Prof. Dr ALASTAIR HAMILTON
Professor Emeritus of the History of the Radical Reformation at the University of Amsterdam and is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute. University of London. He has worked mainly on relations between Europe and the Arab world with particular emphasis on the Copts.
Yusuf b. Abu Dhaqn, known in the West as Josephus Abudacnus or Barbatus, was a Copt from Cairo who spent just under thirty years in Western Europe, from 1595 to 1623. He arrived as a very young man with a letter of recommendation from the Patriarch of Alexandria, Gabriel VII, addressed to the Pope, Clement VIII. After being trained in Rome he travelled to France, then to England, Belgium, Germany and Austria, and finally to Istanbul. Welcomed at the European universities, protected by princes, and in demand among scholars, he was employed at various time as a teacher, a librarian, and an interpreter. The purpose of the lecture is to examine the experiences and motives of one of the only Copts who visited Europe in the early modern period and to situate him in the intellectual, religious and political context of the time.