Oriental Mathematics (Arabic, Hindu and Chinese)

Marcos Leandro Ohse

With Roman rule throughout Greece and the subsequent closure of the Athens school by Emperor Justinian, Greek mathematics and science declined.

Many researchers took their manuscripts and fled from nearby Greece to the Middle East. This made Oriental science flourish very quickly. This increase in the oriental sciences was very important for the development of mathematics.

Throughout the period when the Roman Empire dominated the known world of the time, both economically and culturally, the East was the most developed part. The western part was not based on an irrigation economy, its agriculture was extensive, which did not stimulate the development of astronomy. Thus the West was content with a minimum of astronomy, some arithmetic, and some measurements for trade and surveying. The stimulus for this development came from the east. After the political separation between West and East, this stimulus practically disappeared.


Historical context

Until the seventh century the Arabs were divided into several tribes, some sedentary and some nomadic. Usually these tribes were hostile to each other. These tribes, since ancient times occupied the Arabian peninsula, located in the near east and limited by the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

In 613 Muhammad (570-632) begins the preaching of a new religion as a prophet of Allah (one true God). This new religion was called Islamic religion (Islam means submission).

In 622 the "hijrah" occurs, moving from Muhammad from Mecca to Yatreb because of the persecution suffered, marking the beginning of the Islamic calendar. After many years of struggle, Muhammad manages to impose the new religion on all Muslims, with Mecca being the main holy city. The other cities were soon also conquered and adhered to Islam.

After Muhammad's death, the Arabs were ruled by the caliphs (Allah trusted the care of the faithful). These caliphs extended Muslim rule from India to the Iberian peninsula. This Arab expansion helped Europe internalize the economy and increase the ruralization of society, expanding the feudal process.

In the beginning, relations between Christian Europe and Muslims was extremely violent and antagonistic. During this period crusades begin to take back the holy city of Jerusalem from Islamic rule. The Muslim attacks virtually made Christian trade in the western Mediterranean disappear, further contributing to the feudalism process in Europe. In the Iberian Peninsula the Arabs carried out an agricultural revolution by building irrigation canals, dams and water mills, introducing the cultivation of sugar cane, cotton, hemp and rice. Coins were minted throughout the empire in Baghdad, the empire's capital. Leather work in Cordoba and irrigation canals in Valencia were some of the solutions developed in the economy.

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