Week 5- The Old World Data-Base 9 October, 2012
The Crusades as an Episode in Premodern Globalisation
Christendom lost the war. Muslim states were powerful, better organized. Byzantium never recovered.
But the old world got connected: new states formed, the door opened to new ideas, goods, and
techniques from Africa to China, thanks to the Islamicate NEXUS and the Mongol invasions (1230s-
Why did the Renaissance begin in Italy and not in Norway?
-central location -surrounded by Muslim states, North Africa, Middle East
-trade routes -Arabic was one of the key languages
-close to Africa, etc.
During crusades made money ferrying crusaders across the Mediterranean
Africans exported iron, gold, human beings
Imported salt and textiles across the Sahara
African coastal cities and regions connected with Middle East, China, and Europe
The Islamic(ate) Bridge (in culture, space, time)
-what made this bridge possible was a high degree of tolerance for non-Muslims. This included freedom
to practice their religion; respect for property and life; freedom to settle in most of the Muslim-ruled
-remember “tolerance” must be judged in its historical setting and not according to contemporary
Arabic became a lingua franca of commerce, law, culture, and science
Exporting a lifestyle (games, style of dress, etc.)
Scientific knowledge passed from the Hellenistic to the Muslim world, and then to the West
Wisdom from the East
Indian (Arabic) numbers
Scientific terms: nadir, azmuth, alchemy
Mathematics: algorithm (al-Khwarizmi) Algebra (al-Jabr)
Medicine: encyclopedias of world knowledge; establishment of the first public hospitals
Astronomy: modern, observational science (vs. philosophical, mathematical of the Greeks)
Technologies of travel, entertainment and war: gunpowder, the compass, the astrolabe.
-Muslims built on the knowledge of India, Greece, Egypt and Persia. Rulers supported “Big Science”
-Muslim scientists advanced engineering, architecture, medicine
In 13 c. Iran the Mongol ruler built and Observatory- the first global research institute with