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The House of Wisdom
The House of Wisdom
When studying this chapter, I started by looking at the title of the chapter to get a feel of
the broad content that would be addressed. As soon as I had a general sense of what was going to
happen, I began reading the chapter and looked for the key idea presented in each paragraph.
Following my reading, I included these important concepts into my outline by selectively
highlighting or underlining them. Using short key phrases that assist stimulate my recollection
about what should go into my outline, I highlighted just ten percent of what I read or roughly a
third of what I read. As a final step, I wrote a summary of the chapter in my own words based on
my plan, noting essential points about the events, people, and places that were discussed in it.
Reading history is extremely different from reading fiction since the goal of reading history is to
learn and recall major ideas, supporting facts, and the author’s viewpoint while reading fiction is
to be entertained. Therefore, reading a history chapter like this one needs writing because reading
something over and over again just helps a reader to identify it; reading something again and over
again does not allow a reader to really understand it. The only way to study history for substance
and comprehension is to take detailed notes in a methodical manner. If you want to perform well
in history classes, you must be ready to put in the effort to take notes and study properly.
Otherwise, you will struggle.
This chapter is about the Andalusian House of Wisdom, which was built on the model of
the Baghdad House of Wisdom. It was used to house the great quantity of information accumulated
by al-Mustansir over the course of his life. During this time period, art, scientific advancement,
architecture, and a variety of other activities flourished and thrived. This chapter of “The House of
Wisdom” was part of the Abbasid Translation Movement, translating books from Syriac and Greek
to Arabic. This translation effort fueled much original study in the Islamicate world, which had
access to Persian, Greek, and Indian books. For centuries, Muslims have been linked to libraries,
which became not only a means of endeavor but also a repository of human wisdom and mental
history. Advanced searches in mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, and medicine sparked Arab
science. This scientific leap created a need for updated translations. The House of Wisdom was
made feasible by the constant migration of Arab, Persian, and other Islamicate experts to Baghdad
as the Abbasid Caliphate’s capital. No institutional academy existed in Baghdad during the 8th and
13th centuries, although intellectuals like Al-Kindi, Al-Jahiz, and Al-Ghazali contributed to a
dynamic academic society that produced many famous works. Scholars from the House of Wisdom
have contributed to subjects like mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, medicine, and optics. The
House of Wisdom’s major role was to preserve rare books and poetry, thus its early name Khizanat
al-Hikma. All of these people would gather daily in the House of Wisdom to translate and write
as well as converse and read. (Gutas, 192).
In January 750 BC, the Abbasids ended the administration of the Umayyad Caliphate in
Iraq by killing all the royal family members from Umayyad Caliphate. However, Abd al-Rahman,
one of the royal members, escaped with his close ally Bedr. By 756, Abd al-Rahman was able to
defeat the governor of Abbasids, which helped him to capture Cordoba and Seville. His regime
was characterized by hospitality. However, in the regime of Abd al-Rahman 2, peace was
established, which made Cordoba be like Alma Mun Baghdad in terms of welcoming the best
scholars. In addition, as al-Rahman was making Cordado look like Baghdad, in 822, he hired
Ziryab, an Iraq musician. As a result, at the end of the 19th century, Andalusians had received
Arabic texts from Baghdad translated from the Greeks. In 936, Cordoba recorded the first ruling
of father and son, which welcomed people from other faith such as Christians. After the death of
Al-Hakam in 976, his son Al-Masur took over, although he hated science which made him
authorize the burning of all books except those covering mathematics and science. However, after
his death in 1002, interest in other books’ subjects was restored, resulting in the spread of Islam to
the west as well as the flourishing of scientific movement (Gutas, 192).
This key chapter shows the house of wisdom’s role in cultural diffusion. A variety of
Languages was spoken and written, allowing for the translation of foreign writings into Arabic.
During the golden period of Arabic research, the Translation Movement contributed significantly
to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Ideas and knowledge from other civilizations, such
as Greece, India, and Persia, were translated into Arabic, helping the Islamic Empire grow.
Creating a comprehensive library including all of the movement’s information was a major
objective. Among the fields where progress was achieved was mathematics. Translation opened
the eyes of academics in the empire to the vast prehistoric Greek legacy, spawning primary
research beyond philosophy and scholarship. Engaging the arts and sciences expands intellectual
areas and fosters new ways of knowing. This was achieved via academic study and artistic practice.
The Translation Movement began here and lasted over two centuries. In the House of Wisdom,
Middle Eastern Oriental Syriac Christian academics translated all scientific and philosophical
Greek books into Arabic. The House of Wisdom’s translation project began with Aristotle’s Topics.
Greek astrological manuscripts were already in their third translation when Al-Ma’mun lived. Over
the years, many significant works were translated, such as books on health, finance, agriculture,
and engineering. Revised translations and comments corrected or added to the work of ancient
writers (Gutas, 192)
Gutas, D. HOUSE OF WISDOM AND THE PROSPERITY OF SCIENTIFIC MOVEMENT.
Translation Movement and Acculturation in the Medieval Islamic World, 192.