This an image of the Hagia Sophia, the cathedral of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. It was built in the early 6th century by the Emperor Justinian and stands today, almost 1,500 years later, despite earthquakes, wars, and revolutions. The Hagia Sophia began its life as a Christian church, became a Muslim mosque and is now a museum.
This source is a part of the... Read More »
The carved stone relief is from the interior of Candi Mendut, a Buddhist temple in Central Java. Mendut was built during the early Shailendra dynasty in about 824 CE. It may have been built on the site of a Hindu temple from a previous century. The rectangular, stone temple is 26.4 meters (86.6 feet) tall and is constructed on a 2 meter (6.5 feet) platform. The surrounding wall is covered with... Read More »
Our sense of time has been extended into the deep past in the last two centuries or so, and particularly since the 1950s, when Willard Libby showed that you could use the breakdown of radioactive molecules such as Carbon-14 to date events thousands of years before there were any written documents. Since then, geologists and biologists and astronomers have developed a whole battery of... Read More »
This excerpt comes from a chapter of Okina mondô, or Dialog with an Old Man, by Nakae Tôju (1606–1648), a Neo-Confucian philosopher. The Dialog teaches practical ethics through a series of questions and answers between a young disciple, Taijû, and a wise old master, Tenkun. In the section entitled "How to Teach Children," Tenkun's advice reflects the fundamental Confucian view that men are... Read More »
Statesman, jurist, historian, scholar, and philosopher Ibn Khaldun was born in Tunis on May 27, 1332. Ibn Khaldun is an exemplary example of product of the Islamic education that children and youth received. He received a traditional early education of Qur'an, jurisprudence, and Arabic grammar. In his early 20s traveled to Fes to complete his education with the eminent scholars of his day. Ibn... Read More »
During the Abassid period and onward, children four or older in villages and urban centers began attending schools (maktabs) attached to mosques to obtain a basic education in religious matters. Students in a maktab sat in a semicircle on the floor around the teacher writing their lessons on a tablet and then repeating it back for correction. In this illustration, one boy... Read More »