20 August, 2009

Just Some Random Ramblings

Baghdad's cultural revolution ----------------------------------------

In all of history, every civilization seems to have had a cultural revolution of some sort. For the Middle East - or Muslim civilization - this seems to have begun in Baghdad during the 'Abbasid Caliphate in the 8th century. The House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikmah) is the cornerstone of this cultural revolution. But, what is a cultural revolution? Further, how does it pertain to Baghdad and the Muslim world?

What I know (from selected readings):
The House of Wisdom was founded in the 8th century in Baghdad during the reign of al-Ma'mun (one of al-Rashid's sons). It was to be an intellectual center where scholars and academics would come to study and translate great works from their native language into Arabic. The Translation Movement was also a big player in this cultural revolution. Because of this revolution, Baghdad became a cultural world center. Knowledge and the transmission of knowledge became an important aspect in society. Universities began to "spring up" around the Arab/Muslim world - the first being in Baghdad. The caliphate - before and during - sponsored the arts and letters not just within their "castles" but around the Arab/Muslim world.


Tim Reynolds said...

So are you saying this was effectively the first University or the beginning of the movement of Universities that would eventual reach Europe in the 12th or century?

Julie said...

I haven't figured that part out yet, but I do remember from my undergrad studies that the first university in the Middle East was built in Baghdad. It seems like it was around this time as well. Just one more thing to look into as I dive into my research.