Among the other European lexicographers, the chief are Golius (Leyden, 1053) and Freytag (Halle, 1830-37). - The Arabs have produced a literature of vast extent, and after large reductions from the extravagant estimate sometimes put upon it, a very high value must still be allowed it. It commences with poetry. The oldest remains, in which however the characteristic form and style of Arabic poetry appear already fully developed, go back about a century before Mohammed. With the Koran a new era begins in literary as well as in political history. The Koran was to the orthodox believer not only the rule of faith, but also the highest authority in law, the perfect model in point of style - not simply inspired, but uncreated and eternal. Under the Ommiyade dynasty of Damascus, what there was of literary activity was concentrated mainly on the Koran, the establishing of the text and interpretation, and on the preservation of the traditions of the prophet. The following century, under the Abbasside caliphs of Bagdad, Al-Mansour, Haroun al-Rashid, Al-Mamoun, and Motassem, was the most flourishing period of Arabic literature.

Greek philosophy and science were introduced, mainly through the agency of Syrian Christians, and through the medium of translations, made for the most part not directly from the Greek, but from the Syriac. Law, history, and geography were cultivated, schools and libraries established, rewards bestowed on poets and scholars. In this patronage of literature the princes of the Ommiyade dynasty in Spain, especially Hakem II. (961-976), were worthy rivals. After the capture of Bagdad by the Mongols in 1258 the literary spirit gradually declined, and for the last three centuries little has been produced but commentaries on the older literature, and some works of an encyclopaedic character. The field in which the Arabs have shown most originality is unquestionably poetry, and its golden age was the century before Mohammed. Of the poems of this period, the most celebrated are the seven Moallakat, so called, according to the common but doubtful tradition, because they were "suspended" in the Caaba at Mecca, an honor bestowed on such as carried off the prize in the poetical contests. They have been frequently published, both together (Arabic by Arnold, Leipsic, 1850; English by Sir William Jones) and separately.

One of the seven, Amrulkais (German by Ruckert, Stuttgart, 1843), holds a first place among all the Arabic poets. Three others deserve to rank with these, Nabiga, Alkana, and Al-Asha; the first two published by Ahlwardt in " Divans of Six Ancient Arabic Poets " (London, 1870). Specimens of many other early poets are found in the Hamasa of Abu Temam (Arabic and Latin by Freytag, Bonn, 1828-'47; German by Ruckert, Stuttgart, 1846); in the Hamasa of Bohtori, and in the Kitab el-Aghani of Ali of Ispahan (Arabic and Latin by Kosegarten, vol. i., Greifswald, 1840). Motanebbi, about the middle of the 10th century (Arabic by Dieterici, Berlin, 1861; German by Von Hammer, Vienna, 1824), is the greatest of the poets after the advent of Mohammed. Arabic poetry is almost exclusively lyrical. Epic and dramatic poetry they have not, and the rhymed treatises on grammar and other prosaic subjects can hardly be classed with didactic poetry. In proverbs Arabic literature is rich, and several collections made by native authors, chief among which is that of Meidani, have been published by Freytag (Arabic and Latin, Bonn, 1838-'43), and a smaller collection by Burckhardt (Arabic and English, London, 1830). The Makamat of Hariri (Arabic by De Sacy, 2d ed., Paris, 1847-53; English by Preston, London, 1850) is a collection of amusing adventures, narrated with much grace and skill in most artfully rhymed prose, interwoven with short poems.

It has been admirably imitated, rather than translated, in German by Ruckert (Stuttgart, 1837). The romance entitled " Adventures of Antar," of which about a third part has been translated by Hamilton (4 vols. 8vo, London, 1820), is a charmingly drawn picture of Arab life before the rise of Mohammedanism. The famous collection of tales known as the "Thousand and One Nights," or the " Arabian Nights," is of unknown date and authorship. It was first made known in Europe about the end of the 17th century by Antoine Galland, who was employed by Colbert to collect MSS. in the East. The copy of the Arabic MS. brought by Galland from* Syria contained a marginal note dated 1584, and from internal evidence the middle of the 15th century has been fixed upon as the probable period of the composition of the work. Some of the tales were evidently borrowed by the writer from older authors, and Von Hammer identifies at least the plot and some of the stories of the " Arabian Nights " with an earlier collection in Persian, called Hezar Afsaneh (Arab. Elf Khurafeh, " The Thousand Fanciful Stories"). An excellent translation, with elaborate critical and illustrative notes, was made in England by Lane. - Theology and law among the Arabs, as in the East generally, were very closely connected, both resting on the common foundation of the Koran. But the Koran being contradictory on some points, silent on many others, and altogether without order or system, recourse was had first to the oral traditions of the sayings and doings of Mohammed; next to the decisions of the imams or legitimate successors of the prophet, and the early caliphs; and where these failed, to analogical reasoning.

Of the commentaries on the Koran, the most esteemed is that of Beidhawi (published by Fleiseher, Leipsic, 1844-'8); and of the collections of traditions, that of Bokhari (Krehl, Leyden, 1862-'8). Sharastani gives a view of the many religious and philosophical sects into which Islam was divided (Arabic by Cureton, London, 1842-'6; German by Haarbrucker, Halle, 1850-'51). The great schism is that which divides theSun-nis, the orthodox party, who recognize the authority of the traditions and decisions above mentioned, from the Shiahs, the followers of Ali, who reject many of them. The latter sect prevails chiefly in Persia. There are four leading schools among the Sunnis, all regarded as orthodox, and called after their founders the Hanefite, Malekite, Shafiite, and Hanbalite. They agree in their general principles, but differ in various details, and all date from near the commencement of the Abbasside dynasty. The Hanefite code prevails in India and Turkey; the Malekite in Africa, except Egypt. In Egypt the generally received authority is the Shafiite code, but the courts are Hanefite, the cadi being sent from Constantinople. The fourth or Hanbalite school has little influence.