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History of Science Islamic and early medieval science

History of Science Online

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LibraryThing: Science in Ancient Mesopotamia Week 7: Islamic and Early Medieval Science

Starting Assumptions

 

# Due Date Pts Activity Time
1 Tuesday
11:59 p.m.
10 Starting Assumptions
Think about what you know already about the culture and period, share your knowledge and experience with other students in the class
30 min.

Questions

  1. What most interests you about the historical context for Arabic science?
  2. CordobaCompare the images (right) of two architectural structures located in the southern region of Spain known as Andalusia:
  3. Do you read or speak Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Sanskrit, or any other Asian language? How did you learn? What do you like to read in these languages?
  4. What are your favorite works of Arabic, Spanish, Indian or Chinese literature? Have you read the Rubaiyat, by Omar Khayyam? (Khayyam made important contributions to the development of algebra.)
  5. What most interests you about Moorish culture in Spain or north Africa? Does Spanish history have any special meaning for you? What is your favorite movie or book related to medieval or modern Spain?
  6. What most interests you about Islamic culture in the Middle East? Asian culture in India or China? Does Arabic, Indian or Chinese history have any special meaning for you? What is your favorite movie or book or TV documentary related to medieval or modern Islam, India or China?
  7. What do you enjoy about Indian, Chinese, Spanish or Arabic food? Do you recommend any restaurants in the area that offer authentic dishes from these countries?
  8. Have you visited China or India or any other country in Asia? Do you or your friends have family ties there?
  9. India was the birthplace of Buddhism, the world's first great missionary religion, which spread to China in the first century AD and remains the largest organized religion among many Chinese religions. Key concepts in Buddhism are karma and Nirvana: when the former ends and the latter is achieved there is cessation of physical change and being. Have you read any Buddhist writings, such as the Sanskrit Tripitaka, or modern Buddhist adaptations such as Herman Hesse's Siddhartha?
  10. India is also the home of Hinduism, another of the five great world religions (along with Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Karma is also a key concept in Hinduism, along with the guidance of a guru. Hinduism is largely pantheist and teaches that the physical universe and the self are illusions. Have you read any of the sacred Hindu writings, such as the Vedas, Upanishad, or Bhagavad Gita? What have you experienced of, or do you know about, these religions? How might they have shaped the science of Indian and Chinese cultures?

  11. **What are some similarities between ancient/medieval Chinese, Indian and Islamic cultures and culture today? How might these similarities help us to understand these cultures? What are some differences between these ancient/medieval cultures and culture today? How might these differences pose an obstacle to our understanding of these cultures? What do you know about medieval Arabic science? What do you think is the chief barrier that obstructs modern appreciation of Arabic science? Who is your favorite medieval Arabic scientist? What do you know about science in India and China, and what do you think obstructs western appreciation of science in these cultures? Can you name an Indian or Chinese scientist who lived in the time period of this course? If you are unfamiliar with Chinese, Indian and Arabic scientists, why do you think this might be so? **

  12. What would it have been like to live in the Roman empire in 700 AD?
     
    This week we return to Europe, with the Mediterranean basin lying amidst the ruins of the fallen Roman empire. In 285 AD Diocletian split the empire into the eastern, Greek-speaking Byzantine region and the western, Latin-speaking region. Wave after wave of migrating tribes (with exotic names like Goths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Huns, Magyars and Bulgars) brought the Roman empire to its knees. The western Roman army was soundly defeated in 378 AD. Rome itself was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 AD. In 486 AD, the last ethnically Roman emperor was defeated in Byzantium. In 700 AD, no contemporary observer surveying the monumental changes in the settled Mediterranean basin or contemplating the wild frontier country of northern Europe would have predicted that science would have as great a future in Europe as it already enjoyed in the established civilizations of the Middle East and Asia we looked at last week. Although founded by the Romans, in 700 AD Paris and London were frontier towns, no larger than Abilene in its cattle-driving hey day (neither would reach a population of 15,000 people for another 500 years). In 700 who would have guessed that Europe, this untamed land, newly settled by "barbarian" tribes, would become the center of scientific activity by the 17th century? How this dramatic story happened, and how the emerging European scientific culture related to the science developed in the cultures we have studied before, will occupy us for the rest of the semester. This week we look at the beginning of that story.
     
  13. Silk RoadWhat do you find most interesting about the ancient and medieval interactions between the cultures of Asia and Europe?
  14. What most interests you about the historical context of medieval science?
  15. What do you appreciate most about Gothic architecture?
  16. What do you appreciate most about medieval art?
  17. Have you visited any medieval areas of European cities? Many European universities were founded in the Middle Ages. Have you visited Bologna (1080 A.D.), Oxford (1096), Paris (1150), Cambridge (1209), Salamanca (1200's), Padua (1277), Vienna (1365), Heidelberg (1386), or any of the many other universities that date to the medieval period?
  18. Do you read Celtic or medieval Latin? Do you read any medieval vernacular languages? (Old French, Old English, Anglo-Saxon, etc.)
  19. What do you most appreciate about Beowulf, Arthurian tales, Marco Polo, or any other work of medieval literature?
  20. What most interests you about medieval culture? Does medieval European history have any special meaning for you?
  21. What is your favorite book related to medieval Europe? Have you read How the Irish Saved Civilization; The Name of the Rose; the letters of Heloise and Abelard; or some other interesting book about the Middle Ages?
  22. What is your favorite movie related to medieval Europe? Have you seen The Name of the Rose; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; The Seventh Seal (1957, Ingmar Bergman); El Cid (1961); The Navigator (1988); Braveheart (1995); Excalibur (1981); King Arthur (2004); The Anchoress (1983); Stealing Heaven (1985); etc. (others & Oscar nominees).
  23. Do you like to listen to Gregorian chant, madrigals, Hildegard of Bingen, or other medieval composers?
  24. **What are some similarities between medieval European culture and culture today? How might these similarities help us to understand medieval culture? What are some differences between medieval culture and culture today? How might these differences pose an obstacle to our understanding of medieval culture? What do you know about medieval European science? What do you think is the chief barrier that obstructs modern appreciation of medieval science? Who is your favorite medieval European scientist? If you don't know of many medieval scientists, why might this be so?**

 

Instructions for Starting Assumptions assignment:

  1. Look over the questions and links below; then watch the Starting Assumptions video prompt for this unit at Janux.
  2. PART ONE:
    1. Write a paragraph, 150 words minimum, in response to any questions that interest you.
    2. Post your completed paragraph in the Starting Assumptions discussion stream for this week at Janux.
  3. PART TWO:
    • Read the Starting Assumptions posts of at least two other students at Janux. Make another post in the discussion stream at Janux replying to their posts. (If you are the first or second person to post, you will have to check back later to complete this part of the assignment.)
    • IMPORTANT: When you respond, please begin by greeting the persons by name you are replying to, so that they will be more likely to notice that you are replying to them. And over the next several hours, check back and see if anyone comments on your post as well. If you provide interesting comments in response to others, they will be more likely to look for your posts both now and in the future.
  4. As you post your paragraph and respond to two other students, complete the Gradebook Declaration in Desire2Learn. Your Gradebook Declaration is subject to the Honor Code. Check all that apply: if you have completed the assignment, you will check all five statements. If you work on the assignment at different times, you may make the Gradebook Declaration incrementally as you complete each part. You may redo the Gradebook Declaration as often as you like up until the due date, if any part is incomplete the first time.
 

Here is the text of the Desire2Learn Gradebook Declaration:

(2 points) I have posted my Starting Assumptions (at least 50 words) at Confluence, including a response to the required question(s).
(2 points) I have posted my Starting Assumptions (at least 100 words) at Confluence, including a response to the required question(s).
(2 points) I have posted my Starting Assumptions (at least 150 words) at Confluence, including a response to the required question(s).
(2 points) I have replied to the post of at least one other student.
(2 points) I have replied to the post of at least two other students.

 

"A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!"
       Omar Khayyam (12th century), The Rubaiyat, XII

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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
-14
Brent Purkaple, TA

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Many thanks to the pedagogical model developed in Mythology and Folklore and other online courses by Laura Gibbs, which have been an inspiration for this course.

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This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux