The futuristic inventions of the Islamic Golden Age

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Centuries before the birth of Leonardo Da Vinci, three brothers from Baghdad gathered their designs for more than 100 ahead-of-their-time inventions into a manuscript titled the Book of Ingenious Devices. Also known as the Kitáb al-Hiyal, it contains blueprints for rudimentary gas masks and mechanical digging machines — devices that would not become commonplace for another thousand years.

The brothers — Muhamad, Ahmad, and al-Hasan bin Musa ibn Shakir, who were called the Banu Musa or the “Sons of Moses,” after their father — grew up in the early 9th century AD. It was the dawn of the Islamic Golden Age, an age which they themselves helped bring about. Each brother specialized in a different area of study: Muhamad in astronomy, Ahmad in engineering, and al-Hasan in geometry.

Legend has it that the Banu Musa, left impoverished after their father passed away, were taken under the wing of Abu al-Abbas Abdallah ibn Harun al-Rashid, a caliph remembered for his interest in and support for the development of the arts and sciences. It was on his orders that the brothers set to work on their Book of Ingenious Devices, which they completed around 850 AD.


https://bigthink.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/AdobeStock_230006576.jpg?resize=480,270Credit: WH_Pics / Adobe Stock



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