Ten incredible texts from our ancient past

Ten incredible texts from our ancient past

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10. The ancient texts of Timbuktu

The ancient texts of Timbuktu

Located at the gateway to the Sahara desert in what is now Mali, within the confines of the fertile zone of the Sudan, Timbuktu is one of the cities of Africa whose name is the most heavily charged with history.  Founded in the 5th century, it became an intellectual and spiritual capital, reaching its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries.   Around seven hundred years ago, it was a bustling hub where travellers from Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, and Morocco met to trade in salt, gold, ivory and unfortunately, slaves.  But it wasn’t only ‘goods’ that were exchanged. Timbuktu was a place where ideas, philosophies, intellectual thought, and religious beliefs came together in a dynamic mix, and one of the primary ways in which such ideas were exchanged was through the sale of books.  The ancient texts of Timbuktu are an impressive sight – bundled in camel skin, goat skin, or calf leather and inscribed in gold, red, and jet-black ink, their pages are filled with words in striking calligraphy from Arabic and African languages, and contain an intriguing array of geometric designs. Subjects in the collections, spanning the 13th through 17th century, include the Koran, Sufism, philosophy, law, maths, medicine, astronomy, science, poetry and much more.  The manuscripts provide a window into the minds of the times' leading thinkers as they pondered the meanings of their circumstances. 

By April Holloway

Comments

I see our recent past Renaissance, was done Much earlier and this text is proof of that :)
That is a serious piece of archeology :) Double Thumbs up to who found that !

Ragnar Taltos's picture

I'm looking online for an English translation of the Dunhuang Manuscripts. Having a look into the daily lives of people who lived so long ago is fascinating and I'd love to be able to read about them. Does anyone happen to know if an English translation is available online somewhere?

Excellent article Btw! I love this kind of thing. :)

“Under the Capitalist Sun, there is Nothing Sacred” Dr. Li-Chuan Chen

Come to Tamil Nadu (South India)...we have lot of ancient palm leaves, inscriptions of sangam period...

Bill, do a research before you post a comment showing ignorance ... Mogao Caves is a well known UNESCO protected site in China...

aprilholloway's picture

They are precisely as described - a series of caves called 'Mogao Caves' located near Dunhuang. 

Rudeness and arrogance is not welcome here. 

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