Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society
The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World
Did you know that Arabic was for centuries the lingua franca in an area stretching from the south of Spain to the Chinese border? And that the Middle East under Muslim rule was the world’s beating heart of trade, but also of science and scholarship?
This online course focuses on the fascinating history of the Medieval Arabic world. It will take you on a journey through the Middle Ages starting off in eighth-century Baghdad. Along the old pilgrim trails we will go to places like Mecca, Jerusalem and Najaf. We will visit the Abbasid court, the Harem of the caliph, and the palace of the Mamluk Sultan.
We will show you some beautiful medieval manuscripts that live on as the silent witnesses of the impressive achievements of scientists and medical doctors of this forgotten era. European scholarship in the Renaissance leaned heavily on the texts and inventions from the Middle East, which were the outcome of this sophisticated advanced society.
All along we will present you with historiographical debates and dilemma’s, reflecting on the way we look at and interpret history. And while taking you on this journey, we will travel back and forth in time explaining to you how events of the past affected and shaped the world as we know it today.
To enroll in this free online course go to Coursera.