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Second Crusade – Medieval history

By |2018-04-12T00:08:07+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval, West Asia|

Castle of Edessa After the First Crusade in 1096 AD set up Christian kingdoms all along the coast of Israel and Lebanon, of course the Fatimid caliphs who had ruled that area before were very upset. Melisende and her son Baldwin By 1144, a Mamluk general, Imad-ed-din Zangi, had managed to unite enough Turks and Arabs in his army to attack [...]

Medieval Islamic medicine – the first hospitals and quarantines

By |2018-04-18T18:18:05+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Islamic medicine: From an Ottoman manuscript, two doctors telling the pharmacist how to make different medicines Writing medical encyclopedias Doctors made big scientific advances in medicine during the Islamic empire. Islamic doctors began by collecting all the medical observations and logic of the past. They translated the work of Hippocrates and his followers, and Galen, into Arabic. About 750 [...]

al Nafis – Discoveries of Islamic scientists

By |2017-07-27T08:02:08+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Illustration in Ibn al Nafis Ibn al Nafis was born in Syria in the early 1200s AD, just as the power of the Seljuks was collapsing. He studied medicine in Damascus (in Syria) at first, but then moved to Cairo, in Mamluk Egypt, to work with the best doctors of his time (and maybe to escape the Mongol [...]

Saladin and the Ayyubid Dynasty

By |2018-04-19T13:51:11+00:00July 23rd, 2017|History, Islam|

Saladin When the First Crusade defeated the Fatimid Caliphs and captured Jerusalem in 1099 AD, people were very upset. People in Egypt and Syria gradually decided that the Fatimids were too weak to rule anymore. One of their generals, Saladin (Salah ad-Din ibn Ayyub in Arabic), took over control from the Fatimids. He founded the Ayyubid dynasty (ai-YOU-bid). Citadel [...]

The Abbasids – Medieval Islamic history

By |2018-04-18T23:33:46+00:00July 23rd, 2017|History, Islam|

Minaret at Samarra, 847 AD In 750 AD, the Abbasid caliphs murdered all of the surviving Umayyad men but one. They took over ruling the Islamic Empire. The Abbasids were less interested in the Mediterranean coast than the Umayyads had been. So the Abbasids concentrated more on the plains of Iraq and Iran, and less on the coast: Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, [...]

Medieval Islamic art history

By |2017-07-23T15:13:04+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Art, Islam|

Mosaic from the Great Mosque in Damascus (about 710 AD) As soon as the Islamic Empire formed, under the Umayyad dynasty, artists began exploring the new ideas of Islam and what they meant for art. The first big difference between Roman art and Islamic art was that the followers of Islam, like the Jews, took seriously the commandment that you should not [...]

Umayyad architecture – Islam

By |2017-07-23T08:21:29+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, West Asia|

Dome of the Rock mosque, Jerusalem People didn't build a lot of new buildings during the Umayyad period. They were busy getting organized after the Islamic conquests, and the Umayyad dynasty didn't rule very long. But what they did build was new and exciting. The Umayyads, who were conquering everything, had pots of money to [...]

Islamic architecture – History of architecture

By |2017-07-22T07:15:27+00:00July 22nd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, West Asia|

Kairouan (about 800 AD) Greek architects designed the first buildings in the new Islamic Empire. They had already been living in the area when the Arabs conquered it. Because Greek architects designed them, these buildings look a lot like earlier buildings in West Asia - Late Roman Empire buildings like Hagia Sophia. But now they were building [...]