20 January, 2010

The House of Wisdom, Ch 3

Well, chapter 3 is nearly complete. I am content with what I have at this point in the semester. I will be adding to it later, as there are still a few holes I want to fill. I have written, in this chapter, on

al-Hazan (al-Haitham)

Thabit ibn Qurra,


al-Kindi (a little),

Hunayn ibn Ishaq,


and al-Battani.
During the research and writing of this chapter, I have learned more about algebra, optics, and other areas of science than I ever thought I would. I have formed a new appreciation for al-Khwarizmi and have been toying with the prospect of writing an article on him for one of the scholarly journals I enjoy.

Now, it is on to finish Chapter 2 - The Coming of New Ideas and resubmit my work to my thesis professor. My next post will include pictures of my completed translation project for my Applications II class. Until then...


Anonymous said...

Dear Jules,
i am in the 1oth grade at The Sharon Academy in Vermont. I have chosen Iraq as my county to study for this year in Humanities world culture, and next week i am presenting to the class on how Iraq has changed the world. I have been researching the Baghdad Caliphate and the House of wisdom as my focus for the Presentation. I would love to hear your thoughts on the House of Wisdom, and how this Point in time in Iraq has changed the world. I am reading all that you have posted and finding it most helpful.

Jules said...

You are very welcome Sam! I hope that you do well on your project in school.

I think the primary thing to remember about this time period is that all of the advancements made in science (including math) helped usher the West out of the "dark ages". Remember that Europe was in a constant state of war with different monarchs (for lack of a better term) trying to gain more territory. The Muslims, in particular the caliphates, were no different. The 'Abbasids pushed the Umayyads out of their home, killing almost all of them in the process. Abd al-Rahman managed to escape and made it to North Africa and then into Southern Spain (Andalusia or "al-Andalus) where he was able to reestablish the Umayyad dynasty. As the Muslim armies pushed West, they brought with them the technological and scientific advancements achieved at Baghdad.

There are a couple of good sources on the Muslims in Europe: David Lettering Lewis' "God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe" and Hugh Kennedy's "The Great Arab Conquests".

By the way, how did you happen to choose the House of Wisdom as a project?