Technology of Arabian and Islamic Civilizations

From the Sabaeans through the Islamic Golden Age

A great deal has been written on the mechanical engineering of Medieval Islamic civilizations and the high level of culture achieved which went on to become a fixed star of aspiration for the Latin West. Water and wind devices allowed for ancient refinements in irrigation, crop cultivation, power sources for mills and the water required for not only a healthy personal hygiene but also, with Islam broadly established after the seventh century in the Arabian Peninsula and increasingly into the Eastern Roman Empire’s shrinking borders, the ritual ablution necessary before the daily regimen of prayers. However, the history of these devices and goes back true ages before the Medieval Period to the earliest and most advanced civilization on the Arabian Peninsula, that of the Sabaeans, before subsequent developments under the Himyarite kings of Roman-Era antiquity brought it to a state of development, a “cultural packet” we might call it from an anthropological point of view, that was then passed on to the Abbasid Caliphate, where we see mechanical technology undergo a Renaissance in the presciently scientific writings of Medieval Arab and Persian thinkers. This lecture is going to chart that course through history with a look at the devices and systems which supported a true Golden Age in the Arabian and Islamic civilizations centered on the Arabian Peninsula which would eventually encompass much of the Eastern Roman Empire from North Africa to Mesopotamia and beyond.

What you’ll learn

  • Students will encounter the varied mechanical technology of Arabian and Islamic civilizations from antiquity through the Medieval era..
  • Arabian and Islamic technology included sophisticated water-management engineering, hydraulic automata, mechanical musical devices, the first robots, and more!.
  • Students will appreciate the intersection of art, technology, craftsmanship, and engineering in this unique course..
  • A comprehensive vocabulary slide is included at the end of the course..

Course Content

  • Technology of Pre-Islamic Arabian Civilizations –> 2 lectures • 21min.
  • Technology after the Advent of Islam –> 3 lectures • 46min.

Technology of Arabian and Islamic Civilizations

Requirements

  • Curiosity and interest are the only prerequisites for this special topics course on ancient and Medieval art and technology..

A great deal has been written on the mechanical engineering of Medieval Islamic civilizations and the high level of culture achieved which went on to become a fixed star of aspiration for the Latin West. Water and wind devices allowed for ancient refinements in irrigation, crop cultivation, power sources for mills and the water required for not only a healthy personal hygiene but also, with Islam broadly established after the seventh century in the Arabian Peninsula and increasingly into the Eastern Roman Empire’s shrinking borders, the ritual ablution necessary before the daily regimen of prayers. However, the history of these devices and goes back true ages before the Medieval Period to the earliest and most advanced civilization on the Arabian Peninsula, that of the Sabaeans, before subsequent developments under the Himyarite kings of Roman-Era antiquity brought it to a state of development, a “cultural packet” we might call it from an anthropological point of view, that was then passed on to the Abbasid Caliphate, where we see mechanical technology undergo a Renaissance in the presciently scientific writings of Medieval Arab and Persian thinkers. This lecture is going to chart that course through history with a look at the devices and systems which supported a true Golden Age in the Arabian and Islamic civilizations centered on the Arabian Peninsula which would eventually encompass much of the Eastern Roman Empire from North Africa to Mesopotamia and beyond.

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