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General Travel

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General Travel - Page Text Content

S: Islamic Empire

BC: Brandi Morgan & Karissa Durigon

FC: Islamic Empire

2: A kids' song with the Muslim prayer in it The religious faith of Islam, as it was practiced between about 650 and 1500 AD, was closely related to Judaism and Christianity. Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believed that there was only one God, whom they called 'Allah'. Muslims believed that Moses and Jesus had both existed, and that they were important holy men, and that Mohammed was another in the same line, also holy. Many of the stories in the Koran are the same as the stories in the Judeo-Christian Bible. After the Islamic Empire was founded, many Muslims lived in the old Sassanian Empire, and a lot of old Zoroastrian beliefs also became common among Muslims. Muslims believed that if you did things which pleased Allah, you would have a good life on earth, and also a good life after you died. There were five main things Allah liked (the five pillars of Islam): Allah wanted you to have no other gods but Allah. Allah liked you to pray to him five times a day, facing toward his most holy place at Mecca, in the Arabian peninsula.

3: Allah liked you to give charity to the poor. Allah liked you to make a trip to Mecca sometime in your lifetime (the Haj). Allah liked you to fast (not eat during the daytime) during Ramadan, the holy month. | ISLAMIC RELIGI ON

4: Islamic Science | Islam | Arabic scholars were able to read the books of the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle, and the Roman encyclopedist Pliny the Elder, and they translated these books into Arabic. | Interested in Aristotle and Pliny's studies of plants and animals, and produced many new studies like that of their own, often with beautifully detailed and accurate illustrations.

5: and Technology.. | Islam | All through the Middle Ages, everyone knew that the best doctors, men like Ibn Sina or Maimonides, lived in the Islamic kingdoms. | This led to the classification and description of many new species of plants and animals, and also to advances in medicine.

6: The economy of West Asia during the Islamic period depended very heavily on trade. In the north of the Islamic Empire was the Silk Road, running across China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Iran, and Syria to Lebanon, the Byzantine Empire, and across the Mediterranean to Italy. There wasn't really a road. It was just the track people went along. It led through deserts and over very high mountain passes, so it was a difficult and dangerous routeAs the name implies, silk was a very important part of what was traded along the Silk Road. But other things also traveled – from China, cotton cloth, paper, furs, lacquerwork and jade. From Africa, the Mediterranean and West Asia, traders carried gold, silver, ivory, glass, and jewels. | Traders in the Islamic Empire also controlled another very rich trade route from India to Egypt by way of the Arabian Peninsula. Most of these traders went by sea, taking advantage of the monsoon wind patterns to sail their ships. From the Mediterranean and Africa, these traders brought gold, glass, and ivory. They exchanged these things in India for cinnamon, frankincense, black pepper, and other spices, and for oranges, though by 300 AD people were beginning to grow oranges for themselves even in Italy.

7: Islamic Economy | But even though Islamic people made a lot of money from trade, most people in the Islamic Empire were still farmers or herders. You couldn't farm efficiently enough to feed very many people who weren't farming, so most people had to farm. The Islamic Empire was great for farmers. Some of that money from conquering people and from trade went into building new irrigation systems and new canals that helped farmers get more out of their land. And the money from trade also helped farmers get through a bad year, or even a lot of bad years in a row.

8: Environment.. | Islam | But on the whole the entire Islamic Empire was still a fairly hot and dry place, and there was always a shortage of water wherever you went. Because the Islamic Empire was mostly in Western Asia and North Africa, you can get a good idea of its environment by checking out the environment of Western Asia and North Africa.

10: CLOTHING..CLOTHING..CLOTHING.. | ISLAM..ISLAM..ISLAM..ISLAM..ISLAM..ISLAM.. | Because the Islamic Empire occupied mostly hot places, people living in the Islamic Empire mostly dressed to protect themselves from the sun. They didn't have any sunscreen then, so the best way to keep from getting sunburns was to keep all your skin covered with cloth as much as possible. At the same time, people also believed that God wanted them to be covered up, especially women, so that men would not see their bodies. People said that women would be safer if their bodies were hidden under layers of cloth. So women in the Islamic Empire wore long, loose tunics, like T-shirts that reached down to your knees, usually made of linen or cotton, and sometimes made of silk. Women also wore loose pants under their tunics. And over their tunics, they wore veils, made of one large piece of cotton, linen, or silk cloth, which they wrapped around them however was most convenient. But if they were out in a crowd, or wanted to seem especially modest, they pulled the veil across their face so no-one could see them.

11: The veil was actually very useful not only for modesty and for keeping the sun off your head, but also for a lot of other purposes: you always had a handkerchief available, or you could use your veil as a baby sling, or a picnic tablecloth, or a bandage, or a little tent, or a light blanket. Islamic men generally dressed a lot the same as women. They also wore tunics, sometimes long but generally only to their knees, and they also sometimes wore loose pants under their tunics. Over the top they had a large piece of cloth, like the veil, but men would call it a cloak. It could be used to keep off the sun or the rain, to keep you warm if it was cold in the desert at night, or as a blanket or a tablecloth, or as a backpack, or to hide your face if you didn't want people to know who you were. Or even as a baby sling sometimes. Often men also wore another, smaller piece of cloth wrapped around their heads like a turban, to keep off the sun.

12: Around the Mediterranean, people continued in the Islamic period to rely on the three main foods from antiquity: wheat, olive oil, and wine. Though technically speaking Islam did not allow alcoholic drinking, still a lot of people did drink wine. People who didn't drink wine began to drink more tea, which came from India or China. | On the other hand, Islam forbade people to eat pig meat (pork and ham and bacon), and people really did stop keeping pigs. Throughout the Islamic empire there is a big change from the Roman to the Islamic period where people stop keeping pigs and start keeping more goats and sheep instead. This unfortunately had a bad effect on the environment, because pigs do not destroy a forest when they live in it, but sheep and goats do.

13: FOOD.. | As a result of there being more sheep and goats, the landscape of North Africa, especially, was stripped of a lot of trees, and a lot of what had been forest turned into bare hills with just little scrubby bushes on them. Without the trees to hold the soil, a lot of dirt washed off the hills into the ocean, and the farmland was no longer as good as it had been before. | Another important change in food in the Islamic period was that people began growing and eating more citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, which had mainly been grown in India and China before this time. This may have helped a lot with getting enough Vitamin C, which before people had gotten from wine vinegar and cabbages mainly.

14: By the Abbasid period, even plants and buildings were frowned on. Most of the art was geometric designs. | from the Koran to decorate buildings, plates, and vases. | Art.. | Mosaic from the Great Mosque in Damascus For the earliest years of the Islamic Empire, under the Umayyad dynasty, we don't have very much art surviving. The best of it is the elaborate mosaics on the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem and on the Great Mosque in Damascus. These mosaics are done in a Roman style, probably by Roman craftsmen. | A lot of these designs seem to be from fabric patterns. The Arabs, because they were nomadic, had always relied on carpets and hangings for decoration. Now that they lived in buildings, they used those same familiar patterns only in stone or tile. They often used calligraphy of verses

15: Art & Literature.. | Arabic Script.. | After the Islamic conquests of the late 600's AD, people soon began to speak Arabic all over the Islamic Empire, from Afghanistan to Spain, and people speak Arabic in even more places today (though not in Spain). By 1000 AD, people spoke Arabic in India. | Many people began to write in Arabic. Among the first things to be written was the Koran, but soon many scientific texts and medical books and math books were written in Arabic, and also stories like the Arabian Nights or the story of Aladdin. There were many Arab historians, geographers, philosophers, and poets. Also, in the eastern part of the Islamic Empire, many people spoke and wrote in Persian (an Indo-European language).

16: Islamic Games | The big new game of the Islamic Empire was chess. The Arabs learned to play chess from the Sassanians when they conquered them, and probably the Sassanians learned it from people in India. Indian people themselves seem to have learned at least some version of chess from people in China. Then when the Arabs took over Spain, in 711 AD, they brought chess with them, and it began to spread from there to the rest of Europe. The men and women returning from Crusade also brought back chess sets with them to northern Europe.

17: Chess, checkers, and backgammon to a large extent replaced the gambling games with dice which had been very popular under Roman rule. Islam forbade any kind of gambling. | Wrestling at the Ottoman court, about 1500 AD Roman-style violent spectator sports persisted into the Islamic period, especially bear-baiting, which remains popular in Pakistan today. Cock-fighting was also popular. But the gladiatorial games of the Romans, where people were killed, were not fought among the Muslims. In the Ottoman Empire, wrestling was the main sport.

18: ARCH I TECTURE | In the end, though, the Islamic Empire made it so easy to travel around that all the architects got to know each other's styles, and there got to be one main style of building all across the Islamic Empire. As the empire broke down into a lot of smaller kingdoms, the ruler of each kingdom needed to show how important he was, so he built mosques and palaces in his own capital. One of the earliest mosques is the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, from the 600's AD. It's octagonal, like Hadrian's Pantheon, instead of being cross-shaped like a Christian church. In the late 700's AD, the new Arab rulers of North Africa marked their new territory by building great mosques like the one at Kairouan (modern Tunisia) and the one at Cordoba in Spain. In the end, though, the Islamic Empire made it so easy to travel around that all the architects got to know each other's styles, and there got to be one main style of building all across the Islamic Empire. As the empire broke down into a lot of smaller kingdoms, the ruler of each kingdom needed to show how important he was, so he built mosques and palaces in his own capital.

19: Mosque

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  • Title: General Travel
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