Green The Science - Literature Essay

  • Length: 17 pages
  • Sources: 17
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #50357583

Excerpt from Essay :

Aristotelian influence predominated together with the wisdom and learning of other ancient writers, while the former was often used as a framework for intellectual debates which readily expanded both philosophy and other areas of knowledge (Grant 127-131). The European university system was established alongside monasteries as centres for the propagation of knowledge. Scholars like Robert Grosseteste, Albertus Magnus, and Roger Bacon wrote about natural science to a growing audience. While Christianity did not recede as a dogmatic cultural system, it was not entirely determinative. Scholars could explore natural phenomena with an openness to past views, although often the learning acquired was purely rational rather than experimental, and was fused with a biblical worldview. In other words, the renaissance of the twelfth century played an integral part in transmitting scientific methodology within a predominantly religious environment that required thinkers to harmonise science with religion.

Other significant achievements took place in less theoretical, and more pragmatic areas of erudition, such as those which were largely responsible for a technological revolution which included the development of advancements in the windmill, compass, and rudder (Crosby). Such inventions directly affected the management of conventional means of production as well as that of economic growth. Other more erudite pursuits included the translation of both Greek and Arabic books on subjects such as philosophy, medicine, mathematics and science, which were readily translated into Latin by scholars such as Gerard of Cremona, who came to Spain to "copy a single text then stayed on to translate some seventy works" (Turner).

6. Gothic Period (According to the literature review, please elaborate into 200 words)

By the late Middle Ages, the pursuit of knowledge under the guise of science was still intertwined with Christianity. Though they placed God at the centre of their universe, Christian scholars were deeply curious about the way the world worked and "rarely allowed theology to hinder their inquiries into the physical world." Nicole Oresme, for example, pursued a quite rigorous examination of the world without recourse to theological explanations. The seeds of Deism were planted, as advocated by natural philosophers such as William of Conches who believed God made the universe, which itself followed predictable natural laws (Hannam 53). Natural philosophy was became the core of medieval curricula, was embraced by the Catholic Church and was disseminated throughout the Catholic Church and Western Europe, as a new Renaissance science outside of older universities which had "already done their foundational work (Grant 173). Concepts of gravity, inertia, momentum and the mechanical universe were being considered while "the most advanced ancient thought had already been discovered and translated" (Hannam 177). Unfortunately, disease and famine plagued Europe for many years during this period, which cut short the expansion of knowledge and scholarship until the later Renaissance. Additionally, peasant revolts in several areas of the continent, particularly in Germany, kept societies unstable and unable to continue their scholarly pursuits (Blickle).

Byzantine Empire

There are several factors which may account for the proficiency of Byzantium economics during the height of this empire's prowess. The fact that the capital city of Constantinople was situated at the nexus between North African, European and Asiatic regions enabled the empire to be a center of trade within all these disparate locations, which would last until the emergence of an Arabic power which would eventually invade and overthrow the empire. Aided by a tax levied in Constantinople, the Byzantium empire amassed significant economic prosperity through the trade of grain and silk, the latter of which was utilized as a means of currency throughout the its borders (Laiou -- Exchange and Trade, 720). Other commodities which this region was able to export included ceramics, salt, oil, wine, fish, vegetables, spices and perfumes, while the trade of slaves took place, but was generally discouraged. The commerce of such products enabled the Byzantium Empire to take control of the Venetians and the Genoese by the 13th century (Matschke 771-772), precipitating the empire's economic decline since it would eventually lose the ability to determine important internal and external economic drivers.

The backbone of the empire's lucrative trade industry was its agriculture, the production of which was generally based near the sea coast areas of the Balkans and Asia Minor. Land owners utilized peasant laborers to tend their crops; village inhabitants were taxed accordingly for the land on which they lived and worked, enabling the state to procure another economic source. Although the prevalence of such workers was relatively low prior to the 9th century, the populations of such commoners burgeoned afterwards, despite the fact that a large percentage of it was deemed unproductive (Lefort 267-270). The production of agriculture and the surplus of trade profits allowed the empire to coin silver and bronze at a value higher than its intrinsic worth (Morrisson, 918-932).

Islamic Golden Age

There are several important economic concepts still in use during contemporary times which may be attributed to innovations of Muslims during the Islamic Golden Age, which developed notions of taxation for goods, contracts, torts, as well as of charity and welfare, and low interest rates. Many of these notions would not be implemented by surrounding regions (such as Europe) for several years after their initial practice in Muslim territories (Spengler 274), until the decline of the Greek and Roman civilizations around the middle of the 13th century (Schumpeter). Much of Islamic law, which of course formally instituted its principles of economics, would go on to playa a decisive role in the formation of European law in its present existence (Roy 132).

The Agricultural revolution was of particular economic importance to the facilitating of commerce and trade during the Islamic Golden Age. Fueled in large part by the importance many of these nation-states placed on scholarship, the cultivation and numbers of Muslim populations flourished, enabling for a greater labor force (Watson) which would establish trade routes and the exportation of agricultural products to Africa, Europe, and Asia. The high rates of literacy in the Muslim played a large part in the flourishing of such commercial activity (Burke 165-186), which included the facilitation of a host of modern economic tools and ideas including promissory notes, trusts, ledgers, checks, and organizational enterprises that were instituted at a state level (Banajai 47-74). One of the most important of these notions was that of the cartel, which its original conception consisted primarily of Muslim vendors from Yemeni, Indian, and Egyptian descent (Postan and Miller 438-440), who would be known as Krharimas and exert a great deal of influence in the controlling of trade routs, the mining of gold, as well as in the methodology of finance and the procuring of copious fortunes (Labib 79-96).

Due in large part to the proficiency of Islamic practitioners in the areas of trade, the Islamic empire emerged as the world's leading economic power from the seventh to the 13th centuries (Hobson 29-30), which enabled it to establish a system of global banking. Muslim traders expanded their routes to include the greater part of Europe (Hobson 29-30) as well as regions throughout the Atlantic and Indian oceans, as well as the Mediterranean and Chinese sea (Labib 79-96). Merchants would frequently purchase goods and sell them based on commission while forming alliances independent of religion or creed and including Christians, Jewish people, atheists as well as pagans. In such a way was the Islamic Empire able to facilitate its international trade, which was so pervasive it allowed for a check to be written up in Baghdad and redeemed for currency in Morocco (Peters 125).


Despite its obvious ecclesiastical pursuits, one of the principle reasons for the facilitation and implementation of the Crusades was to procure additional means of economic prosperity and stability for many of the nations and individuals who participated in the Crusades. One particular economic benefit of the Crusades was the establishment of new trade routes to the Holy Land and throughout the Byzantine Empire for Western Europe and other regions on the continent. Italy, led by Sicilian Normans and city-states such as Venice, Genoa, and Pisa profited the most from trade with regions near the Mediterranean (Lewis A), as Europeans were able to trade for fruits, spices, ivory, diamonds, and gun powder, among other products.

Of additional economic importance during the Crusades was the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which enabled Europeans to introduce a feudal system in the Holy Land which was largely based upon the iqta for pecuniary measures 9 Prawer, 205). The Kingdom also produced revenue by garnering tributary payments from coastal cities including Egypt and Damascus, as well as by levying taxes upon caravans of Islamic passengers which would traverse its boundaries. One of the principles groups to capitalize on these economic transactions and others was the Knights Templars, which are credited with introducing the concept of banking throughout Jerusalem and Europe (Martin 47). The Templars engendered several capitalist concepts within the region, including systems of bonds and checks, which would lead to eventual implementations of ideas accounting for interest accruement and other…

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