Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland

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Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1830), 2:371-392 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Royal Asiatic Society 1830
doi:10.1017/S0950473700000513

Research Article

Description of the Celestial Globe belonging to Major-General Sir John Malcolm, G.C.B., K.L.S., &c. &c., deposited in the Museum of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland


Dr Bernhard Dorn

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dorn b [Google Scholar]

Amongst those sciences which, after a long interval of ignorance and barbarity, were revived by the Mahomedan Arabs, astronomy ranks very high; and it cannot be denied, that had not the Arabs applied themselves to it with great assiduity and zeal, and encouraged all that served to promote its dissemination and advancement, after it had remained almost totally forgotten from the time of Ptolemy, the application to its study would, perhaps, never have extended over so large a portion of the globe as it has done. Although the pagan inhabitants of Arabia, before the time of Islamism, were in the habit of observing the stars, many of which they knew, and denominated by names taken from pastoral life, and several of which they even worshipped as visible gods, yet of a scientific knowledge of astronomy among them no traces can be discovered. The revival, therefore, of this celestial science, was principally attributable to their Mahomedan successors, who introduced its study into Arabia, at a time when the countries around them were immersed in the most deplorable state of mental darkness, which could only be dissipated by slow degrees.

(Received February 21 1829)