Join British historian Bettany Hughes as she examines a long-buried chapter of European history–the rise and fall of Islamic culture in what is now Spain and Portugal.
Although generations of Spanish rulers have tried to expunge this era from the historical record, recent archeology and scholarship now shed fresh light on the Moors who flourished in Al-Andalus for more than 700 years.
This fascinating documentary explodes old stereotypes and offers shocking new insights. You’ll discover the ingenious mathematics behind Granada’s dazzling Alhambra Palace, trace El Cid’s lineage to his Moorish roots, and learn how the Iberian population willingly converted to Islam in droves.
Through interviews with noted scholars, you’ll see how Moorish advances in mathematics, astronomy, art, and agriculture helped propel the West out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance. What emerges is a richly detailed portrait of a sensuous, inquisitive, and remarkably progressive Islamic culture in Christian Europe
An Islamic History of Europe
Rageh Omaar uncovers the hidden story of Europe’s Islamic past and looks back to a golden age when European civilization was enriched by Islamic learning. Rageh travels across medieval Muslim Europe to reveal the vibrant civilization that Muslims brought to the West. This evocative film brings to life a time when emirs and caliphs dominated Spain and Sicily and Islamic scholarship swept into the major cities of Europe. His journey reveals the debt owed to Islam for its vital contribution to the European Renaissance.
The Islamic World
The rise of Islam is one of the most important events in world history. In the 7th century, Mohammed’s intention was to unite the divided Arabs through a new religion. A century after his death, he’d succeeded in producing a medieval superpower. The Arabs and Moors had spread through Spain towards the Pyrenees. Cordoba became renowned as one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in Europe. Moorish cities such as Toledo and Seville were famed for their new culture and universities.
The first What The Ancients Did For Us programme explores the Muslim contribution to the western world – in art, architecture, astronomy, medicine, science, and learning. The early Muslims are credited with inventing distillation and could distil just about anything – from alcohol to perfume. Hygiene is very important in the Muslim world so they invented and manufactured soap – centuries before the West – and hundreds of bathhouses were built throughout Muslim cities.
They understood the fundamentals of light and how we see, and gave us the camera obscura. They invented algebra and worked out the angle of the tilt of the earth. They built the first windmill, pioneered the concept of the crank rod, and designed the first ever torpedo.
Muslim creativity also led to the invention of a unique instrument called the astrolabe – it could find the direction of Mecca, tell the time and, with the help of the stars, navigate you across deserts and oceans. But perhaps most important of all they pursued the cause of knowledge, translating and preserving the works of the ancients and building the world’s largest libraries – their ‘houses of wisdom’