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Sculpture of ninth-century Persian scholar Al-Khwarizmi in Khiva, Uzbekistan. Latin discovery of Al-Khwarizmi’s work introduced the numerals 0-9, one of many ways in which Islamic cultures have contributed to Western civilisation. LBM1948/Wikimedia Commons

Explainer: what Western civilisation owes to Islamic cultures

Western civilisation and Islam are sometimes seen as diametrically opposed. Yet Islamic cultures have contributed much to the West, in language, philosophy and literature.
Giotto’s Last Judgment in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, inspired by Dante Alighieri’s vision of heaven and hell. Wikimedia

Guide to the Classics: Dante’s Divine Comedy

The gates to hell in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy tell us to "abandon all hope, yet who enter here". Despite its unfunny premise, 'La Commedia' ends well, with its protagonist Dante reaching heaven.

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