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In the Abbasid Empire, translated many foreign works into Arabic and Persian , built large libraries, and welcomed scholars persecuted by the Byzantine Empire . There was also an imperial library in Ctesiphon (now Al-Mada'in), and works were also translated at the Academy of Gundishapur, during the Islamic conquest of Persia. In 750, the Abbasid dynasty replaced the Umayyad dynasty as head of the Islamic empire, and in 762, the caliph al-Mansur (reigned 754 - 775) built Baghdad and made it his capital (the previous capital being Damascus). The Abbasid dynasty had a strong Persian bent, and adopted many practices from the Sassanid empire - among those, that of translating foreign works, except that now works were translated into Arabic. For this purpose, al-Mansur founded a palace library, modeled after the Sassanid Imperial Library.
The Barmakids were influential in the ensuing movement of restoring and preserving Persian culture. They are also credited with the founding of the first paper mill in Baghdad. The secret of papermaking had been obtained from Chinese prisoners taken at the Battle of Talas (751). Previously, copyists would used papyrus (which is fragile) or parchment (which is expensive). The introduction of paper thus facilitated the multiplication of books and libraries.
Under the sponsorship of caliph al-Ma'mun (reigned 813 - 833), it seems that the House of Wisdom took on new functions related to mathematics,and astrology. The focus also shifted from Persian to Greek texts.
At that time, the library was directed by the poet and astrologer Sahl ibn-Harun (d. 830); the other scholars associated with the library are Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (780 - 850), the Banu Musa brothers (Mohammed Jafar ibn Musa, Ahmad ibn Musa, and al-Hasan ibn Musa), and Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi (801 - 873).
Hunayn ibn Ishaq (809 - 873) was placed in charge of the translation work by the caliph. The most renowned translator was the Sabian Thabit ibn Qurra (826 - 901). Translations of this era were superior to earlier ones, however, soon after, the emphasis on translation work declined, as new ideas became more important.
The House of Wisdom flourished under al-Ma'mun's successors al-Mu'tasim (reign 833 - 842) and al-Wathiq (reign 842 - 847), but declined under the reign of al-Mutawakkil (reign 847 - 861), mainly because Ma'mun, Mu'tasim, and Wathiq followed the sect of Mu'tazili, while al-Mutawakkil followed orthodox Islam. He wanted to stop the spread of Greek philosophy which was one of the main tools in Mu'tazili theology.
The House of Wisdom eventually acquired a reputation as a center of learning, although universities as we know them did not yet exist at this time — transmission of knowledge was done directly from teacher to student, without any institutional surrounding. Madrasahs soon began to develop in the city from the 9th century, and in the 11th century, Nizam al-Mulk founded the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad, considered one of the first universities and the "largest university of the Medieval world".
Along with all other libraries in Baghdad, the House of Wisdom was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258. It was said that the waters of the Tigris ran black for six months with ink from the enormous quantities of books flung into the river.
. Other Houses of Wisdom
Some other places have also been called House of Wisdom:
- In Cairo, Dar al-Hikmah, the "House of Wisdom", was another name of the House of Knowledge, founded by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah in 1004.
- There is a research institute in Baghdad called Bayt al-Hikma after the Abbasid-era research center. While the complex includes a 13th century madrasa, it isn't the same building as the medieval Bayt al-Hikma. It was damaged during the 2003 invasion of Iraq
- In Hamdard University, Pakistan, a library was founded by Hakim Said in 1989. It was named as Bait Ul-Hikmah . It is considered as the second biggest library in Asia.
- ^ Iraq: The 'Abbasid Caliphate, Encyclopedia Britannica
- ^ George Modelski, World Cities: –3000 to 2000, Washington DC: FAROS 2000, 2003. ISBN 2-00309-499-4. See also Evolutionary World Politics Homepage.
- ^ a b Wiet. Baghdad
- ^ Ctesiphon
- ^ Ctesiphon
- ^ Micheau, Francoise, "The Scientific Institutions in the Medieval Near East", pp. 988-991 in (Morelon & Rashed 1996, pp. 985-1007)
- ^ Al-Ghazali on Repentance
- ^ A European Civil Project of a Documentation Center on Islam
- ^ http://www.ihikmah.com/about.php?id=2
- Morelon, Régis & Roshdi Rashed (1996), Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, vol. 3, Routledge, ISBN 0415124107
. External links
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Please improve this article by removing excessive or inappropriate external links.
- Centuries in the House of Wisdom in The Guardian - overall history with particular focus on the House of Wisdom
- Legacy of the Islamic Golden Age, with details on the House of Wisdom
- Pictures of the modern Bayt al-Hikma and the damage it took during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
- Iraq Manuscript Collections, Archives, - Libraries Situation Report, includes a description of the modern Bayt al-Hikma and it's looting.
- Jeff Oaks: The scholarly milieu of Abu'l-Wafa, with references to the House of Wisdom
- Was al-Khwarizmi an applied algebraist? - with discussion of the role of House of Wisdom (references George Makdisi and Dimitri Gutas)
- Translation Movements in Iran; Sassanian Era to Year 2000, Expansion, Preservation and Modernization
- The Transmission of Knowledge - A case study: the Arab acquisition of Greek science.
. See also
Konon, ada seorang raja muda yang pandai. Ia memerintahkan semua mahaguru terkemuka dalam kerajaannya untuk berkumpul dan menulis semua kebijaksanaan dunia ini. Mereka segera mengerjakannya dan empat puluh tahun kemudian, mereka telah menghasilkan ribuan buku berisi kebijaksanaan. Raja itu, yang pada saat itu telah mencapai usia enam puluh tahun, berkata kepada mereka, “Saya tidak mungkin dapat membaca ribuan buku. Ringkaslah dasar-dasar semua kebijaksanaan itu.”