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Science in Islamic Africa

By | 2017-10-14T14:23:56+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Africa, Science|

The walls of Timbuktu, in Mali, West Africa In the 700s AD, the Islamic Empire conquered North Africa and began to trade a lot with East Africa. Islamic government did not allow women to work in science or medicine. But there were a lot of men in North Africa and East Africa, and in the area around Timbuktu, who worked as scientists and [...]

Islamic North Africa – caravans across the Sahara

By | 2017-10-29T16:53:32+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Africa, History|

Kairouan mosque (ca. 800 AD) The Eastern Roman reconquest of North Africa in the 530s AD ended the Vandal kingdom there. But trade declined until the Islamic invasions of North Africa in the 600s AD and the establishment of the Umayyad, and then the Fatimid dynasties. Fatimids Under Islamic rule, North Africa became part of a large trading network [...]

Life in ancient Africa – gender, slavery, food, clothing

By | 2017-10-02T12:29:29+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Africa, People|

Mary and Jesus, from Ethiopia (ca. 1500 AD) (Now in the J. Paul Getty Museum) Ancient African society didn't have the huge differences between rich and poor people that plagued Europe and Asia. North Africa, being part of the Mediterranean community, was an exception. But south of the Sahara even kings and queens were not so much richer [...]

West Asian science – Mesopotamia and Iran

By | 2017-09-15T23:16:03+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

The constellation Orion From the Stone Age through the Islamic empires, great scientific discoveries have streamed out of West Asia. West Asia is one of the places where farming got started, and maybe the sailboat. The Sumerians developed the world's earliest system of writing, including the first way to write down numbers. They invented the wheel, using it as a pottery [...]

Zoroastrianism – Iran – West Asian religion

By | 2017-09-15T21:10:54+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

An Iranian fire sacrifice Around 1000 BC (probably), about the same time that people in India were writing the Rig Veda, a man named Zoroaster (also called Zarathustra) was a priest in a small temple in the eastern part of West Asia, in an area with a lot of small kingdoms and no major power. Zoroaster believed that he heard [...]

West Asian people – families, schools, slavery

By | 2017-09-15T14:13:10+00:00 September 15th, 2017|People, West Asia|

Ur-Nanshe, the king's chief musician in Mari, 2400s BC What we notice most about the way people lived in West Asia is the widespread oppression of women. As compared to their neighbors in Sudan, Egypt, Central Asia, the Roman Empire, or even India, West Asian women were much less likely to become rulers. [...]

Parthian and Sassanid architecture – West Asia

By | 2017-09-11T17:12:38+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Arch of Sapor - Parthians - Ctesiphon, Iraq, probably about 500 AD About 100 BC, those Greek kingdoms also gave way to new conquerors. The Romans took over the West (modern Israel, Syria, Jordan, Armenia, and Turkey). The Parthians took over the East (modern Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan). The Romans built many Roman-style buildings all over their [...]

West Asian religion – Ottoman and Safavid, Sunni and Shiite

By | 2017-09-11T14:33:24+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Islam, Religion, West Asia|

Shah Mosque, Ishfahan, Iran (1611-38) West Asia was divided into two big empires in the 1500s AD - the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire. Both the Ottomans and the Safavids followed Islam, but they followed two different kinds of Islam. The rulers and most of the people of the Ottoman Empire followed Sunni Islam, but in the Safavid Empire most people followed Shiite Islam. [...]

Early medieval world history timeline: 400-800 AD

By | 2017-10-14T14:55:51+00:00 September 10th, 2017|History, Islam, When|

Dome of the Rock mosque, Jerusalem (600s AD) In the Early Middle Ages, many empires around the world collapsed into smaller countries. Thanks partly to the Huns invading, the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed into the smaller countries of the Visigoths, the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, the Avars, and the Merovingians. In England, this is the time of the (legendary) King [...]

Eid al-Adha – Islamic holidays

By | 2017-09-03T17:43:33+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Islam, Religion, West Asia|

Islamic image of Abraham and Ishmael Eid al-Adha is an Islamic holiday. It falls a few months after the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr. These two celebrations are the two most important holidays of the year for Islam, and of the two, Eid al-Adha is the more important one. So Eid al-Adha is [...]