My translation of Agapius has now reached the portions describing the Arab takeover of the Near East, and so is full of Arabic names. This raises the question of how we should write them, in an English translation. Do we write “Ali”, or “`Ali”, indicating the hawking sound with the funny-looking apostrophe? Do we write “Abdullah” or “`Abd-allah”?
Barbarous-looking names like `Abbad-ibn-`Asim weary the eye, and cause the reader to skip across the text. Does this factor all by itself tend to explain why we halt the study of antiquity at the Arab conquest, despite the substantial continuity of culture into the early Islamic period?