House of Wisdom

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Put simply what Lyons presents to the reader, is that the West has an obligation to remember and acknowledge that we are indebted to the learning and developments that the Arabs shared with the world. After the fall of Rome, Europe entered a dark period where learning and science were forgotten. Most Europeans were illiterate and eked out their existence on small patches of land. While Europe languished in religious paranoia, and suffered at the hands of church doctrine, the Islamic world was conquering lands from Persia to Spain. Building not only great cities and palaces but also libraries and centers of learning. These centers of study from Italy to Spain to the “House of Wisdom” in Bagdad, was where Muslim scholars were working doggedly advancing the fields of science, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, alchemy, and medicine. (Lyons 156) Not only preserving the great works of Plato and Aristotle and translating them from Latin to Arabic but pushing to advance the frontiers of knowledge presented in those works. Arab inquiry and study was encouraged. They gave us the zero, surgical manuals, water clocks, and harnessed innovations from India, Persia and Iraq. (Lyons 145) The Islamic world’s thirst for knowledge was unparalleled in the world at that time. While Europe slumbered there were Christian scholars who still hungered for knowledge and learning and headed east to learn from the Arabs. Adelard of Bath was one of those scholars who headed East for what he called “studia Arabum.” (Lyons 3) Adelard amassed knowledge on Euclid, the zij al-sindhind star table, and how to use the astrolabe to predict the movement of the stars and predict the time of day. (Lyons 105) Upon his return to England he wrote several books and served as an adviser to King Henry II (Lyons 129) He introduced algebra to the Latin world and his commentaries on Euclid served to introduce demonstrative proofs to European minds. (Lyons 123) He laid to rest the idea that the world was...
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