[TTC Video] Eamonn Gearon - The History and Achievements of the I...

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The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age | The Great Courses

[TTC Video] Eamonn Gearon - The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age

Course Overview
The study of Western Civilization traditionally follows a well-known but incomplete arc: the grand achievements of Greece and Rome, several hundred years of the “Dark Ages,” and then the bright emergence of the European Renaissance. But most students of history have only a passing familiarity with a significant period known as the Islamic Golden Age in the Greater Middle East, from about 750 to 1258. Advancements in medicine, algebra and astronomy; influential figures like Avicenna and Averroes: these asides in the traditional story of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance only gloss the surface of one of the most important periods of world history.

It is nearly impossible to overstate the power and importance of this crucial 500-year history, headquartered in Baghdad but impacting the wider world. The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age is your opportunity to get to know the story and the accomplishments of this great period in human civilization. Taught by acclaimed lecturer Eamonn Gearon, these 24 remarkable lectures offer brilliant insights into an era too often overlooked by traditional history textbooks. The philosophers, scientists, inventors, and poets of the Abbasid Empire paved the way for the Renaissance and continue to affect our world today in surprising ways, and The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age brings the story to life in rich detail and will forever change your perspective on world history.

The Abbasid Empire, which ruled the Middle East as well as much of Northern Africa and Central Asia in much of the Middle Ages, is a vitally important bridge between the ancient and modern worlds. While much of Europe was quietly passing the time, the Abbasid Empire was an international, multicultural hub of trade, travel, education, art, science, and much more. Just a few of the many events and achievements of the era include:

Advancements in mathematics, including the birth of algebra and new insights into geometry and trigonometry.
The origins of the scientific method, along with the development of chemistry, physics, and astronomy as discrete fields of inquiry.
The invention of the modern “teaching hospital” and a medical encyclopedia that served Europe for the next 600 years.
The preservation and translation of the world’s great literature, from the Hadith (or sayings of Muhammad) to the master works of Greece and Rome.
Ontological philosophy that served future Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians concerned with the nature of God and the relationship between faith and reason.
Meet the People Who Revolutionized the World

While the period of the Islamic Golden Age was comparatively quiet in Europe, the Middle East was a multi-national, multicultural, cosmopolitan brew. The Abbasid Empire was a highly educated, highly mobile society, and you’ll follow in the footsteps of many travelers as they made their way around the empire, from the Mediterranean to Central Asia. For instance, you’ll meet Ibn Battuta, who traveled more extensively than even Marco Polo and whose life gives us an amazing window into a society little studied in the West.

The epicenter of the age was Baghdad and its House of Wisdom, the world’s preeminent center for learning, translation, and original research at the time. Thanks to the House of Wisdom, scholars, scientists, artists, and other great thinkers flourished. Among them, you will learn about:

Caliph Harun al-Rashid, who established the House of Wisdom and was later immortalized in Arabian Nights
Al-Jahiz, an Arabic writer who discussed evolution a thousand years before Darwin
Iman al-Bukhari, who sifted through hundreds of thousands of alleged sayings from Muhammad and compiled the official hadith
Moses Maimonides, one of the greatest Talmudic scholars of all time
Al-Jazari, the so-called “father of robotics” who lived nearly fifteen hundred years before the computer age
Ibn Sina—also known as Avicenna—one of the world’s most influential thinkers and one of the founders of modern medicine
In studying these astonishing individuals, you’ll get a glimpse at another side of history that has been often overlooked. While many of these names may be unfamiliar to Western audiences, their impact continues into our world today—from the all the benefits of the Scientific Revolution down to the humble three-course meal popularized by a trendsetting cook and musician named Ziryab.

Unlock the Achievements of the Golden Age

Although the word wasn’t coined until much later, today we would call many of the influential figures of the Islamic Golden Age “scientists”—experimental thinkers who researched everything from the circumference of the Earth to the classifications of chemical compositions. This period saw the birth of the scientific method—including the origins of the “control” in an experiment—and ushered in transitions from what we would call astrology to astronomy, and from alchemy to chemistry.

In this course, you will witness the era’s many forays into mathematics and the sciences, theology and philosophy, agriculture and architecture. For example:

Meet al-Khwarizmi, who built on the works of the Greeks and Babylonians to formalize algebra as its own discipline.
Explore the world’s first teaching hospitals and encounter several foundational texts on medicine and medical ethics.
Find out why so many stars have Arabic names—and how Islamic astronomers challenged Ptolemy’s worldview.
Study with al-Haytham, whose revolutionary book on optics offered the first modern insight into how light and vision interact.
Discover the delightful inventions of the Banu Masa, including automatic drinking fountains and a steam-powered flute.
Tour the rich architecture of the Muslim world, from mosques to military arches to the hanging gardens of the Alhambra and the Taj Mahal.
Finally, no discussion of the Golden Age’s achievements would be complete without a mention of the tension between faith and reason. You’ll encounter several philosophers who wrestle with the age-old question and consider how they resolve the dilemma—and how thinkers such as Ibn Sina influenced later theologians in all three Abrahamic faiths.

A Sumptuous Feast of Insights

Your lecturer, Eamonn Gearon, takes you inside this magnificent era, and introduces you to the people and ideas that make the Islamic Golden Age great. He also steps back and asks a few fundamental questions about the story: When did the Golden Age begin? Why did it come to an end? And why has it not featured more prominently in the history textbooks?

As with his previous popular course, Turning Points in Middle Eastern History, Mr. Gearon is a remarkable storyteller. He expertly draws the links between Aristotle and Ibn Sina, and between Ibn Battuta and the Renaissance poet Petrarch, who, like many history students today, had little understanding of the Islamic Golden Age.

From Baghdad to Cairo, and Alexandria to Cordoba, the breadth of the Abbasid Empire is astounding. With a rich set design and authentic music recreated from the era, The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age immerses you in the fantastic world of Golden Age art, education, prosperity, and innovation—and gives you an incomparable understanding of one of the most vibrant and influential civilizations to ever grace the world stage.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina


[TTC Video] Eamonn Gearon - The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age
  • 24. Ibn Khaldun on the Rise and Fall of Empire.mp4 (912.9 MB)
  • 02. Ibn Battuta's Search for Knowledge.mp4 (798.2 MB)
  • 03. Arabian Nights Caliph. Harun al-Rashid.mp4 (841.4 MB)
  • 04. The Arab World's Greatest Writer. al-Jahiz.mp4 (787.1 MB)
  • 05. Algebra, Algorithms, and al-Khwarizmi.mp4 (807.8 MB)
  • 06. Baghdad's House of Wisdom.mp4 (763.4 MB)
  • 07. Muhammad, the Hadith, and Imam Bukhari.mp4 (773.2 MB)
  • 08. Interpreting and Defending the Quran.mp4 (837.1 MB)
  • 09. The Arab Herodotus. al-Masudi.mp4 (710.8 MB)
  • 10. Cairo, al-Haytham, and the Book of Optics.mp4 (796.0 MB)
  • 11. Master Muslim Scholar. al-Biruni.mp4 (811.4 MB)
  • 12. Astronomy in the Islamic Golden Age.mp4 (793.6 MB)
  • 13. Medieval Muslim Medicine and Hospitals.mp4 (785.0 MB)
  • 14. Alchemistry and Chemistry in Early Baghdad.mp4 (799.4 MB)
  • 15. The Fertile Crescent, Water, and al-Jazari.mp4 (760.0 MB)
  • 16. Jewish Scholar in Cairo. Moses Maimonides.mp4 (820.0 MB)
  • 17. The Banu Musa's Inventions and Automatons.mp4 (788.1 MB)
  • 18. Mosques, Architecture, and Gothic Revival.mp4 (850.3 MB)
  • 19. Arabic Verse, Love Poetry, and Wine Songs.mp4 (784.3 MB)
  • 20. Medieval Mastermind. Avicenna (Ibn Sina).mp4 (822.9 MB)
  • 21. Entertaining in the Time of the Abbasids.mp4 (799.1 MB)
  • 22. Calligraphy, Carpets, and the Arabic Arts.mp4 (846.9 MB)
  • 23. When Did the Islamic Golden Age End.mp4 (816.2 MB)
  • 01. From Camels to Stars in the Middle East.mp4 (854.9 MB)
  • Eamonn Gearon - The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age (Course Guidebook).pdf (12.0 MB)
  • MediaInfo.txt (67.2 KB)
  • The Islamic Golden Age History and Info About Islam The Great Courses Plus.URL (0.3 KB)

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