“Ornament of the World” PBS


This is an excellent narrative of the 'Ummayad Caliphate of Cordoba which ruled for so long what are now Spain, Portugal and the Balearic Islands as al-andalus.  i recommend it to all.  pl


This entry was posted in History, Middle East, Religion, Television. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “Ornament of the World” PBS

  1. Serge says:

    I caught most of this on TV today, it was indeed a great watch.

  2. oldman22 says:

    Thank you for this Col. Lang.
    And Merry Christmas.

  3. rdm says:

    I haven’t seen the program but would guess that some historical reading would elevate skepticism a bit. I recommend the meticulously footnoted “The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise” by Dario Fernandez-Morera. The notions of Islam as the saviours of Western civilization through the “Dark Ages” always made no sense to me, but judge for yourselves.

  4. oldman22 says:

    If you watch the program you may learn that it does not claim there was an Andalusian Paradise. And you might also learn how Arabs translated the Greek classics into Arabic and saved them in their libraries, meanwhile these classics disappeared in Greece and the rest of Europe.

  5. Oscar Peterson says:

    Yes, that’s a good book. The myth Spain’s “Golden Age” is a pernicious one promoted since WW II mostly by organized Jewry in the West.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The astonishing thing was that the Mehrab was intact, it had not been destoyed by the Christians.

  7. TI says:

    “meanwhile these classics disappeared in Greece”
    That’s just wrong, what we still have of ancient Greek literature (Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Sophocles, Plato etc.) was preserved in the Byzantine empire. And in all probability we’d have a lot more, if the Byzantine empire hadn’t been destroyed by Islamic invasions (with some help by Western crusaders).
    The Arabs didn’t have any interest in Greek humanistic thought nor in preserving texts in their original form (Greek wasn’t a sacred language for them after all). They did translate some works about philosophy, mathematics, medicine etc. which they deemed useful and compatible with Islam, and those translations did eventually play some role in the reception of Greek thought (e.g. Aristotelianism) in medieval Europe. But it can be easily exaggerated, and it’s a severe distortion of historical reality when the destructive role of Islam in regards to the preservation of ancient texts is ignored completely.

  8. oldman22 says:

    I am not a philosopher, or a linguist, I speak/write neither Greek nor Arabic, so I claim no expertise on the immediate question of the disappearance of Greek classics in European dark ages. But please allow me to quote:
    > These scholars were interested in ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts (notably the Almagest) which were not obtainable in Latin in Western Europe, but which had survived and been translated into Arabic in the Muslim world. Gerard was said to have made his way to Toledo in Spain and learnt Arabic specifically because of his “love of the Almagest”. While there he took advantage of the “abundance of books in Arabic on every subject”.[19] Islamic Spain and Sicily were particularly productive areas because of the proximity of multi-lingual scholars. These scholars translated many scientific and philosophical texts from Arabic into Latin.[20][21] Gerard personally translated 87 books from Arabic into Latin, including the Almagest, and also Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī’s On Algebra and Almucabala, Jabir ibn Aflah’s Elementa astronomica,[22] al-Kindi’s On Optics, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathīr al-Farghānī’s On Elements of Astronomy on the Celestial Motions, al-Farabi’s On the Classification of the Sciences,[23] the chemical and medical works of Rhazes,[24] the works of Thabit ibn Qurra and Hunayn ibn Ishaq,[25] and the works of Arzachel, Jabir ibn Aflah, the Banū Mūsā, Abū Kāmil Shujā ibn Aslam, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis), and Ibn al-Haytham (including the Book of Optics).
    also relevant to the larger inquiry here:

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Some Western scholars, out of an impulse to genersoity, have tried to assuage the possible feelings of inferiority among non- Western people, by trying to exaggerate their contributions to the Universal Civilization, i.e. the Western Diocletian civilization.
    There is no mathematician of note between Dr. Mirzakhani and Jamshid Kashani there is a 600-year gap.

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yup, the brutes who have defaced or destroyed many non_Islamic monuments all over the Middle East: in the past as well as in the present.

Comments are closed.