From Baghdad to Cordoba

From Baghdad to Córdoba

Topic Overview

This lecture will explore classical Islamic civilisation from around 750-1250. This period witnessed the rise of a number of cities in the Islamic world which functioned as significant cultural hubs within and beyond the Islamic world. This period is often now branded as a ‘Golden Age’ and a moment when Muslims and non-Muslims working in the Islamic world generated world leading science of various kinds. This has both positive and negative aspects in the present which will also be considered in the lecture.


Books, articles etc that would be helpful for the teachers to use in preparing their own lessons

  • K. Bennison, The Great Caliphs, London: IB Tauris (2009).
  • Dodds, M. Menocal and A. Balbale (eds), The Arts of Intimacy,
  • Hitchcock, Muslim Spain Reconsidered from 711-1502, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2014).
  • Kennedy, The Court of the Caliphs: When Baghdad ruled the Muslim World. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson (2004).
  • Salvatore, R. Tottoli, B. Rahimi (eds), The Wiley Blackwell History of Islam, Oxford: John Wiley (2018).



  • BBC Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’, numerous episodes on Islamic Civilization and History, including several on Islamic philosophers and scientists such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and al-Biruni.
  • BBC Documentary: Science and Islam by Jim al-Khalili, available on YouTube.
  • BBC Documentary: An Islamic History of Europe by Rageh Omar, available on YouTube.
  • BBC Radio 3, The Essay: The Islamic Golden Age, 20 episodes,


The lecture notes are available here

The full talk can be seen here: