Skip to comments.How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs
Posted on 03/17/2013 3:32:53 AM PDT by ABrit
"...Greek scientific thought had been in the world for a long time before it reached the Arabs, and during that period it had already spread abroad in various directions. So it is not surprising that it reached the Arabs by more than one route. It came first and in the plainest line through Christian Syriac writers, scholars, and scientists. Then the Arabs applied themselves directly to the original Greek sources and learned over again all they had already learned, correcting and verifying their earlier knowledge. Then there came a second channel of transmission indirectly through India, mathematical and astronomical work, all a good deal developed by Indian scholars, but certainly developed from material obtained from Alexandria in the first place. This material had passed to India by the sea route which connected Alexandria with north-west India. Then there was also another line of passage through India which seems to have had its beginning in the Greek kingdom of Bactria, one of the Asiatic states founded by Alexander the Great, and a land route long kept open between the Greek world and Central Asia, especially with the city of Marw, and this perhaps connects with a Buddhist medium which at one time promoted intercourse between east and west. Further, there were some scattered minor sources, unfortunately little known, such as the city of Harran, an obstinately pagan Greek colony planted in the middle of a Christian area, which probably made its contribution, though on a smaller scale.
At first the city of Baghdad was the distributing centre where Greek material was brought together from different parts, Syria, Bactria, India, Persia, and other, and from Baghdad this material spread out in an Arabic form to all those social groups which were held together by the religion of Islam.
(Excerpt) Read more at aina.org ...
Mohammed recognized philosophy and science as a threat to his mission.
The article you posted says “It may be stated that algebra and both plane and spherical trigonometry were Arab developments.”
The article is wrong though, it was a Persian not Arab with the algebra advances — Al-Khwarzimi...
His contributions were major to the field.
It didn’t “pass” to the arabs. The arabs picked the few things their brains were capable of understanding, and that they could use for murder.
One must also take note, that Arabs that used what minimal books available - transcribed those over to Arabs - took credit - and destroyed the originals. Even if Arabs did add on the established sciences and mathematics - they did so due to non-Arab’s before them - or the slaves they took that taught and instructed their new masters in such endeavors.
It’s amazing that the Arab Enlightenment ended after the conquered slaves all died out and those Arabs that were educated by Greeks and others - soon died - the Moslem Enlightenment was over! Says alot about how Moslems poison anything good! These are historical facts known ...I learned about it in 6th Grade History - before the socialists came out with re-written versions in 90’s and present day...
Don’t forget the huge contributions of Assyrian scientists and philosophers to “Muslim science”.
Trigonometry dates way, way, way back to Egypt and Babylon ~ circa 2000 BC. That is not intuitively obvious to the students though ~ they imagine it derived from geometry. Actually, it’s the other way around. Spherical trigonometry comes later.
You did know that, right?
Linguistically Arabic isn't terribly different from several cognate languages in the Middle East, e.g. Hebrew, Egyptian, Aramaic (Jesus language), and the various Phoenician dialects ~ where we derive our Alphabet!
Culturally, the Middle Eastern milieu is fairly uniform and encompasses everything South of the Mediterranean to the Great Desert, and everything East to the Indus valley ~ and Arabs are just part of that culture. In modern times the area is dominated by Islam. In ancient times people adhered to a great number of religions ~ frequently religions that didn't reach beyond the local town stockade. At the moment Arabic speaking areas are carved up into a number of smaller countries. Earlier, they were part of the Ottoman Empire (owned and operated by the Turks for the benefit of the Turks ~ who are not Arabs). Before that they were carved up into a number of smaller countries or were part of various empires.
Now, the Persians ~ they're a bit different from the Arabs in that they speak an Indo-European language. At the same time their ancestors were obviously the same as the Arab's ancestors ~ same DNA markers, et al.
ignorance is power
iow ignorance of the people is power to the politician.
“The Arab Enlightenment was put to an end circa 1000 AD in the early stages of what became known as the Mongol Invasions. They spent the next 900 years living on a Turkish tax farm. You did know that, right?”
How could BCW know that when it isn’t true? The Mongols became a problem for Arab Muslims only well after 1200. You’re off by more than 200 years. What ended the “Arab Enightenment” was what the Arab Muslims did to themselves.
“But the caliphs who followed al-Mamun upheld the doctrine with less fervor, and within a few decades, adherence to it became a punishable offense. The backlash against Mutazilism was tremendously successful: by 885, a half century after al-Mamuns death, it even became a crime to copy books of philosophy. The beginning of the de-Hellenization of Arabic high culture was underway. By the twelfth or thirteenth century, the influence of Mutazilism was nearly completely marginalized.”
See that? 885!
“The greatest and most influential voice of the Asharites was the medieval theologian Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (also known as Algazel; died 1111). In his book The Incoherence of the Philosophers, al-Ghazali vigorously attacked philosophy and philosophers both the Greek philosophers themselves and their followers in the Muslim world (such as al-Farabi and Avicenna).”
See that? Before 1111. That’s more than a century before the Mongols showed up.
Muawiyah, this is the book you need to read: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933859911?ie=UTF8&tag=the-new-atlantis-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1933859911
That's right. Islamic civilization went into decline after their expansion was halted, and the supply of loot and slaves was curtailed. They didn't recover until a new source of unearned wealth came along: oil.
By the time the core Mongol group in Mongolia and the Chinese periphery had achieved technological parity with China, these fellows had already driven Central Asian people and culture into wave after wave of settlers who moved boldly into Europe and the Middle East. Finally the Mongols themselves came on the heels of these people and really raised some cain ~ among other things they re-established the Silk Road.
People who spoke Turkish languages were already on the scene, and took over about 1060.
The Islamic Caliphate was turned into a tax farm for the benefit of the Turks in short order.
Neither Persian nor Kurdish nor Arabic are FInno Ugric, or Altaic languages. Turkish languages are, to one degree or the other, both ~ with related and cognate Turkish languages spoken from Estonia/Finland/Hungary all the way to Japan. The guys who brought those languages to those areas were not peaceful agrarian reformers.
The loss of the Umayyads to the Iberian peninsula contributed greatly to the initial decline of the Arabs
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
What Arab Civilization?
This letter was sent to Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett Packard Corporation, in response to a speech given by her on September 26, 2001.
November 7, 2001
3000 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1185
Dear Madame Fiorina:
It is with great interest that I read your speech delivered on September 26, 2001, titled “Technology, Business and Our way of Life: What’s Next” [sic]. I was particularly interested in the story you told at the end of your speech, about the Arab/Muslim civilization. As an Assyrian, a non-Arab, Christian native of the Middle East, whose ancestors reach back to 5000 B.C., I wish to clarify some points you made in this little story, and to alert you to the dangers of unwittingly being drawn into the Arabist/Islamist ideology, which seeks to assimilate all cultures and religions into the Arab/Islamic fold.
I know you are a very busy woman, but please find ten minutes to read what follows, as it is a perspective that you will not likely get from anywhere else. I will answer some of the specific points you made in your speech, then conclude with a brief perspective on this Arabist/Islamist ideology.
Arabs and Muslims appeared on the world scene in 630 A.D., when the armies of Muhammad began their conquest of the Middle East. We should be very clear that this was a military conquest, not a missionary enterprise, and through the use of force, authorized by a declaration of a Jihad against infidels, Arabs/Muslims were able to forcibly convert and assimilate non-Arabs and non-Mulsims into their fold. Very few indigenous communities of the Middle East survived this — primarily Assyrians, Jews, Armenians and Coptics (of Egypt).
Having conquered the Middle East, Arabs placed these communities under a Dhimmi (see the book Dhimmi, by Bat Ye’Or) system of governance, where the communities were allowed to rule themselves as religious minorities (Christians, Jews and Zoroastrian). These communities had to pay a tax (called a Jizzya in Arabic) that was, in effect, a penalty for being non-Muslim, and that was typically 80% in times of tolerance and up to 150% in times of oppression. This tax forced many of these communities to convert to Islam, as it was designed to do.
You state, “its architects designed buildings that defied gravity.” I am not sure what you are referring to, but if you are referring to domes and arches, the fundamental architectural breakthrough of using a parabolic shape instead of a spherical shape for these structures was made by the Assyrians more than 1300 years earlier, as evidenced by their archaeological record.
You state, “its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption.” The fundamental basis of modern mathematics had been laid down not hundreds but thousands of years before by Assyrians and Babylonians, who already knew of the concept of zero, of the Pythagorean Theorem, and of many, many other developments expropriated by Arabs/Muslims (see History of Babylonian Mathematics, Neugebauer).
You state, “its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease.” The overwhelming majority of these doctors (99%) were Assyrians. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries Assyrians began a systematic translation of the Greek body of knowledge into Assyrian. At first they concentrated on the religious works but then quickly moved to science, philosophy and medicine. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, and many others were translated into Assyrian, and from Assyrian into Arabic. It is these Arabic translations which the Moors brought with them into Spain, and which the Spaniards translated into Latin and spread throughout Europe, thus igniting the European Renaissance.
By the sixth century A.D., Assyrians had begun exporting back to Byzantia their own works on science, philosophy and medicine. In the field of medicine, the Bakhteesho Assyrian family produced nine generations of physicians, and founded the great medical school at Gundeshapur (Iran). Also in the area of medicine, (the Assyrian) Hunayn ibn-Ishaq’s textbook on ophthalmology, written in 950 A.D., remained the authoritative source on the subject until 1800 A.D.
In the area of philosophy, the Assyrian philosopher Job of Edessa developed a physical theory of the universe, in the Assyrian language, that rivaled Aristotle’s theory, and that sought to replace matter with forces (a theory that anticipated some ideas in quantum mechanics, such as the spontaneous creation and destruction of matter that occurs in the quantum vacuum).
One of the greatest Assyrian achievements of the fourth century was the founding of the first university in the world, the School of Nisibis, which had three departments, theology, philosophy and medicine, and which became a magnet and center of intellectual development in the Middle East. The statutes of the School of Nisibis, which have been preserved, later became the model upon which the first Italian university was based (see The Statutes of the School of Nisibis, by Arthur Voobus).
When Arabs and Islam swept through the Middle East in 630 A.D., they encountered 600 years of Assyrian Christian civilization, with a rich heritage, a highly developed culture, and advanced learning institutions. It is this civilization that became the foundation of the Arab civilization.
You state, “Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.” This is a bit melodramatic. In fact, the astronomers you refer to were not Arabs but Chaldeans and Babylonians (of present day south-Iraq), who for millennia were known as astronomers and astrologers, and who were forcibly Arabized and Islamized — so rapidly that by 750 A.D. they had disappeared completely.
You state, “its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.” There is very little literature in the Arabic language that comes from this period you are referring to (the Koran is the only significant piece of literature), whereas the literary output of the Assyrians and Jews was vast. The third largest corpus of Christian writing, after Latin and Greek, is by the Assyrians in the Assyrian language (also called Syriac; see here.)
You state, “when other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.” This is a very important issue you raise, and it goes to the heart of the matter of what Arab/Islamic civilization represents. I reviewed a book titled How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs, in which the author lists the significant translators and interpreters of Greek science. Of the 22 scholars listed, 20 were Assyrians, 1 was Persian and 1 an Arab. I state at the end of my review: “The salient conclusion which can be drawn from O’Leary’s book is that Assyrians played a significant role in the shaping of the Islamic world via the Greek corpus of knowledge. If this is so, one must then ask the question, what happened to the Christian communities which made them lose this great intellectual enterprise which they had established. One can ask this same question of the Arabs. Sadly, O’Leary’s book does not answer this question, and we must look elsewhere for the answer.” I did not answer this question I posed in the review because it was not the place to answer it, but the answer is very clear, the Christian Assyrian community was drained of its population through forced conversion to Islam (by the Jizzya), and once the community had dwindled below a critical threshold, it ceased producing the scholars that were the intellectual driving force of the Islamic civilization, and that is when the so called “Golden Age of Islam” came to an end (about 850 A.D.).
Islam the religion itself was significantly molded by Assyrians and Jews (see Nestorian Influence on Islam and Hagarism: the Making of the Islamic World).
Arab/Islamic civilization is not a progressive force, it is a regressive force; it does not give impetus, it retards. The great civilization you describe was not an Arab/Muslim accomplishment, it was an Assyrian accomplishment that Arabs expropriated and subsequently lost when they drained, through the forced conversion of Assyrians to Islam, the source of the intellectual vitality that propelled it. What other Arab/Muslim civilization has risen since? What other Arab/Muslim successes can we cite?
You state, “and perhaps we can learn a lesson from his [Suleiman] example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.” In fact, the Ottomans were extremely oppressive to non-Muslims. For example, young Christian boys were forcefully taken from their families, usually at the age of 8-10, and inducted into the Janissaries, (yeniceri in Turkish) where they were Islamized and made to fight for the Ottoman state. What literary, artistic or scientific achievements of the Ottomans can we point to? We can, on the other hand, point to the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians and 400,000 Greeks in World War One by the Kemalist “Young Turk” government. This is the true face of Islam.
Arabs/Muslims are engaged in an explicit campaign of destruction and expropriation of cultures and communities, identities and ideas. Wherever Arab/Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab/Muslim one, it attempts to destroy it (as the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan were destroyed, as Persepolis was destroyed by the Ayotollah Khomeini). This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago, and is amply substantiated by the historical record. If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is and was Arab, as is the case of most of the Arab “accomplishments” you cited in your speech. For example, Arab history texts in the Middle East teach that Assyrians were Arabs, a fact that no reputable scholar would assert, and that no living Assyrian would accept. Assyrians first settled Nineveh, one of the major Assyrian cities, in 5000 B.C., which is 5630 years before Arabs came into that area. Even the word ‘Arab’ is an Assyrian word, meaning “Westerner” (the first written reference to Arabs was by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, 800 B.C., in which he tells of conquering the “ma’rabayeh” — Westerners. See The Might That Was Assyria, by H. W. F. Saggs).
Even in America this Arabization policy continues. On October 27th a coalition of seven Assyrian and Maronite organizations sent an official letter to the Arab American Institute asking it to stop identifying Assyrians and Maronites as Arabs, which it had been deliberately doing.
There are minorities and nations struggling for survival in the Arab/Muslim ocean of the Middle East and Africa (Assyrians, Armenians, Coptics, Jews, southern Sudanese, Ethiopians, Nigerians...), and we must be very sensitive not to unwittingly and inadvertently support Islamic fascism and Arab Imperialism, with their attempts to wipe out all other cultures, religions and civilizations. It is incumbent upon each one of us to do our homework and research when making statements and speeches about these sensitive matters.
I hope you found this information enlightening. For more information, refer to the web links below. You may contact me at email@example.com for further questions.
Thank you for your consideration.
At the point and edge of a sword, I figure. It’s reasonable to suspect, from recent history, if the Arabs have something they stole it from someone else.
“You must have never asked yourself why the Magyars began leaving the areas they’d lived in East of the Urals, for the West.”
Actually I did ask that question - in graduate school when I was finishing a field in the history of China (actually it was a field dedicated to the study of nomads, but the professor was kind enough to call it Chinese history so it would be approved by my university). And you know what the answer was? NOT the Mongols of the 13th century.
“They start showing up between the 4th to the 8th century AD. At the beginning of the 9th century folks in Europe were beginning to be aware vaguely of stirrings beyond the Urals, and then in the 11th century everybody in the middle east learned about the Seljuks.
By the time the core Mongol group in Mongolia and the Chinese periphery had achieved technological parity with China, these fellows had already driven Central Asian people and culture into wave after wave of settlers who moved boldly into Europe and the Middle East. Finally the Mongols themselves came on the heels of these people and really raised some cain ~ among other things they re-established the Silk Road.”
Blah, blah, blah. There was still no change wrought in Arab civilization due to the Mongols before 1200. Just deal with it.
“People who spoke Turkish languages were already on the scene, and took over about 1060.”
Still not Mongols after 1200.
“The Islamic Caliphate was turned into a tax farm for the benefit of the Turks in short order.”
Still not Mongols after 1200.
“Neither Persian nor Kurdish nor Arabic are FInno Ugric, or Altaic languages. Turkish languages are, to one degree or the other, both ~ with related and cognate Turkish languages spoken from Estonia/Finland/Hungary all the way to Japan. The guys who brought those languages to those areas were not peaceful agrarian reformers.”
You’re still failing misserably to substantiate your claim about Mongols before the year 1200.
“The loss of the Umayyads to the Iberian peninsula contributed greatly to the initial decline of the Arabs”
What I posted was accurate. What you posted was not. No number of posts on your part will change that.
Back there in highschool when you didn't past the first cut on the football team you saw the words that are relevant over your coach's doorway ~ when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
The Arabs climbed out of the 535 event and its aftermath first, then other's followed. Europeans came in dead last.
From the Gates of Vienna is a well researched video that makes the points that the downfall of classical civilization didn’t happen because of Goths or the Germans but rather the Moslems circa 640 AD.
Dr. Bill Warner is the founder of the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI). The video below records a talk he gave recently about the real history of Islam, and why there is such a powerful tendency towards collective amnesia about it in the West.
His account of the destruction of classical civilization by the Great Jihad is a superb follow-up to Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited by Emmet Scott, which was examined at length here last month.
This is possibly the best concise exposition of the history of Islamic violence that I have ever heard:
It took the Western Europeans about 900 years to recover. The Iberian and Italian peninsulas recovered faster than the North, but even then conditons deteriorated to such a degree that a bunch of mud islands in a tidal marsh on the Adriatic became an important city ~ for the times ~ we call it Venice.
The Byzantines produced no works of art for 60 years ~ the climate was better there ~ and the folks in Damascus actually didn't have much to say about the weather during most of that period.
Still, by the time the Meccan Arabs were on the move the Byzantines hadn't paid their armies in 100 years!
China shut down for 300 years. Central Asia shut down until 1300 give or take a few years waiting on the Mongol Empire to rise and reopen it.
Much of history after 535 can be dealt with readily with a model that takes a look at which societies recovered first ~ economically ~ and what they did with their advantage over their neighbors. For example, the Bretons and Cornish were moving out smartly by the mid 600s and had begun resettling Northern Spain. The Arabs beat them to the punch ~ but they met in Spain and engaged in a battle that lasted for over 800 years (SEE: Reconquista).
There are other examples, but any analysis that fails to note the destruction of civilization in the West in the 6th century is deficient in ways I find almost imagineable!
I won’t quibble with your reasoning about Islam, and the sources look very good. But I don’t want to conflate “Arabs” with “Muslims.” Arabs are quite capable of amazing cruelty without the excuses for it provided by Islam. It’s a case of the 99% making the 1% look bad (please note the order in which I placed those stats).
Thanks for posting that link to Dr Bill Warner, I have watched it, can’t recommend it highly enough. Want to know what the DARK AGES really were? It’s chilling. And they are still at it.
Still, by the time the Meccan Arabs were on the move the Byzantines hadn’t paid their armies in 100 year.
One of the things the video/article mentions is that the reason Mohamed’s relatives were able to defeat Byzantines and Persians in that wild 25 year expansion of the early 600’s is because the Byzantines and Persians had just finished a debilitating war with each other. And then following hard on that was the plague of the Black Death which killed off roughly a third of their populations.
Both civilizations were defenseless and prostrate.
Actually a climate anomaly of some kind that began in 535AD did in Western Europe BEFORE Mohammad was born.
Yeah I know about that climate anomaly. But the archaeologists studying the ruins of the spanish french Italian and greek towns along the Mediterranean and the nearby seabeds...show that the seaside towns were destroyed in the decades around 640 and replaced by hilltop fortresses. The nearby seabeds show ship wrecks at layers lower than than the 640 line but none higher—suggesting that sea commerce had died.
Libya was a big farming region until 640. That all disappeared after the Arab armies came through.
Yes. And “Christians”, like the editor of the “Christian” paper “Vårt Land”, have been moaning that the wrong people won at Vienna - shoulda been our friends the muslims.
That particular editor usually hangs out with HAMAS friends in betlehem. They’re good people. They ply him with sweet coffee.
How my screen has escaped projectile vomit over these years, I don’t know.
Its helpful to remember that Luther put Launched the Reformation in +-1517 and the furthest extant of moslems came to vienna in 1532.
When Europe —especially protestant Europe—jettisoned Christianity she also lost her historical memory.
excellent find - thanks for sharing - bookmarked and watching now!
Lets not forget, how & when the “Golden Age of Islam” died. Secondly, muslims conquered greater civilizations & non were Islamic or muslim before their mohammad.
The vizier from “1001 Nights” disturbed me from the 3rd grade on, learning of his murderous reign on every woman he married. ‘Scheherazade is the only one who can stop him?’ I recall thinking.
Then to continually realize how real it’s always been.
God help us....
AND THEN CAME THE 'ARAB SPRING' WITH THE OVERTHROW OF THE SECULAR EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT, THE DESTRUCTION OF LYBIA BY NATO...AND NOW THERE'S TALK OF ARMING THE SALAFISTS TO FINISH OFF WHAT REMAINS OF SYRIA.