Arabian peninsula

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Mercenaries and military history

By | 2018-04-20T08:25:06+00:00 September 20th, 2017|War|

Nubian archers in the Middle Kingdom (from the Nubian museum in Aswan, Egypt). About 2000 BC. Mercenaries (MURR-sinn-air-eez) are paid volunteer soldiers: they are soldiers who are fighting as a job, not in order to save their country or for the glory of God. They only fight if they are paid, or for the [...]

King David and Israel – Bible stories

By | 2017-08-23T23:11:58+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

David uses his sling to throw a stone at Goliath, helped by angels. From the Bristol Psalter, written in the 1000s AD in Constantinople. After they got free from the Philistines, the Jews were independent again for a while. This is the time of the story of Ruth. At this time the Jews did [...]

Geography of the Arabian Peninsula

By | 2018-04-08T11:22:01+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Environment, West Asia|

Map of the Arabian peninsula The Arabian Peninsula is part of West Asia that sticks out to the south. It's only separated from Africa by the narrow Red Sea. The peninsula is very dry and hot and sunny. It hardly ever rains there. But still the Arabian Peninsula has often been one of the richest places on Earth. One [...]

Arabic language and literature

By | 2018-04-08T01:10:49+00:00 July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Sabataean writing Arabic is in the Semitic language group. Semitic languages seems to have gotten started before the beginning of writing, somewhere near modern Syria. They spread from there through Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan down to the Arabian peninsula. Because the Arabian peninsula was more isolated, people there kept speaking an older version of the language. [...]

Mohammed the Prophet – Early Islamic history

By | 2018-04-23T15:29:55+00:00 July 25th, 2017|History|

Mohammed praying at the Ka'aba(in an Ottoman book from 1388 AD) Mohammed was born in the Arab trading and pilgrimage city of Mecca, in the Arabian peninsula, between 570 and 580 AD. His parents were part of a family of traders. They were not among the ruling families of Mecca, but they were certainly not poor either. Mohammed himself however grew up poor, [...]

The Mamluks – Medieval Islamic history

By | 2018-04-18T23:33:47+00:00 July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

Mamluks: A Mamluk inn for merchants in Cairo Mamluks were enslaved soldiers The Mamluks were originally enslaved bodyguards of the Abbasid caliphs of the Islamic Empire (the word "mamluk" just means "slave" in Arabic). Starting around 850 AD, the Abbasid caliphs captured or bought young boys who were not Muslims as slaves. The caliphs brought the boys up to be Sunni Muslim soldiers [...]

Who were the Fatimids? – Medieval Islam

By | 2018-05-07T12:51:59+00:00 July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Egypt, History, Islam|

Fatimids built Bab Zuweila (Cairo, 1092 AD) Overthrowing the Abbasids in Egypt In 908 AD, a new family rose up in Egypt and took control of Egypt from the Abbasids. This family was called the Fatimids, after Mohammed's daughter Fatima, because they claimed to be descended from her. The Fatimids were Shiites The family began as leaders of [...]

Early Arabia – Arabian peninsula

By | 2018-04-23T15:27:01+00:00 July 23rd, 2017|History, Islam|

Ibex hunt from Yemen, 0-300 AD People probably first arrived in the Arabian peninsula about 60,000 BC,, crossing over the Sinai from Egypt or going all around the coast in their small boats. Some went on to Iran and India, but others settled down in the Arabian peninsula. Mostly they gathered seaweed and seafood, and fished from their boats. By about 2500 BC, Arabian traders were selling [...]

History of coffee – Where does coffee come from?

By | 2018-01-30T22:11:58+00:00 June 22nd, 2017|Africa, Food|

Where does coffee come from? Coffee history starts in Africa. Coffee plants grew wild in East Africa. Sometime before 1000 AD, the people who lived in Ethiopia, in East Africa, began to pick the red coffee berries and mash them up. They mixed the berries with fatty meat (like bacon) to make an energy bar like [...]