Culture of the Arab world of the Middle Ages

The culture of the countries of the caliphate is predominantly called the Arab one. This is not entirely correct, because it also included the culture of the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Iranians, the peoples of Central Asia. However, the language of this culture was Arabic, and the unifying element was Islam. In addition, the Arabs used the culture and practical achievements of conquered peoples, which often were much higher in their economic and cultural development. Based on this heterogeneous and original alloy, the Arabs created a unique and rich culture.

The greatest flourishing of Arab culture reached in the 8th and 12th centuries. At that time, many texts of pre-Islamic Arabic oral poetry were written. The new Arabic poetry continued to keep the old traditions: glorified the military victories, love, joy of life. The outstanding monument of the Iranian-Arabian epic is the heroic poem by Firdausi “Shahname”. The main prosaic genres: instructive and adventure stories, fairy tales. The first monument of Arabic writing was the Koran, written in rhymed prose. In the XIII century. The first edition of the famous collection of fairy tales “A Thousand and One Nights” was created.

The system of education was also developing rapidly. It was based on the Madrasah, where one could get secondary and higher education. Together with the Koran and Muslim theology, exact and natural sciences were also studied here. In large cities, primary teachers were given private education. In villages and small towns, this function was performed by the local Mulla.

The Arabs made a significant contribution to the development of science. Such attitudes about science are evidenced by such proverbs: “Ink of a scientist should be valued like the blood of a martyr,” “He does not die who gives his life to science.” Places of concentration of education, science and culture were numerous libraries, filled with literature of different genres: from special to artistic. In the Arab Caliphate, books were relatively inexpensive.

The libraries actively worked copyists. Especially appreciated were those who had the talent to write exquisitely, they were called Calligraphers. Texts were applied to papyrus, parchment or paper. The production of paper began in the VIII century. The Muslims developed a system of different handwritings, depending on the thought that was transmitted in the text. Symbolic inscriptions were also placed on the walls of mosques, dishes, weapons, etc. The level of mastering the art of writing was considered an indicator of the education and spiritual perfection of man. As a shrine and a jewel in the Muslim world, a manuscript book decorated with ornaments and original miniatures was valued.

The Arabs achieved amazing results in mathematics, medicine, astronomy, and geography. Arab scientists have created algebra and have perfected the Indian digital system by introducing zero. And although modern figures originated in India, in Europe they became known due to the Arabs, that’s why they are called Arabian.

The successes of the Arabs in medicine and astronomy are striking. Arabic textbooks on medicine were quite popular in Western Europe. Ibn-Sina, a native of... a small village near Bukhara, considers Ibn-Sina, the light of medieval medicine.

The Europeans called him Avicenna. The main work of Ibn Sina’s “Medical Canon” in Latin translation was the reference book of physicians of medieval Europe almost until the 16th century.

Observatories functioned in many cities of the caliphate. In the IX century. in Baghdad, the “House of Wisdom” was created, where there was a library and a board of translators. Here scientific texts of ancient Greek, Iranian and Indian scientists but philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy were translated into Arabic. Interestingly, in the XII-XIII centuries. works of ancient scientists Archimedes, Ptolemy, Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle Europeans reproduced not from the originals, but from Arabic translations.

The then Arab art was represented primarily by architecture. Arabs erected monumental structures: mosques, palaces, baths. The mosque was the main building of the city. It consists of two parts: a wide courtyard with a well for ritual activities and a prayer hall. The courtyard was surrounded by galleries on pillars or columns. From the side facing Mecca, a spacious prayer hall adjoined the courtyard, divided by several rows of columns. In a special niche in the wall, the Koran was kept. The appearance of the mosque was complemented by the Minaret, a high tower with which Muslims were called to prayer. The perfect architectural creation is the mosque in Cordoba in the territory of modern Spain.

In the Spanish city of Granada, the magnificent medieval Alhambra palace has been preserved. The origin of his name is narrated by a long-standing legend, according to which builders erected the palace continuously, day and night, firing huge bonfires, the flames of which reflected on its walls. It was built in the XIII-XIV centuries. and is a decoration of Muslim architecture. The rulers of Granada tried to give the Alhambra a real eastern luxury, to dazzle the whole world with its brilliance. The palace is surrounded by greenery of gardens, among which sparkle with pearl streams fountains and play sun rays transparent pools. On the territory of the Alhambra are many patios for rest, as well as for guests and ambassadors. Particularly striking is the refinement of the Lion’s Court. In its center is a fountain, surrounded by 12 marble lions. According to legend, 12 lions held the throne of King Solomon. It is said that when the Spanish royal army approached Granada, the 16-year-old ruler, looking at the Alhambra from a distant mountain pass, burst into tears. It hurt him to watch the flag of the Christian king rise above the palace. Bitterness also added the words of the mother: “You mourn, like a woman that he could not protect, like a warrior.”

Mullah – in Islam, the lowest rank of minister of religious worship among Muslims. Often performed as teacher and judge.

The Alhambra is a fortress-palace built by Arabian serpents in the 13th-11th centuries. near Granada. Occupies an area of ​​3.5 square meters. km. Numerous courtyards, halls, galleries, pavilions, towers, located near two courtyards: “myrtle yard” and “lion’s yard.”


Culture of the Arab world of the Middle Ages