Monthly Archives: December 2013

Balance of power in the north

While Abd al-Rahman was a fugitive in North Africa, power shifted decisively in Europe. The last major Germanic barbarian invasion came from the east and had settled in the Italian Alps with a capital at Pavia. The Langobards, or Lombards, … Continue reading

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The Half-Berber Prince

We now go back to the overthrow of the Umayyad dynasty in Damascus, to pick up the first thread of the Andalusian Golden Age. There were three main factions united behind the descendants of Abbas, Mohammed’s uncle: Shi’ites who wanted … Continue reading

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Paper

Around 750, just before the Umayyads were overthrown in Damascus, there was a battle at the far eastern front. It was like any other battle, but it was so close to the Chinese border that the Muslim victors captured craftsmen … Continue reading

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House of Wisdom: Baghdad

Baghdad’s Round City featured a large building that was called, at first, The Bookstore. It was modeled after the Persian Empire’s library in Ctesiphon, but its chief purpose was to transfer civilization into the Arabic script of the recently-literate nomads. … Continue reading

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