By John Freely
Aladdin’s Lamp is the interesting tale of the way historic Greek philosophy and technological know-how begun within the 6th century B.C. and, in the course of the subsequent millennium, unfold around the Greco-Roman global, generating the amazing discoveries and theories of Thales, Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, Galen, Ptolemy, etc. John Freely explains how, because the darkish a while shrouded Europe, students in medieval Baghdad translated the works of those Greek thinkers into Arabic, spreading their principles through the Islamic global from principal Asia to Spain, with many Muslim scientists, such a lot significantly Avicenna, Alhazen, and Averroës, including their very own interpretations to the philosophy and technological know-how they'd inherited. Freely is going directly to exhibit how, starting within the 12th century, those texts through Islamic students have been then translated from Arabic into Latin, sparking the emergence of contemporary technological know-how on the sunrise of the Renaissance, which climaxed within the clinical Revolution of the 17th century.
Here is early technological know-how in all its glory, from Pythagorean “celestial concord” to the sun-centered planetary thought of Copernicus, who, in 1543, aided via the mathematical equipment of medieval Arabic astronomers, revived an idea proposed via the Greek astronomer Aristarchus a few eighteen centuries sooner than. whilst Newton laid the principles of recent technological know-how, construction at the paintings of Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and others, he stated that he used to be “standing at the sholders [sic] of Giants,” concerning his predecessors in historic Greece and within the Arabic and Latin worlds from the center a while throughout the Renaissance.
Caliph Harun al-Rashid was once one of many Muslim rulers who first promoted translating Greek texts into Arabic. His Baghdad is the atmosphere for The Thousand and One Nights, during which Scheherazades’s “Tale of Aladdin and His Magic Lamp” displays the marvels of the recent technological know-how and the superb innovations it was once acknowledged to supply. John Freely’s Aladdin’s Lamp returns us to that point and brings to gentle a vital and long-overlooked bankruptcy within the heritage of technology.