Non- European Study – 8a Early Islamic Society
The Golden Age
The Islamic Golden Age is traditionally dated from the mid-7th century to the mid-13th century at which Muslim rulers established one of the largest empires in history.
During this period, artists, engineers, scholars, poets, philosophers, geographers and traders in the Islamic world contributed to agriculture, the arts, economics, industry, law, literature,navigation, philosophy, sciences, sociology, and technology, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding inventions and innovations of their own. Also at that time the Muslim world became a major intellectual centre for science, philosophy, medicine and education.
In Baghdad they established the “House of Wisdom“, where scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, sought to gather and translate the world’s knowledge into Arabic in the Translation Movement. Many classic works of antiquity that would otherwise have been forgotten were translated into Arabic and later in turn translated into Turkish, Sindhi, Persian, Hebrew and Latin.
Why was Baghdad important?
The Abbasid Caliphate established their capital in the city of Baghdad in 762CE. Over the next five centuries Islamic culture flourished and Baghdad became renowned as a centre of learning and tolerance. Scientists, doctors, philosophers and engineers made significant advances in their fields. Art and architecture combined to produce beautiful mosques and palaces.
Baghdda became known as ‘the Round City’ and was built as two large semicircles with a mosque at the centre and housed the caliph’s palace, libraries, government and military buildings. It also contained parks, gardens, squares and wide avenues. Residential areas for all but the most important people, markets and businesses were built outside the city walls. Until its destruction by the Mongols in 1258, Baghdad was a world centre of culture and learning. This period is sometimes known as the Golden Age of Islam.
It is estimated that during the period c900-1200 the population of Baghdad reached between 1,200,000 and 2,000,000 people. The House of Wisdom housed a library and attracted scholars from around the world who translated texts from the classical world into Arabic. Much ancient knowledge was preserved and the development of Islamic theology, philosophy, science and medicine was stimulated.
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