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Fernand Braudel

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For four or five centuries, Islam was the most brilliant civilization in the Old World. (...) At its higher level the golden age of Muslim civilization was both an immense scientific success and a exceptional revival of ancient philosophy. These was not its only triumphs; literature was another: but they eclipse the rest. First, science: it was there that the Saracens (...) made the most original contributions. These, in brief, were nothing less than trigonometry and algebra (with its significantly Arab name). (...) Equally distinguished were Islam's mathematical geographers, its astronomical observatories and instruments (...). The Muslims also deserve high marks for optics, for chemistry (...) and for pharmacy. More than half the remedies and healings aids used by the West came from Islam (...). Muslim medical skill was incontestable. (...) In the field of philosophy, what took place was rediscovery - a return, essentially of the peripatetic philosophy. The scope of this rediscovery, however, was not limited to copying and handling on, valuable as that undoubtely was. It also involved continuing, elucidating and creating.
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A History of Civilizations , Penguin, 1995, p.73-81

 
Fernand Braudel

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