Friday, November 21, 2014

Maps to analyze

Here you have the maps to practice for the exam. Choose one of them and send me an e-mail with your choice. If you don't have any preferences, I'll assign you one. We'll do the last one in class, but if you can try, wait until we study these contents in class. 


I haven't included the source of this map, because the information the website provides is not correct.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Analysis of historical maps

Here you have the presentation with the instructions of how to make a map analysis. Tomorrow I will include the maps to practice for the exam.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AL-ANDALUS WISEMEN: Ibn-al-Samh or al-Muhandis


He was born in Cordoba, al‐Andalus, (Spain), 979, and he died in Granada, al‐Andalus, on the 29th May 1035, on the 18th of the  Rayab month in the Muslim calendar, at the age of 56.

Ibn al‐Samḥ, known also as al‐Muhandis (the geometer), was a noted mathematician and astronomer in Andalusia and an important member of the school of Maslama al‐Majrīṭī ,el Madrileño, settled in Cordoba. Because of political unrest, Ibn al‐Samḥ fled to Granada, where he lived (out) for the rest of his life. There he worked in the service of the local chief, the Berber Ḥabbūs ibn Māksan, whose Jewish Minister, Samuel ben Nagrella, was also interested in mathematics and astronomy.

When he moved to Granada with his family, in this city he opened his own academy, where he explained mathematics and astronomy. He came to know and study well the books of Ptolemy.

Ibn al‐Samḥ worked in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, and, possibly, medicine. The 14th‐century historian Ibn al‐Khaṭīb states that Ibn al‐Samḥ wrote an essay on history, but there is no other evidence for this assertion. Ibn al‐Nāshī, one of Ibn al‐Samḥ's most important disciples, gives a list of nine books written by his teacher.

Manuscription in the zīj, an astronomical handbook with tables
In astronomy, Ibn al‐Samḥ, like his teacher Maslama al‐Majrīṭī, composed a zīj (an astronomical handbook with tables) based on Khwārizmī's Sindhind, which had been composed in 9th‐century Baghdad. Ibn al‐Samḥ also composed a treatise on the construction of the astrolabe and another on its use. Although Ibn al‐Ṣaffār's treatise on the astrolabe gained more popularity, this long book (129 chapters on the use of the instrument) is the most complete treatise written in the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. The text is especially interesting because it deals with questions not usually analyzed in works of this kind, such as the visibility of the Moon and its latitude and longitude. His Kitāb al‐ʿAmal is also important; in it we can find a text that shows that the school of Maslama knew and used the works of Battānī. The Kitāb al‐ʿAmal was the source of a treatise on the use of the spherical astrolabe composed at the court of Alphonse X. Since the king's astronomers did not have an Arabic text on the spherical astrolabe from which to make the Castilian translation, they took Ibn al‐Samḥ's treatise and made an adaptation of it. His treatise on the construction of the equatorium – an instrument originally conceived in Al-Andalus and later developed in Latin Europe – is another of Ibn al‐Samḥ's major contributions to astronomy.

Ibn al‐Samḥ is well known for his many compositions in mathematics. His range of subject matters includes calculation, numbers, commercial arithmetic, theory of proportions, arithmetical operations, and the solution of quadratic and cubic equations. His work in geometry includes a commentary on the book of Euclid, and a general treatise that includes an important study of straight, curved, and broken lines.

According to sources that mention him, Ibn al-Samh was the author of numerous articles and books. At least, there is reference about ten books that belong to him.


1. A commentary on Euclid's work as an introduction to the geometry (Kitab al-ila-Madkhal Handasa Uklidus Kitab fi tafsir).

2. Mu'amalat, a book about the nature of the figures (Kitab al-'adad Timar).

3. A history of physics (Kitab al-'adad Tabi'at).

4.  A book of higher geometry (Kitab al-kabir fi-l-Handasa).

5. A treatise, in two parts, about the construction of the astrolabe.

Dismantle astrolabe before being built

6. A second book about the astrolabe, this time on employment and use. In this work, the manuscript is preserved in the British Museum.
An astrolabe, its parts and the things they are refered to

7. Some astronomical tables which were highly praised by the Toledo’s astronomer Azarquiel (Kitab al-Ziy).
Toledo's astonomer Azarquiel

8. A letter about the art of calculation, there is a copy in El Escorial and another copy in Berlin’s Library. It is a short treatise of arithmetic. Its content is divided into ten chapters (Kafiya Risala fi 'ilm al-hisab).

9. A book about the Art of calculation (Kitab al-kamil fi-l-al-Hawa'i hisab).

10. A book called Book of the planet that was written around the year 1026 and which Alphonse X ordered to fix and translate under the title of Book of the instruments of the sheets of the seven planets. This same work was continued by Azarquiel, circa 1081.

Picture that shows the different phases of the Moon


Pilar Quirós Iniesta

AL-ANDALUS WISEMEN: Maslama Al-Mayriti


Âbû-l-QâsimMaslamaibnÂhmad al-Faradi al-Hasib al-Qurtubî al-Maŷrîtî (أبوالقاسممسلمةبنأحمدالمجريطي), which demonym(al-Maŷrītī) means “el madrileño” was anHispano-Arabic astronomer, mathematician, scholar and polygraph, who was born in Madrid in the mid-tenth century and died between 1007 and 1008 in Córdoba. He was one of the first illustrious citizens of Madrid.

He was one of the most renowned intellectuals of the Caliphate and he became known as the Euclid of Spain. He was a great astronomer,he summarized Al-Juwarizmi´s tables and translated Ptolemy’s Planisphere. This knowledge would later be transferred to the Christian kingdoms.

He was also Al-Mansur’s astrological counsellor, indicating the appropriate times to begin his aceifas (militarycampaigns) and it is said that he forecasted the end of the Caliphate and the details of what and when was going to happen before it happened.

Historians have at times misattributed works on magic and alchemyto Al-Mayriti.

The legend says that he had a daughter, named Fatima from Madrid, but the existence of this figure hasn’t been proved by historical sources.

Fátima, the supposed Al-Mayriti's son

He formed a scientific school in Cordoba, where scholars from all Al-Andalus flocked to attend his lessons. Some authors say that Al-Mayriti is the most important figure of Cordoba´s Caliphate in the scientific field and the father of the further expansion and development of mathematics in al-Andalus.

The works of his astronomer and mathematician disciples were very important in the Middle Ages. Among the celebrities who were his direct disciples, we find: Abu BakrYahya B. Ahmad (Ibn al-Jayyat) (980-?), Abu-l-kasimAsbagB.Muhammad al GarnatíIbn al-Samh (980-1035), Abu Abd Allah Muhamed B. Safar al-Qurtubi (¿-1035), Abu-l-Hasan Ali B. Sulayman al-Zahrawi, Abu Muslim Omar B. Ahmad B. Jaldun al-Jadrami (¿-1057), Al-Kirmani (¿-1.066), Abu Utman Said B. Muhammad al-Tulaytuli (Benalbagones).

Both, his work and those from his disciples, enjoyed great fame and popularity throughout the Arab and Latin world of his time and were also a crucial base for elementary spherical astronomy projected on a plane.

The words of IbnHazm, Cordovan writer in his Al-AndalusApologetic Epistle, highlight the importance of Maslama:

"... I have a lack of authority and knowledge in relation to arithmetic and geometry and therefore I cannot trust my knowledge to distinguish, among those who inhabit our country, which are good or mediocre authors. However, I heard of a wise man whose intelligence and good faith I trust and he is considered to be very competent in this area, in terms of astronomical tables none equals those of Maslama and Ibn al-Samh and both authors are our countrymen. "

While he was a young man he left Madrid and moved to Córdoba, where he was a disciple of Abd al Gafir ibn Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Ibn Abi Isa. There he also got into contact with the Cordovan scientists, who were the introducers of Hellenistic science in al-Andalus and gave him access and translation to Greek texts, notably Ptolemy.

His fame became widespread in the second half of the 10thcentury, during al-Hakam II and Hisham II’s caliphates.
Statue of Al-Hakam II in Córdoba

The information provided by QadiSa'id of Toledo (1029-1070, author of a truly universal history of science) in his Tabaqat, on Maslama´s disciples is basic to learn about the Andalusian school of astronomers and mathematicians, who cultivated arithmetic and geometry, as well as astronomy.

According to Professor Julio Samsó, Maslama was interested in the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter that took place in the year 1006/1007 and involved a change of triplicity, since it began in Leo (fire sign) and continued in Virgo (Earth sign ) and because of this conjunction. In the same way, according to other astrological interpretations of illustrious contemporary astrologists, Maslama predicted a change of dynasty, ruin, slaughter and starvation, but did not live long enough to see his prediction, as he died in 1007.

His main scientific achievements were:

An astrolabe
-A brief astrolabe treatise, which has long been confused with the one written by Ibn al-Saffar, where technical construction and use of this instrument is described.

-The adaptation of the Eastern astronomical tables of al-Khwarizmi and Battani  to Cordoba´s meridian, reducing the years to Arab years  and determining the average positions of the planets for the first day of the Hijra (Hegira). The Persian years were about 365 days.

-As a professional astrologer, Maslama was also interested in the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, which took place in 1006/1007; with it he foretold a change of dynasty, ruin, slaughter, and famine.

-The performance of a commercial arithmetic manual for popular use.

-He observed the star Regulus in the year 979 and found its ecliptical longitude to be 135° 40'. Starting from the determination of the longitude of this star, Maslama was then able to determine the longitude for all fixed stars.


Some of his works are:

-Al Mu'amalat, commercial arithmetic book that was about sales, cadastre, tax, etc. Geometric, arithmetic and algebraic procedures are used interchangeably in it.

-One of the works often attributed to Maslama is The Rank of the Sage, composed after 1009; it is alchemical in nature, and gives formulas and instructions for the purification of precious metals and describes the preparation of mercuric oxide on a quantitative basis.

-Al-Qatta Shakl, the notes to the theorem of Menelaus, where he addresses solutions to the problem of passage between celestial coordinates, equatorial coordinates and vertical coordinates, using spherical trigonometry

- Also attributed to Maslama are various opuscules which are in fact extracts, including passages on zoology and alchemy, from the Rasā’il of the Ikhwān al-Safā’, or have a certain relationship with these Rasā’ (like the Risālat al jāmī’a).


Pilar Quirós Iniesta

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Some selected fragments of Isabel

Here you have some fragments of the TV series Isabel. They show some important moments of the Catholic Monarchs' reign. I recommend you to watch the whole series, because it's an extraordinary work and historically accurate. On website, you can also find a lot of extra explanations about the period, curiosities and a complete familiy tree to know the most important figures of the period. 
Oath of allegiance to Joanna, Henry IV's daughter:
Ávila's Farce: Henry IV's symbolic deposition:
Juan Pacheco declares war on Henry IV when Beltrán de la Cueva comes back to the court:
Los Toros de Guisando Agreement: peace between Henry IV and Isabella, his half-sister:
Isabella proclaims herself queen:
Segovia Agreement:
Establishment of the Inquisition in Castile:
Surrender of Granada:
Expulsion of the Jews:
Christopher Columbus reaches the island of Guanahaní:
Treaty of Tordesillas, signed with John II of POrtugal:
Marriage alliances:
Joanna has an attack when her husband Philip comes back to the Low Countries without her:
Joanna is increasingly rebellious against her parents:
Isabella I's death:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Authoritarian Monarchy and Catholic Monarchs' presentation

Here you have the presentation about the Catholic Monarchs and their authoritarian monarchy. Pay special attention to the way they reinforced their power without questioning the powers of the other privileged groups and how the marriage alliances they established with different kingdoms contributed to create Charles I's Empire. 

Presentations of the Christian kingdoms

These are the two presentations to study the Christian kingdoms during the Middle Ages: 

- the first one contains everything about the creation and consolidation of the Christian kingdoms and their conquests of the territory controlled by the Muslims

- the second one includes the feudalization process, the evolution of the crowns of Castile and Aragón and their institutions and the crisis of the Late Middle Ages and the political and social conflicts of the 14th-15th centuries. 

Please, use the presentations for your timelines and sorry for the delay.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My 3 tasks.

Here you can see my projects about Chufín, Cova Fosca and the discoveries about the prehistory in the Iberian Peninsula.
I have to say that, after doing this projects, I want to go to Chufín and Cova Fosca to see what I have learnt, because prehistory in general is interesting, and I want to see the discoveries which have been found in both sites.
I think it has been easy to look for information because, nowadays, you can find whatever you are looking for on the internet. In general, doing the projects has been easy and interesting.
I hope you like my projects. See you!