The Islamic Golden Age
(8th–11th Centuries)

In the Middle East, the new Islamic dynasty came to be known as the Abbasid Caliphate and is synonymous with the golden age of Islam. The Abbasids moved their capital from Damascus to Baghdad and through trade with the East and through its agricultural wealth, the city soon became one of the richest cities in the world. It remained the political and cultural capital of the Islamic world from that time until the Mongol invasion in 1258. As William Bernstein describes in ‘A Splendid Exchange’, ‘The Arabs, invigorated by their conquests, experienced a cultural renaissance that extended to many fields; the era’s greatest literature, art, mathematics, and astronomy was not found in Rome, Constantinople, or Paris, but in Damascus, Baghdad and Cordova.’29

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