Date: Mon Jan 27, 2003 6:34 pm
Subject: Links: The Medieval Arab World

Hallo everyone. This week's Links are about Islam, Byzantium, and the
Medieval Arab World. From food to heraldry, costume to culture, history,
illumination, calligraphy, medicine and mathematics, there are links here.
Please feel free to forward this links list wherever it will find an
interested audience, and to use it to update
your own Links list.



Muslim Women in History
(Site Excerpt) Despite the stereotypes, Muslim women have always played a
vital role in the Muslim community, and not only in traditional roles.
Early Muslim women served the community through scholarship, teaching,
nursing, and other important activities.

Growing Up Muslim - Rites of Passage in Medieval Islam
(Site Excerpt) Their concern with childbearing and children is justified by
using Islamic texts. Verses from the Qur'an stating "wealth and children are
the ornaments (decorations) of the life of this world" are repeated to those
postponing parenthood. The Prophet's saying about how "an ugly wife who's
fertile (able to have children) is better than a beautiful one who is barren
(can't have children)" is repeated to men of marrying age. Having children
was especially important for the care of the parents as they grew old.

1000 years of missing Astronomy (Book Review)
(Site Excerpt) `It is a common misconception that astronomical research fell
into a dazed slumber following Ptolemy (the Greek scientist who lived long
before Islam), not to reawaken until the time of Copernicus. I have briefly
sketched in the previous chapter the efforts on the part of various Greeks
in preserving their astronomical science. These efforts continued up to the
time of the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs, who were not the book burning
fanatics that some have made them out to be. Those who think that these
Arabs made no contributions of their own have not investigated the subject.'

The Cairo Genizah: a Medieval Mediterranean deposit and a modern Cambridge Archive
Stefan C. Reif
(Site Excerpt) For almost 2,000 years, it has been customary in Rabbinic
Judaism to set aside a depository (genizah) into which could be consigned
Hebrew texts that had to be removed from circulation. The famous Cairo
Genizah was amassed mainly between the tenth and thirteenth centuries and
sheds light on all aspects of medieval oriental life. Most of its
fragmentary manuscripts are preserved at Cambridge University Library and
they provide unique information about relations between Jews, Muslims and
Christians in the Crusader period. The history of the Cambridge Genizah
collection, since its acquisition over 100 years ago, is almost as
remarkable as its contents.

Muslim Advancements in Alchemy
(Site Excerpt) Firstly, the Muslim alchemists introduced a novel criteria
for distinguishing between substances. They classified the substances into
three categories : spirits, metals and bodies. Though these definitions were
not concrete and adjusted by various alchemists to suit their individual
needs, the importance in the alchemical classification is the fact that
nature was no longer divided by such perceptible qualities as hot,cold, dry
and wet, but by operational qualities like evaporation,fusion, malleability,
and pulverization. In short, physical qualities were now being used, a major

The Mughal Empire
(Site Excerpt) The great grandson of Tamerlane, Babar, who on his mother's
side was descended from the famous Genghiz Khan, came to India in 1526 at
the request of an Indian governor who sought Babar's help in his fight
against Ibrahim Lodi, the last head of the Delhi Sultanate. Babar defeated
Lodi at Panipat, not far from Delhi, and so came to establish the Mughal
Empire in India.

Middle Eastern Heraldry
(Site Excerpt) This is my precis of Ernst Mayer's Saracenic Heraldry.
Heraldry was not used in the Islamic world as it was in Western Europe. It
still existed in a form that makes it compatable with SCA heraldic practice.
In the Islamic world, the use of a device was restricted to those presons
who held the rank of Emir or higher.

Internet Islamic History Sourcebook
(Site Excerpt) This page is a subset of texts derived from the three major
online Sourcebooks listed below (ed. note: see the page for those links),
along with added texts and web site indicators. For more contextual
information, for instance about Western imperialism, or the history of a
given period, check out these web sites.

Muslim Heraldry
(Site Excerpt) The scope of this article is the heraldry the Muslims in the
Middle Ages -- that is to say, it concerns the heraldry of the Ayyubids and
Mamluks in Egypt and Syria from roughly the late 12th Century A.D. through
the very early 16th Century. While it is true that Muslims in other places
and times used proto-heraldic devices, only the Ayyubids (including the
Rasulids and Rasids) and the Mamluks had what we have come to term heraldry.

Traditional Dress: Turkey and the Ottoman Empire
A series of graphics based on Turkish costume.

Levantia: Knitting and Braid from the Byzantine and Arab World
Knitting: Some of the earliest examples of true knitting, that is with two
or more needles, are a group of cotton socks which were found in Cairo and
are dated to the twelfth century. They are held in the Textile Museum in
Washington. See also the cookware section, tableware (pottery), lighting,
architecture, etc...

Cariadoc's Miscellany: A Medieval Islamic Dinner (Copyright (c) by David
Friedman and Elizabeth Cook)
(Site Excerpt) There are a number of recipes for relishes or dips in the
period Islamic cookbooks. The feast started with one of these, Badinjan
Muhassa, served with bread. Unfortunately, I know very little about medieval
Islamic bread other than the fact that it existed, but I assumed that modern
pita bread would be a reasonable guess. Badinjan Muhassa is based on
eggplant, ground and toasted walnut, and raw onion; eggplant is probably the
most common vegetable in medieval Islamic cookbooks. This version of the
recipe is from a 10th century collection; another version is in the
13th-century cookbook of al-Bagdadi.

A Useful Guide to Ingredients used in Arabic Cooking

An anonymous Andalusion Cookbook of the 13th Century---Trans. Charles Perry
The table of Contents with links to recipes. Beware wrapped text and use
copy-paste to get the whole url.

Some Recipes of Al-Andalus (Stephen Block)
(Site Excerpt) [ This article first appeared in Tournaments Illuminated
number 96 (Fall 1990). It has been updated in a few minor areas since. The
author, Stephen Block, is on the net at sbloch@p... . This
version is dated February 12, 1996. ] It is to the glory of God that He who
created us all hath provided us with a rich variety of good things to eat.
But the memory of man is short, and already many of the dishes made of old
are no longer stylish, and people have forgotten them, which is a great ill,
since they are both healthful and pleasant to the taste.

Notes on Islamic Clothing (Copyright (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook)
(Site Excerpt) Persia eventually became (and still is) a predominantly Shia
area. If you have a late Persian persona, you should find it fairly easy to
get information on clothing. Simply find a book containing reproductions of
lots of period Persian art. One particularly good source is the Houghton
Shah-Nama, reproduced by the Metropolitan Museum under the title A King's
Book of Kings.

The Basics of Byzantine Dress
(Site Excerpt) The Basics of Byzantine
c. 1000 A.D.By Dawn Vukson-Van Beek The essential articles of Byzantine
dress are simple and easy to construct. The primary article of dress was
called a tunica. The tunica served as the basic undergarment of both men
and women, or the only garment for the working class and poor. The main
over-garment worn both by men and women is called the dalmatica. This
garment began a t-tunic, but became more tailored in eighth century.

Horace Mann's Webpage on: Muslim Clothing, Jewelry, Make-up
(Site Excerpt) Clothing for Muslim men and women vary with the culture they
are from. There is no one style of clothing today, nor was there in the
Middle Ages. Today some women wear veils, others do not. Traditional
costumes may be very different from modern clothing. Look at some of these
images to make some generalizations about clothing of the Middle Ages in the
Islamic Empires.

Maghribi Women's Costume
From al-Andalus to Ifriqya
that is, from Spain to Tunisia
(Site Excerpt) There are few, if any, actual Maghribi garments remaining
from the 7th through 16th centuries, the 1,000 year period covered by the
SCA. We must compare images from art, written descriptions, and garments
from the recent past which have survived to try to reconstruct what a
"typical" Maghribi woman would have worn.

Near and Middle Eastern Costume Bibliography
(Site Excerpt) This is not an extensive bibliography, nor are they all
entirely "SCA period" - that is, many of these books cover recent costume,
from the 19th and 20th centuries. But it's just where I'm starting, and may
help to give you a start.

Palace attire and garments: The costumes of the Sultans
A series of photos of extant garments.

Medieval Islam
(Site Excerpt) From its dramatic rise in the seventh century A. D. to the
present, Islamic civilization has covered a large part of the globe,
incorporating many subcultures and languages into its orbit, and vigorously
engaging the peoples around it.

Medieval Gallery: Islamic Writing
A sample Islamic text with illumination.

Bobliography of Mathematics in Medieval Islamic Civilization
(Site Excerpt) This bibliography is a revised, enlarged and updated version
of the bibliography on Islamic mathematics by Richard Lorch on pp. 65-86 of
Joseph W. Dauben's The History of Mathematics from Antiquity to the Present:
A Selective Bibliography, New York and London: Garland, 1985.

Islamic Art--Early Medieval Art
(Site Excerpt) The wealth and material prosperity enjoyed by Fatimid Egypt
and Syria during this period are reflected in the opulence of the art. The
Fatimids evidently had a taste for meticulously fabricated goldwork and
intricately carved vessels of rock crystal, a type of transparent, colorless
quartz whose surface can be brilliantly burnished. One such rock crystal
vessel in the museum's collection is decorated with abstract vegetal
ornament that harks back to the Abbasid period; its diminutive scale is
remarkable given the complexities of carving and polishing this hard stone.

The Medieval Islamic World through the eyes of two travellers (Requires
Adobe Acrobat)
(Site Excerpt) The cultures of Islamic regions drew many travellers during
the Middle Ages, such as Benjamin of Tudela and Ibn Battuta, for a variety
of reasons. Scholars travelled long distances to participate in "the shining
prestige of the great centers of the Middle East, notably Cairo and
Damascus," which contained the most substantial intellectual resources.

The Art of Arabic Calligraphy
Four styles are represented with samples.

Islamic Arts and Architecture Association
Site contains a down-loadable font of arabic characters for use on PC. Also
includes alist of world-wide museums with islamic art displays.

Arabic Calligraphy
Click on one of the countries listed above the text to see historic examples
of Arabic Calligraphy. For Instance: "Bukhara and Meshed, 16th century,
Album page, Ink, gouache and gold on paper, Five fragments mounted on
cardboard." Thumbnails can be clicked for a larger image. Examples from 879
onwards and a variety of media (wood, marble, and parchment including
colored paper and gold ink from 10th century).

Playing a Middle Eastern Percussion Instrument
(Site Excerpt) Historically the most common percussion instrument of the
Middle East is probably the "Tar". A Tar is a frame drum similar to the
Bodhran or many Native American drums. These frame drums are easy to make,
and transport -- which is important if you are a nomad. A version of this
drum with cymbals is called a Riq. The Riq (what we often call a tambourine)
at many points in history was the "glory" instrument - more prestigious than
any other percussion instrument in the band. In the modern day, the goblet
shaped hand drum often called a Dumbek or Darabuka (sometimes "tabla") has
become the drum of choice among many Middle Eastern percussionists.

Drum Speak: Middle Eastern Drumming
(Site Excerpt) Doumbek sounds
Doum - Deep center sound, tonal and with some sustain
tek - High rim sound, Lead hand, ringy, exhibits the characteristic tones of
the shell of the drum.
ka - High inner sound, off hand ( traditionally left ), this is a sound made
by the skin just inside the rim higher than doum and without the sound of
the drum shell that the tek has.
ba - Simmilar to ka but with the lead hand

"The Original Arab, The Bedouin" by Philip K. Hitti
(Site Excerpt) The Bedouin is no gypsy roaming aimlessly for the sake of
roaming. He represents the best adaptation of human life to desert
conditions. Wherever grass grows, there he goes seeking pasture. Nomadism is
as much a scientific mode of living in the Nufud as industrialism is in
Detroit or Manchester.

Ancient Accounts of Arabia
(Site Excerpt) Herodotus: The Histories, Book III, c. 430 BCE: The Arabs
keep such pledges more religiously than almost any other people. They plight
faith with the forms following. When two men would swear a friendship, they
stand on each side of a third: he with a sharp stone makes a cut on the
inside of the hand of each near the middle finger, and, taking a piece from
their dress, dips it in the blood of each, and moistens therewith seven
stones lying in the midst, calling the while on Bacchus and Urania.

Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fifth Century
(Site Excerpt) Christianity presented the Arabs with new human types unknown
to them from their pagan and Peninsular life -- the priest, the bishop, the
martyr, the saint, and the monk -- and the Arab community in Oriens, both
Rhomaic and federate, counted all of them among its members.

Tales of the Caliphs
(Site Excerpt) Among the early chronicles of the Arabs, by far the most
celebrated is the many-volumed work of Masoudi, called the "Book of Golden
Meadows." It is a collection of interesting and sometimes scandalous
anecdotes about anything and everything in the past, but chiefly about the
earlier caliphs.

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Islamic Art
(Site Excerpt) The Metropolitan Museum's collection of Islamic art, which
ranges in date from the seventh to the nineteenth century, reflects the
great diversity and range of Islamic culture and offers perhaps the most
comprehensive permanent installation of Islamic art on view anywhere. Nearly
12,000 objects created in the cultural tradition of the world's youngest
monotheistic religion (Islam, founded in A.D. 622, means "submission to
God") have been assembled at the Metropolitan from as far westward as Spain
and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India.

Medieval Islamic Art (Thumbnail photos of architecture)

Islamic Culture and the Medical Arts: Art as a Profession
(Site Excerpt) It has been estimated that in Baghdad in 931 (319 H) there
was a ratio of about one physician per 300 inhabitants. Doubtless there were
areas, particularly rural ones, where there was no formally trained
physician at all, for there were many self-help guides to basic medical care
intended for use in traveling and when no physician was available.

Historic Events in the Islamic World
This site has a menu of important Islamic events. See the scrolling menu to
read an article on each event.

Internet Islam History Source Book
(Site Excerpt) This page is a subset of texts derived from the three major
online Sourcebooks listed below, along with added texts and web site
indicators. For more contextual information, for instance about Western
imperialism, or the history of a given period, check out these web sites.

Basic Reference Tools in Islamic Art & Architecture
(Site Excerpt) This guide presents a selection of the most useful reference
tools for the study of the art and architecture of the Islamic world. All
entries include Harvard library call numbers and/or links to on-line
resources; most are annotated. For specialized reference assistance, please
contact the appropriate subject specialists in Islamic and Middle Eastern
studies in the Harvard libraries.

Earthly Art - Heavenly Beauty. The Art of Islam
(Site Excerpt) The exhibition located in the Nicholas Hall of the Winter
Palace represents nearly 350 works of art from different parts of Islamic
world - from Spain to the Northern India - enveloping thirteen centuries -
from the 7th to 19th centuries. The State Hermitage Museum possesses one of
the world richest collections of Moslem Oriental art ....

Silver and Gold Jewellry from the Arabic/Islamic World
(Site Excerpt) There is a small gold collection that dates from the pre and
early Islamic period thru' to nineteenth century Indian jewellery of the
Hindus and Moslems.One outstanding piece is a gold Islamic necklace from
Oman with Quranic inscriptions engraved on it .Another neckpiece is a
beautiful example of Yemeni work of silver and coral and gold-washed silver.

by William Dreghorn , B.Sc., Ph. D. (Lond.)
(Site Excerpt) Inside the Venetian castle can be seen the remains of the
Crusader castle which belongs to the Middle Ages period in history. It was
in use between 1200 AD. and 1479 AD. and in those days attacks were made
with bows and arrows, swords, spears and various stone-throwing machines.
Hence, to recognise a mediaeval castle, one looks for embattlements,
loopholes for arrow slits and usually the square type of tower. Some watch
towers were of the horseshoe pattern and the north east tower is a good