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Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi on the Scholars of Timbuktu  

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi

Born in Timbuktu in 1596, Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi wrote, in Arabic, a chronicle entitled Tarikh al-Sudan (History of the Sudan). The document addresses the political, cultural, and religious ... More

The Adventures of Telemachus  

Francois Fénelon

A Catholic priest and writer, François Fénelon (1651–1715) was enlisted by the church to preach to French Protestants (Huguenots) in order to bring them back to orthodox belief. His ... More

Amulet containing passages from the Qur’an, worn by Muslim slaves who rioted in Bahia, Brazil  

João José Reis

Although slavery was not abolished in Brazil until 1888, slave revolts were frequent and remarkable for their ambitions, success, and diversity of participating elements. Two urban revolts ... More

Ancestor Worship and Human Sacrifice from the Shi Jing  

Anonymous

During both the Shang and Zhou dynasties (1556-1046 BCE; 1046-256 BCE) families, both noble and common, worshipped and sacrificed to their ancestors. These sacrifices were of the utmost ... More

Anonymous, Edicts of Aurangzeb  

Anonymous

When he became emperor in 1658, Aurangzeb attempted a radical “Islamification” of Mughal India, imposing a strict interpretation of Sharia law and implementing reforms that he thought would ... More

The Baburnama  

Babur

Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur (1483–1530) was born a prince of Fergana in Transoxiana (modern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), a region that had been conquered (briefly) by the army of Alexander the ... More

Bamiyan Buddhas, Afghanistan  

Anonymous

A few months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in the spring of 2001, Taliban officials oversaw a series of explosions in the Bamiyan Valley, which deliberately detonated priceless ... More

The Clash of Civilizations  

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Huntington (1927–2008) was an influential political scientist who taught for most of his career at Harvard University. He was the author of numerous books and articles on politics ... More

Concerning Whether Heretics Should Be Persecuted  

Sebastian Castellio

In October 1553, the extraordinarily gifted Spanish scientist Michael Servetus was executed with the approval and the strong support of John Calvin and his followers in Geneva. The charge ... More

Copper Head of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Vietnam  

Anonymous

This head, crafted from copper alloy, is all that remains of an impressive image found in central Vietnam. It depicts the Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of Buddhist compassion, and the ... More

Cosmas Indicopleustes (Cosmas The India-Voyager), Christian Topography  

Cosmas

This remarkable account of a merchant’s travels throughout Eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and India resulted from the singular obsession of a monk in retirement. Determined to prove ... More

The Decameron, “Putting the Devil Back in Hell”  

Giovanni Boccaccio

A Latin scholar, poet, and biographer, Boccaccio (1313–1375) is most famous today as the author of the Decameron. This compilation of 100 tales, by turns serious, bawdy, and irreverent, ... More

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen  

Committee

Like the American Declaration, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a stirring statement of Enlightenment principles concerning both the individual’s role in the state ... More

Description of Northern Africa  

‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Bakrī

Al-Bakrī was born in Spain, and it appears that he never left that country. However, he collected information from people he met who had traveled to the Sahara and the Sudan, and he ... More

The Disposition of Error  

Mou Tzu

When Buddhism reached China it encountered an already established civilization with deeply rooted literary and intellectual traditions. In addition, the scholarly elite of China was ... More

Examination of Lady Jane Grey, London  

John Foxe

Jane Grey, the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary, was born in 1537, the same year as Edward VI, the only surviving son of the king who had sought a male heir so desperately. Jane, ... More

Failed Prophecies, Glorious Hopes  

Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty (1931–2007) was an American philosopher who taught at Stanford, Princeton, and the University of Virginia. Rorty became associated with a form of American philosophy known as ... More

“Fatwa”  

Osama bin Laden

In 1992, al-Qaeda (“the base”) under the leadership of Osama bin Laden (1957–2011) had emerged as a significant terrorist organization operating on an international scale. Bin Laden, the ... More

The Fetha Nagast, Ethiopia  

Anonymous

In the medieval period Ethiopia became a multiethnic, multilingual, and multireligious state in which the kings limited the church’s conversion efforts. Nevertheless, the kings continued to ... More

The Five Jewels  

Muhammad Ghawth Gwaliori

In sixteenth-century Hindustan, the Sufi mystic Muhammad Ghawth claimed to have experienced an astounding ascension through multiple heavenly spheres up to the throne of God. This intensely ... More

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