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Inventions in medieval Islam

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Title: Inventions in medieval Islam  
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Inventions in medieval Islam

A number of inventions were made in the medieval Islamic world, a geopolitical region that has at various times extended from Spain and Africa in the west to Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent in the east.[1][page needed] The inventions listed here were developed during the medieval Islamic world, which covers a period from the early Caliphate to the later Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires.[2] In particular, the majority of inventions here date back to the Islamic Golden Age, which is traditionally dated from the 8th to the 13th centuries.[3][4]

Chemistry

Architecture


  • Arabesque: An elaborative application of repeating geometric forms often found decorating the walls of mosques.
  • Minaret: The minaret is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic architecture, especially mosques, dating back to the early centuries of Islam. Minarets are generally tall spires with onion-shaped crowns, usually either free standing or much taller than any surrounding support structure. The tallest minaret in pre-modern times was the Qutub Minar, which was 72.5 meters (237.9 ft) tall and was built in the 12th century, and it remains the tallest brick and stone minaret in the world.

Milling

  • Bridge mill: The bridge mill was a unique type of watermill that was built as part of the superstructure of a bridge. The earliest record of a bridge mill is from Córdoba, Spain in the 12th century.[9]
  • Vertical-axle windmill: A small wind wheel operating an organ is described as early as the 1st century AD by Hero of Alexandria.[10][11] The first vertical-axle windmills were eventually built in Sistan, Persia as described by Muslim geographers. These windmills had long vertical driveshafts with rectangle shaped blades.[12] They may have been constructed as early as the time of the second Rashidun caliph Umar (634-644 AD), though some argue that this account may have been a 10th-century amendment.[13] Made of six to twelve sails covered in reed matting or cloth material, these windmills were used to grind corn and draw up water, and used in the gristmilling and sugarcane industries.[14] Horizontal axle windmills of the type generally used today, however, were developed in Northwestern Europe in the 1180s.[10][11]

Education

  • Teaching Hospitals: the first teaching hospital, where students were authorized to methodically practice on patients under the supervision of physicians as part of their education, was reportedly the Academy of Gundishapur in the Persian Empire during the Sassanid era.[15]

Medical products

Military

  • Marching band and military band: The marching band and military band both have their origins in the Ottoman military band, performed by the Janissary since the 16th century.[17]
  • Hybrid trebuchet: The term Al-Ghadban (The Furious One) was applied to the hybrid trebuchet, though the usage of the term was not consistent and may have taken on a broader meaning.[18]

Weapons

  • Early Torpedos: Syrian Al-Hassan er-Rammah's manuscript "The Book of Fighting on Horseback and With War Engines"(1280) includes the first known design for a rocket driven torpedo.[19][20]

Music

  • Guitar: the modern guitar is thought to have developed from the earlier Arabic instrument "Oud." Introduced through medieval Spain, the guitar was initially referred to as guitarra moresca (moorish guitar) in the 12th century.[21][22]
  • Lute: while pre-Islamic Arabs had similar instruments, the Lute is thought to have been invented in the 11th century, and spread from Iraq to other areas under Muslim provinces.[21][23]

Paraphernalia

  • Hookah or waterpipe: according to Cyril Elgood (PP.41, 110), the physician Irfan Shaikh, at the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar I (1542- 1605 AD) invented the Hookah or waterpipe used most commonly for smoking tobacco.[24][25][26][27]

Pottery

Main article: Islamic pottery
  • Albarello: An albarello is a type of maiolica earthenware jar originally designed to hold apothecaries' ointments and dry drugs. The development of this type of pharmacy jar had its roots in the Islamic Middle East.
  • Fritware: It refers to a type of pottery which was first developed in the Near East, where production is dated to the late 1st millennium AD through the second millennium AD Frit was a significant ingredient. A recipe for "fritware" dating to c. 1300 AD written by Abu’l Qasim reports that the ratio of quartz to "frit-glass" to white clay is 10:1:1.[28] This type of pottery has also been referred to as "stonepaste" and "faience" among other names.[29] A 9th-century corpus of "proto-stonepaste" from Baghdad has "relict glass fragments" in its fabric.[30]
  • Hispano-Moresque ware: This was a style of Islamic pottery created in Islamic Spain, after the Moors had introduced two ceramic techniques to Europe: glazing with an opaque white tin-glaze, and painting in metallic lusters. Hispano-Moresque ware was distinguished from the pottery of Christendom by the Islamic character of its decoration.[31]
  • Iznik pottery: Produced in Ottoman Turkey as early as the 15th century AD[32] It consists of a body, slip, and glaze, where the body and glaze are "quartz-frit."[33] The "frits" in both cases "are unusual in that they contain lead oxide as well as soda"; the lead oxide would help reduce the thermal expansion coefficient of the ceramic.[34] Microscopic analysis reveals that the material that has been labeled "frit" is "interstitial glass" which serves to connect the quartz particles.[35]
  • Lusterware: Lustre glazes were applied to pottery in Mesopotamia in the 9th century; the technique soon became popular in Persia and Syria.[36] Lusterware was later produced in Egypt during the Fatimid caliphate in the 10th-12th centuries. While the production of lusterware continued in the Middle East, it spread to Europe—first to Al-Andalus, notably at Málaga, and then to Italy, where it was used to enhance maiolica.
  • Stonepaste ceramic: Invented in 9th-century Iraq,[37] it was a vitreous or semivitreous ceramic ware of fine texture, made primarily from non-refactory fire clay.[38]
  • Tin-glazing: The tin-glazing of ceramics was invented by Muslim potters in 8th-century Basra, Iraq. The first examples of this technique can be found as blue-painted ware in 8th-century Basra.[39] The oldest fragments found to-date were excavated from the palace of Samarra about fifty miles north of Baghdad.[40]

Other


  • Attempt at gliding: According to the 17th-century historian Ahmed Mohammed al-Maqqari, Abbas Ibn Firnas of Islamic Spain made in 875 the first − unsuccessful − attempt at a heavier-than-air glider flight in aviation history.[41][42] It may have inspired the attempt by Eilmer of Malmesbury between 1000 and 1010 in England, recorded by the medieval historian William of Malmesbury in about 1125, although there is no evidence that the earlier recorded event in Anglo-Saxon England took place with foreign stimulus.[42]
  • Coffee: The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia.[43][44] It was in Yemen that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed as they are today. From Mocha, coffee spread to Egypt and North Africa,[45] and by the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia and Turkey. From the Muslim world, coffee drinking spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, and coffee plants were transported by the Dutch to the East Indies and to the Americas.[46]
  • Cryptanalysis and frequency analysis: In cryptology, the first known recorded explanation of cryptanalysis was given by 9th-century Arabian polymath, Al-Kindi (also known as "Alkindus" in Europe), in A Manuscript on Deciphering Cryptographic Messages. This treatise includes the first description of the method of frequency analysis.[47][48]

See also

Notes

External links

  • 1001 Inventions: Discover The Muslim Heritage In Our World
  • "How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs" by De Lacy O'Leary

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