appetite for books was no doubt stimulated by the cutting edge technology
of that time: the printing press. This period was called the "Renaissance"
(ca1500 AD) signifying the rapid growth of fresh perspectives and
ideas. Many of these books were scientific, technical, and mathematical
works, most of which had been gathered or written by scientists
during the Islamic Renaissance that peaked some 600 years before
Europe's! Islamic rulers sponsored the systematic collection and
translation of scholarly books from every culture they came across.
For nearly two centuries, a diverse group Islamic thinkers (concentrating
in Iran and the Middle East, but extending from Spain and North
Africa to India and the Far East) amplified, elaborated, and extended
the libraries of scientific knowledge that they had collected. They
made great advances in math and science, observed nature and human
society, amassed discoveries and inventions during the flowering
of Islamic culture. The decline of Islamic learning had begun by
the 11th century. By the 13th and 14th centuries, European translations
of the volumes of Islamic theology, science, and technology had
laid a rich foundation for the birth of modern science. Much of
the library of Islamic sciences remains in Arabic to this day.
S.H. Nasr, Science and Civilization in Islam, Harvard University