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Islamic Heritage

The House of Wisdom
The House of Wisdom
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Details:  The House of Wisdom : How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization,
[A5+] Hardback - 272 pages, [Back into Stock]
With Dust Jacket,
by Jonathan Lyons.

Description :
For centuries following the fall of Rome, Western Europe was backward and benighted, locked into the Dark Ages and barely able to tell the time of day. Augustine had decreed that belief, not reason, should be the guiding light of Christian thinking and partially as a result Europeans lived in a world of nominal literacy and subsistence farming, where blind faith, superstition and sorcery took the place of medicine, and the church harnessed nascent aggression among the kingdoms to its own ends in the pursuit of astonishingly violent and cruel holy wars - the Crusades. 

Arab culture, however, was thriving, and had become a powerhouse of intellectual exploration and discussion that dazzled the likes of Adelard of Bath who ventured to the Near East in search of the scientific riches pouring out of cities like Antioch or Baghdad, whose House of Wisdom held four hundred thousand books at a time when the best European libraries housed, at most, several dozen.

The Arabs could measure the earth’s circumference, a feat not matched in the West for eight hundred years; they discovered algebra; were adept at astronomy and navigation, developed the astrolabe, translated all the Greek scientific and philosophical texts including, importantly, those of Aristotle; they made paper lenses and mirrors. Without them, and the knowledge that travellers like Adelard brought back to the West, Europe would in all likelihood have been a very different place over the last millennium.


In February 2009, Jonathan Lyons published 'The House of Wisdom', a riveting history which reveals the vital role the Islamic civilisation played in knowledge creation and how this treasure reached the West. In this fascinating and thoughtful book, Jonathan Lyons restores credit to the contribution of the Arabs and Muslims in the human long and patient effort of building human civilisation, explores and reveals the extent of their learning and describes the intrepid adventures of the European intellectuals of the high Middle Ages who went in search of it and who, in doing so, laid the foundations of what we now call the Renaissance.---MuslimHeritage.com.

 ‘A wonderful and important book which for the first time presents the Western debt to medieval Arabic learning in a clear, accessible manner. From the azimuth to the zenith, from algebra to the zero, so much of what the West takes for granted came to us from the Arab world . . . A fascinating book’ ---William Dalrymple.

Table of Contents :

---Note to Readers,
---Significant Events,
---Leading Figures,
---Prologue : Al-Maghrib /Sunset.

Part [I] : Al-Isha / Nightfall,
---1. The Warriors of God,
---2. The Earth is Like a Wheel.

Part [II] : Al-Fajr / Dawn,
---3. The House of Wisdom,
---4. Mapping the World.

Part [III] : Al-Zuhr / Midday,
---5. The First Man of Science,
---6. ''What Is Said of the Sphere ...''
---7. ''The Wisest Philosophers of the World''

Part [IV] : Al-Asr / Afternoon,
---8. On the Eternity of the World,
---9. The Invention of the West.

---Selected Bibliography,

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 14 November, 2012.