriptions of their cultures or histories. And a lot of what we "know" has actually been gleaned from pictorial representations rather than text. If the OP is interested in extensive early written records, the most significant thing I can think of, by far, would be the Hittite Ahhiyawa corpus (e.g. your reference to Hittite tablets). While this body of written evidence primarily comprises correspondence rather than narratives or exposition, it's widely thought to concern Hittite interaction with the Mycenaeans. The Ugaritic corpus might be worth a search as well.
 
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Dec 2019
44
Los Angeles
Not an original source, but The European Other in Medieval Arabic Literature and Culture by Nizar Hermes is an interesting summary of Arabic writings on Europe and Europeans between the 9th and 12th centuries.
Thanks. The one listing on Amazon is $85 for the paperback :oops: but if I can find it elsewhere I will get it.
 
Sep 2012
942
Prague, Czech Republic
Thanks. The one listing on Amazon is $85 for the paperback :oops: but if I can find it elsewhere I will get it.
I never cease to be amazed by the ridiculous prices they charge for academic books. It's not worth $85.

If you're in Los Angeles, your nearest available library copy is probably in the Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus (I love the wonders of the internet, sometimes).
 
Mar 2018
984
UK
I never cease to be amazed by the ridiculous prices they charge for academic books. It's not worth $85.

If you're in Los Angeles, your nearest available library copy is probably in the Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus (I love the wonders of the internet, sometimes).
It's also easier to obtain _discounted_ copies of things if you have an ereader
 
Sep 2012
942
Prague, Czech Republic
It's also easier to obtain _discounted_ copies of things if you have an ereader
The discount if often insignificant though. There's many an ebook being pedalled for prices over 100 Euros. Some academic publishers will try and charge you 60 Euros for individual articles. Madness

The Internet Archive now makes some books available for free as e-books. They have always offered public domain books, but now you can get some that are still under copyright. They can be downloaded on time-limited licences, with artificial scarcity enforced by limiting the number of people who can loan it simultaneously, so it works like a vitual library.