In 1085, Moorish Toledo was conquered by Alfonso VI.

According to prof. Robert Sapolsky (he is a primatologist and neurobiologist, but usually all information he gives is very reliable), at the time of the conquest there was more cumulative information in the library of Toledo than in the whole Christendom, especially when it comes to philosophy and science. Could this be correct? How did repositories of knowledge (libraries) in Christian Europe compared with the Toledo library in number of volumes, reputation of authors, breadth and depth of topics covered, or other measures? In particular, how about the Byzantine libraries following the Carolingian Renaissance?

The answer has to contain some objective measure to fit the format of this forum, it could be e.g. the number of prominent antique/Arab philosophers whose works were known in Christian Europe before the conquest vs the books in the library, or some very significant works that were available in the library but not known in Christian Europe at the time, or any other objective measure that is available.

This is indirectly confirmed by the existence of Toledo School of Translators, but I could not find any quantitative references.

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    Most likely, even if enough people could agree on what measure to use, there would be no way to measure it. – Spencer May 9 '20 at 18:07
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    Imo, this is far too general a statement and it would be at Mr Sapolsky to provide evidence for his assessment, not at us to value or discard it. Frequently, such generalized statements turn out to be without a factual base. Europe was quite diverse during the medieval, because of different languages and dialects, societies, cultural units, .... But I am not an expert in these times. – user43870 May 9 '20 at 19:06
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    @YuliaV: how about "Carolingian Rennaissance", Byzantine, don't they count for Christianity ? Didn't they include traded knowledge from the Antique as well ? Not that i want to defend them, just throwing in that things might have different measurements here ... – user43870 May 9 '20 at 19:12
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    Regarding libraries in Byzantine empire, the best answer, I think, is that "we do not know," and am I sure, Dr. Sapolsky does not know either. One can only conjecture that much of the imperial library was destroyed in 1204 (the 4th Crusade). Personally, I prefer to treat claims like the one made by Sapolsky with Hitchens's razor. – Moishe Kohan May 9 '20 at 22:07
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    I have (hopefully) clarified the question and nominate it for reopening in its current form. – Tom Au May 10 '20 at 7:59

The volume of information in the libraries of Andalusian Spain (Toledo, Cordoba and Granada) truly dwarfed what was available in most of Christendom at the time. Andalusian libraries and their affiliated network of local suppliers:

churned out as many as 60,000 treatises, poems, polemics and compilations a year. [...] This level of industry was in sharp contrast to the knowledge production underway throughout much of Christendom, where during the same period the two largest libraries (Avignon and Sorbonne) contained at most 2000 volumes as late as 1150. (source)

If we take Sapolsky to mean Western Christendom, his comparison is clearly accurate. However, as mentioned in the comments, it is feasible that the libraries of Byzantium may have rivaled those of Moorish Andalusia. I'm not seeing good numbers with which to make that comparison.

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