The years A.D. 755-833 are called the Abbasid Golden Age. Why does the period warrant the designation of Golden Age?

The Abbasid Golden Age from A.D. 755-833 was a time when Muslim culture, art, and literature were at its peak.  The Koran had already been compiled so schools and universities were founded to study the Koran and the Hadith.  Since the main library cities had been conquered, Muslim literature flourished. Poets and philosophers made names for themselves.  Militarily, the Muslims had reached the height of expansion. Through conquest they had taken the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, and the Middle East, and they stood on the borders of India.  Constantinople was in their pay.  The caliphs brought reforms through universal taxation and the postal system.  Walid began the start of the Golden Age and Al-Mu’tasim finished it.  Looking back today, scholars still hold that art, society, literature, and culture have never been higher for the Muslims than this window of time.

– Hannah S. Bowers


How did the Middle East transition from Arab to Ottoman control from A.D. 861 to 1258?

In 861 the Abbasid caliphate held the Middle East, but because of the power of the Turkish mercenaries and the viziers, the caliphate began to collapse.  The mercenaries controlled twelve caliphs; six were murdered and six were imprisoned, blinded, or tortured.  Because the Persians had become powerful, the caliphate invited them to take out the Turkish mercenaries.  The Persian Buyids moved in and took over the empire.  The Seljuk Turks, a newly arrived Turkish family, came into power and were then taken over by the Persian Shahs.  War upon war reigned through the empire until the Ottomans finally took over and brought peace.  The empire increased in size but the power of the caliphs waned. Throughout this time blood feuds and civil wars continued, religious factions developed like Sufism and Manicheanism, and rebellions in outer territories were the norm.  The Middle East fought between three cultures: Arab, Persian, and Turk.  In the end, the Arabs were ruled by foreigners until 1923.

– Hannah S. Bowers

Nature’s Attributes in “Tintern Abbey”

transept2-aug05-ds2464sar80In his poem, “Tintern Abbey,” William Wordsworth makes a god out of nature and declares “nature then… / [to] me was all in all.”[1]  Wordsworth praises nature for possessing attributes which previously were reserved for God alone.  In “Tintern Abbey,” nature exemplifies God’s attributes of omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. Continue reading

Promoting Abolition: Comparing the Three Masters in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

61roythfmml-_sy344_bo1204203200_Uncle Tom—a loving husband, father, friend—lived in Kentucky, a black man enslaved because of white superiority.  In Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author deals with the harsh realities of slavery by emphasizing how slave masters treat their slaves.  The entire story centers on a slave named Tom who was sold after his original master could not pay his debts.  The three masters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin are Shelby, St. Clare, and Legree, each playing a key role in portraying a picture of slavery.  Stowe’s firm belief that blacks are humans and therefore should be treated as such plays itself out in how these three masters treat poor Uncle Tom. Continue reading

Mary Rowlandson’s Observations on Indian Life

Ever since the discovery of America by Europeans,rowlandson the nations of Indians and whites have clashed over and over again in bloody battles of human brutality.  This conflict would continue until the late 1800s.  Many books have been written about the struggles between the Indians and the colonists, but one of the most gripping accounts is that of Mary Rowlandson’s captivity, which started after her house was attacked by Narraganset Indians on January 20, 1676.  After her rescue, Rowlandson wrote a detailed account of her captivity in order that her friends might be able to see how good God was in sparing her life. Not only does she thank God for His many provisions in the narrative, but she also blames the Indians for their savage nature.  During the eleven weeks that she spent as an Indian captive, Mary Rowlandson observed Indian life and agreed with her original prejudice that Indians were indeed barbarians.

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The Exodus Pharaoh

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Question: Which pharaoh ruled Egypt during the Exodus, Thutmose III or Amenhotep II?

Taking the 1446 B.C. date as the time for the Exodus, Thutmose III has been a popular historical choice as the pharaoh of the Exodus. This belief has been widely accepted for years.  The issue of the Exodus pharaoh does not arise from biblical records but rather from Egyptian ones, since the ancient Egyptians would often erase the names and dates of their predecessors. Recently, some of the Egyptian records have been re-examined and new evidence supports the belief that Amenhotep II (1450-1425 B.C.) was the real pharaoh of the Exodus. His timeline answers the questions previously posed by historians who were not satisfied with the Thutmose III choice.  Continue reading

Leroy P. C. McKusick: Civil War Soldier and Musician at Lincoln’s Funeral

McKusick 1Born April 13, 1844 in Limerick, Maine, Leroy Plummer Chase McKusick enlisted in the 2nd Regiment of the District of Columbia Infantry at the beginning of the Civil War. He fought at Bull Run (1861), Antietam (1862), and had his boot heel shot off at Gettysburg (1863). McKusick joined the military band in 1863, playing the solo alto horn until the end of the war in 1865. He played at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral as the band escorted the late president’s body from the Capitol at Washington, D.C. to the railroad station where Lincoln’s body rested in the funeral train before going to Springfield, Illinois.[1]

On August 22, 1867, McKusick married Martha Eleanor Rand of Southport, Maine. They had six children: Mabel Lavinia Baker (1868), Arther Leroy McKusick (1870), Albert Rand McKusick (1875), Meredith Hall McKusick (1878), Jennie Ardelle Lyman (1880), and Forrest Nahum McKusick (1883).[2] One of McKusick’s daughters recorded his war experiences in a letter to his grand-daughter Martha, named for his wife. Continue reading