Saturday, July 29, 2017

Muslim Heritage: Terrific Website & Resource

Studying Islam?

Here is a  terrific website that reviews the achievements of pre-Renaissance Islamic culture called Muslim Heritage.  It covers Muslim art, architecture, literature, culture, music and people.  It includes images, essays, videos, and maps.

Among the featured essays on the site's home page is one one of my favorites, Mega Cities on the Silk Road. Can you list three of the biggest?

Xi’an (Chang’an) is at the top. It became the capital of the Chinese empire in the 4th century and was a significant trading post and melting pot. Under the Tang Dyasty, it was home to a panoply of religions including Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity and Islam.

Another top mega city along the Silk Road included Samarkand in the heart of central Asia. From Han times, merchants from Samarkand traveled as far China and Tamerlane was one of its prominent leaders.

Another essay, Technology in Sub-Saharan Cultures, reviews advances in metallurgy and quarrying. The Nubians, from modern-day Sudan, during Egypt's Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 BCE), mass produced iron and bronze used to make items like cutlery,  jewelry, weapons, and even musical instruments.

And Aksum, in Ethiopia, quarried lots of granite between 100 and 700CE. According to the essay's author, Aksum had "extensive" knowledge of granite extraction.

But it was in math and science that Muslims made some of the most stunning achievements like the invention of the astrolabe or the translation of ancient Greek texts to Latin and then to European languages, or the development and building of hospitals in many cities in the Muslim world.

A new documentary called “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” reviews these achievements and many more.

The film is part of a global  educational campaign with UNESCO and is available on ITunes.

Muslim Heritage and the website for 1001 Inventions are great for both teachers and students. Some of the essays are ideal for students. And teachers can easily create an interesting web quest out of the material.

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