Part 15 Cordoba, The Shinning Light of Europe

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1 Part 15 Cordoba, The Shinning Light of Europe

2 By the 9th century, Córdoba was the largest and richest city in Europe

3 Córdoba: the city that changed the world Bustling Roman metropolis, jewel in the crown of Arabic Andalusia and cultural custodian during the dark ages, Córdoba sparked the dawn of western civilization.

4 The great paper mills of Cordoba raised the paper making industry to a new level never imagined before.

5 The Mezquita All the cultures and religions intersect here. They have not simply lived side by side, they have influenced each other, and in Córdoba you can see the living proof of this in the architecture. The pillars of the Mezquita, famously, came from ruined churches and Roman ruins all over the Arab-ruled world. (There are even two pillars given as a gift by the Byzantine empire a tribute from the last hours of the Roman world to the early hours of the Arab.) Note: there is no front to a Mosque because there is no preacher...you just prey.

6 Universities sprang up as the influx of hungry Europeans poured into Cordoba to partake of the knowledge banquet that now out shown the world. This was without religious or ethnic restrictions as to who could learn or teach, it was about knowledge and interchange. per wikipedia: During the 11th and 12th centuries, many Christian scholars travelled to Muslim lands to learn sciences. Also during the 11th to the 14th centuries, numerous European students attended Muslim centers of higher learning (which were called "universities") to study medicine, philosophy, mathematics, cosmography and other subjects.

7 Averroes Chief among the philosophers was Averroes, one of the foremost thinkers of the age. Born in Córdoba in 1126, Averroes has been described as one of the key influences on scientific and philosophical thought during the transition from ancient to modern methods. His work, along with the works of Moses Maimonides (a Jewish philosopher, also from Cordoba) and Aristotle, would become cornerstones of new thinking in the great universities of Europe. Averroes was a defender of Aristotelian philosophy against Muslim theologians. Averroes' philosophy was considered controversial in Muslim circles. Averroes had a greater impact on Western Europe circles and he has been described as the "founding father of secular thought in Western Europe". The detailed commentaries on Aristotle earned Averroes the title "The Commentator" in Europe. Latin translations of Averroes' work led the way to the popularization of Aristotle and were responsible for the development of scholasticism in medieval Europe.

8 The Averroes Legacy This is the famous painting representing Averroes teaching all the academics in Europe to move beyond blind belief, encouraging the use of Reasoning and Debate. This was unheard of before this time...it altered Western philosophical thought and academics forever.

9 Knowledge Culture With a new, easier writing system, introduction of paper, and a book binding industry, it became possible to make living from simply writing and selling books.

10 The Jewel of the World Córdoba became the capital of Iberia and had a population of roughly 500,000 inhabitants. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Córdoba was one of the most advanced cities in the world as well as a great cultural, political, financial and economic centre. Córdoba had 3,000 mosques, splendid palaces, a network of public hospitals and 300 public baths. It was the center of the worlds book industry, drawing buyers from all over the world. As evidence it supported the largest library in the world, housing from 400,000 to 1,000,000 volumes. Reinhardt Dozy wrote: The fame of Córdoba penetrated even distant Germany: where poets referred to Cordoba as the Jewel of the World.

11 At the crossroads of history To visit Córdoba is to be confronted with a new version of the past. Most westerners learn of the Greeks, the Romans, the European colonies. It is a strictly occidental viewpoint. Our learning has, we assume, come to us in a direct line from the Greeks. But in fact this is wrong. The significance of Córdoba in the world's history springs from two things. First, it is the place where, for a few centuries, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity coexisted relatively peacefully, in the years before the more brutal fundamentalisms of the Crusades. But second, it is where the culture of the Arabs was brought into contact with the west, where Islamic thinkers gave consideration to the works of great philosophers, where they carried the flame of these works while the rest of Europe struggled through the dark ages. Islam too has played its part in the long history of rationalism; as Richard Fletcher has put it: "Modern science begins in 13th-century Europe, based firmly on the plinth furnished by translations from Arabic and Greek."

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