Posts tagged history

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr 
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.
Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr

In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.

Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

Samarra - Centre of the World101 Years of Archaeological Research on the Tigris
18 January - 26 May 2013  Pergamon Museum
Islamic Archaeology
Marking the 100th anniversary of excavations at the site, the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art) presents an exhibition on the legendary royal city of Samarra, which lay approx. 120 km north of Bagdad on the banks of the Tigris, and which served as the government capital of the powerful Abbasid Caliphate from 836 to 892.
Samarra boasted one of most elaborate city plans in the world at the time. With its gigantic palaces, mosques, walled hunting parks, polo fields, and horse racing courses it stretched to an astonishing length of almost 50 km. Prominent ruins were excavated from 1911 to 1913 by the German archaeologist and Orientalist, Ernst Herzfeld. It was the first scientific excavation expressly dedicated to uncovering a site dating from the Islamic period. 
Today’s exhibition presents a large selection of the finds that made their way to the Berlin museums under the then prevailing antiquities law, by which the found objects were divided up, with half retained by the local country and half removed by the country responsible for financing and conducting the dig. 
Among the objects on display are wall paintings, stucco, and wood panelling, which once adorned the walls of palaces. Also on show are lusterware ceramics, Chinese porcelain, and cut glass: testaments of the city’s innovative artisanship and far-reaching trade links. The exhibition is enriched by a selection of historical excavation photographs taken by Ernst Herzfeld. They amount to important documents of the ruins, but also depict the landscape and everyday life at the dig.
(Photo Credit: Great Mosque of Samarra © Museum of Islamic Art, National Museums in Berlin Photo: Ernst Herzfeld, excavation photo 1911-13) - The Mosque of Samarra was the largest mosque in the world holding up to 100,000 people)

Samarra - Centre of the World
101 Years of Archaeological Research on the Tigris

18 January - 26 May 2013  Pergamon Museum

Islamic Archaeology

Marking the 100th anniversary of excavations at the site, the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art) presents an exhibition on the legendary royal city of Samarra, which lay approx. 120 km north of Bagdad on the banks of the Tigris, and which served as the government capital of the powerful Abbasid Caliphate from 836 to 892.

Samarra boasted one of most elaborate city plans in the world at the time. With its gigantic palaces, mosques, walled hunting parks, polo fields, and horse racing courses it stretched to an astonishing length of almost 50 km. Prominent ruins were excavated from 1911 to 1913 by the German archaeologist and Orientalist, Ernst Herzfeld. It was the first scientific excavation expressly dedicated to uncovering a site dating from the Islamic period.

Today’s exhibition presents a large selection of the finds that made their way to the Berlin museums under the then prevailing antiquities law, by which the found objects were divided up, with half retained by the local country and half removed by the country responsible for financing and conducting the dig.

Among the objects on display are wall paintings, stucco, and wood panelling, which once adorned the walls of palaces. Also on show are lusterware ceramics, Chinese porcelain, and cut glass: testaments of the city’s innovative artisanship and far-reaching trade links. The exhibition is enriched by a selection of historical excavation photographs taken by Ernst Herzfeld. They amount to important documents of the ruins, but also depict the landscape and everyday life at the dig.

(Photo Credit: Great Mosque of Samarra © Museum of Islamic Art, National Museums in Berlin Photo: Ernst Herzfeld, excavation photo 1911-13) - The Mosque of Samarra was the largest mosque in the world holding up to 100,000 people)

The Virtual Museum of Iraq is a scientific and cultural initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and realized by the Italian National Research Council.
The purpose of the project is to provide the public with the opportunity, through a web site, of coming into contact with the archaeological  historical and artistic heritage of one of the most important museum institutions in the world, the National Museum of Iraq, in Baghdad.
The museum, the foundation and development of which is linked to the historical and institutional events of Iraq itself, is home to an extraordinary collection of historical treasures. This collection grew and was extended thanks to the scientific surveys conducted by local and foreign archaeological teams starting in the 1920’s.
In 2003 the Baghdad Museum joined the sad list of world cultural sites destroyed or looted during wartime events. Thanks to the continuing efforts by local authorities and the international community, the activity of re-organization has been carry out and partially completed.

The Virtual Museum of Iraq is a scientific and cultural initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and realized by the Italian National Research Council.

The purpose of the project is to provide the public with the opportunity, through a web site, of coming into contact with the archaeological  historical and artistic heritage of one of the most important museum institutions in the world, the National Museum of Iraq, in Baghdad.

The museum, the foundation and development of which is linked to the historical and institutional events of Iraq itself, is home to an extraordinary collection of historical treasures. This collection grew and was extended thanks to the scientific surveys conducted by local and foreign archaeological teams starting in the 1920’s.

In 2003 the Baghdad Museum joined the sad list of world cultural sites destroyed or looted during wartime events. Thanks to the continuing efforts by local authorities and the international community, the activity of re-organization has been carry out and partially completed.

The premier site on Syria, past and present. Includes priceless historical photos, plus exclusives from Syria’s top experts, artists and bloggers.

The premier site on Syria, past and present. Includes priceless historical photos, plus exclusives from Syria’s top experts, artists and bloggers.