Early Islam

There has been civil war around Syria before. In 661AD, the new Umayyad Empire began to extend around the whole southern Mediterranean to Iberia (green on the map below) and in 750 this gave way to the Abbasid Empire (orange map below).

Umayyad750ADloc      th-4

That was when chemistry and physics were developed by Jabir Hayyan (722-804) a Persian alchemist.

220px-Jabir_ibn_Hayyan Jabir Hayyan     al-jahiz-198604-250-400 Al Jahiz

Natural history was also being studied, both along the banks of the Tigris and in the libraries of Baghdad where translations from Aristotle’s Greek texts on animals and plants were available. The main student of these subjects was Al Jahiz (776-869) whose Book of Living Things became available around 847.

th-2    th   Al-Jahiz_-_pages_from_Kitaab_al_Hayawaan_3

th-3   th-1

Jahiz began work in Basra and moved north through the marshlands to Baghdad where he published his literary and scientific work in  parchment volumes. Some of these are now in the British Library, the source of the illustrations that are copied above.

The Ottoman Empire (below) lasted from 1517 to 1875 and was the main link between the Abbasid Empire and the Arab world we know today.  200px-Ottoman_1683

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