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Republic of Genoa – Medieval Italy

By |2018-05-07T12:11:06+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Medieval drawing of the city of Genoa, Italy (1493) Genoa in the Early Middle Ages Around 900 AD, the Holy Roman Empire began to lose control of Italy, and Genoa was among the Italian cities that got their independence about this time. Genoa became one of the first medieval cities where citizens won some political rights. Genoa's [...]

Medieval food with recipes – European food in the Middle Ages

By |2018-10-06T20:22:59+00:00August 1st, 2017|Food, Medieval|

Medieval food: A man ladles porridge from a large pot over a fire Poor people's food was boring! In the Middle Ages in Europe, what people ate depended a lot on how rich they were. Poor people (which was almost everybody) ate mainly barley, or in some places oats. What's barley like? All about the history of [...]

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 [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:20+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]

Medieval Islamic food

By |2017-07-23T17:01:31+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Food, Islam|

Orange tree Around the Mediterranean, people continued in the Islamic period to rely on the three main foods from antiquity. Those were wheat (mostly bread), olive oil, and wine. Though technically Islam did not let you drink alcohol, still a lot of people did drink wine. People who didn't drink wine started to drink more tea. The Sogdians brought tea to the Islamic [...]

Medieval Islamic economy – The Silk Road

By |2017-07-23T16:24:26+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Economy, Islam|

Turkomen on the Silk Road with camels Just like under Persian or Sassanian rule, the economy of West Asia during the Islamic period depended very heavily on trade. The Silk Road ran right across the Islamic Empire. It reached east from China, to Tajikistan, to Uzbekistan, to Iran, to Iraq and Syria. Then it ran west to Lebanon, to the Byzantine Empire, and across the Mediterranean to Italy. Arab [...]

Where do oranges and lemons come from?

By |2018-04-26T10:08:40+00:00June 22nd, 2017|China, Food|

Oranges and lemons come from earlier fruits; this is a type of citron called Buddha's Hand Wild ancestors of oranges and lemons The first wild ancestors of oranges and lemons probably evolved in Australia and New Guinea. The first people probably began eating them soon after they arrived in Australia, about 30,000 BC. [...]

Food in ancient China – rice and tea

By |2018-05-27T14:21:06+00:00June 6th, 2017|China, Food|

Chinese food Chinese food: rice When you think of Chinese food you think of rice, and rice was the first grain that people farmed in China. There is archaeological evidence of rice farming along the Yang-tse River by about 6000 BC. (Read more about the history of rice) People cooked rice by boiling [...]