Tag Archives: books

Christine de Pizan

Around 1400, the most famous woman author was Christine de Pizan (or Pisan, both short for Pizzano, south of Bologna, Italy). Christine spent her life at the French court, originally moving there as an infant when her father was hired … Continue reading

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Mechanical engineering

Baghdad’s House of Wisdom also produced a collection of all of the mechanical engineering devices known at that time. It’s certainly a collection from China, India, Persia and Greece, like the other scientific works. We aren’t sure if the pictures … Continue reading

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Roland: the facts

In the “Song of Roland,” the first premise is that Charlemagne has spent seven years campaigning across Spanish Andalusia, taking back territory from the perfidious Saracens. The famous battle in which Roland loses his life takes place in the mountain … Continue reading

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The Song of Roland

The “Song of Roland” was the most popular epic of its time. Composed by a Frankish minstrel named Turoldus, the poem first appeared in written form around 950. Its subject matter was Charlemagne’s invasion into Muslim Spain in 778. The … 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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Arabic writing

The Abbasid dynasty hosted a very important reform that made possible a lot of the literary and scientific advances of the next two centuries: they reformed the writing system. The Semitic language family has been around as long as written … Continue reading

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Baghdad of legend

The Abbasid dynasty endowed a scholars’ center in Baghdad; its first work was to collect and translate the Iranian books sitting in local libraries. We don’t know at what point they began to translate the Persian storybook that became the … Continue reading

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Medieval cookbooks

Books with food instructions were produced for and by professional cooks who used ingredients that peasants and townsfolk had never seen. Training and skill were assumed, just as the old Betty Crocker books assumed you knew how to separate an … Continue reading

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