-This article covers the history of Egypt technology, from Ancient Egyptian technology, to the Persian and Hellenistic periods, to medieval Islamic technology, to modern Egyptian technology.

Key to much of this was the motion of the sun god Ra and his annual movement along the horizon at sunrise. Out of Egyptian myths such as those around Ra and the sky goddess Nut came the development of the Egyptian calendar, time keeping, and even concepts of royalty. An astronomical ceiling in the burial chamber of Ramesses VI shows the sun being born from Nut in the morning, traveling along her body during the day and being swallowed at night.

During the Fifth Dynasty six kings built sun temples in honour of Ra. The temple complexes built by Niuserre at Abu Gurab and Userkaf at Abusir have been excavated and have astronomical alignments, and the roofs of some of the buildings could have been used by observers to view the stars, calculate the hours at night and predict the sunrise for religious festivals.

Claims have been made that precession of the equinoxes was known in Ancient Egypt prior to the time of Hipparchus This has been disputed however on the grounds that pre-Hipparchus texts do not mention precession and that "it is only by cunning interpretation of ancient myths and images, which are ostensibly about something else, that precession can be discerned in them, aided by some pretty esoteric numerological speculation involving the 72 years that mark one degree of shift in the zodiacal system and any number of permutations by multiplication, division, and addition."

Note however that the observation that a stellar alignment has grown wrong does not necessarily mean that the Egyptians understood or even cared what was going on. For instance, from the Middle Kingdom on they used a table with entries for each month to tell the time of night from the passing of constellations: these went in error after a few centuries because of their calendar and precession, but were copied (with scribal errors) for long after they lost their practical usefulness or possibly the understanding of them.

Medicine Edit

The Edwin Smith papyrus is one of the first medical documents still extant, and perhaps the earliest document which attempts to describe and analyze the brain: given this, it might be seen as the very beginnings of neuroscience. However, medical historians believe that ancient Egyptian pharmacology was largely ineffective. According to a paper published by Michael D. Parkins, 72% of 260 medical prescriptions in the Hearst Papyrus had no curative elements. sewage pharmacology first began in ancient Egypt and was continued through the Middle Ages, and while the use of animal dung can have curative properties, it is not without its risk. Practices such as applying cow dung to wounds, ear piercing, tattooing, and chronic ear infections were important factors in developing tetanus. Frank J. Snoek wrote that Egyptian medicine used fly specks, lizard blood, swine teeth, and other such remedies which he believes could have been harmful.

Mummification of the dead was not always practiced in Egypt. Once the practice began, an individual was placed at a final resting place through a set of rituals and protocol. The Egyptian funeral was a complex ceremony including various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in honor of the deceased. The poor, who could not afford expensive tombs, were buried in shallow graves in the sand, and because of the arid environment they were often naturally mummified.

Other developmentsEdit

The Egyptians developed a variety of furniture. There in the lands of ancient Egypt is the first evidence for stools, beds, and tables (such as from the tombs similar to Tutenkhamen's). Recovered Ancient Egyptian furniture includes a third millennium BC. bed discovered in the Tarkhan Tomb, a c.2550 BC. gilded set from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres I, and a c. 1550 BC. stool from Thebes.

The Egyptians had some form of understanding electric phenomena from observing lightning and interacting with electric fish (such as the Malapterurus electricus) or other animals (such as electric eel).[1] The comment about lightning appears to come from a misunderstanding of a text referring to "high poles covered with copper plates" to argue this[2] but Dr. Bolko Stern has written in detail explaining why the copper covered tops of poles (which were lower than the associated pylons) do not relate to electricity or lightning, arguing that no evidence of anything used to manipulate electricity had been found in Egypt and that this was not a technical installation.[3]

Some of those exploring ancient technology have suggested that there were electric lights used in Ancient Egypt. Engineers have constructed a working model based on their interpretation of a relief found in the Hathor temple at the Dendera Temple complex.[4] Authors (such as Peter Krassa and Reinhard Habeck) have produced a basic theory of the device's operation.[4] The standard explanation, however, for the Dendera light, which comprises three stone reliefs (one single and a double representation) is that the depicted image represents a lotus leaf and flower from which a sacred snake is spawned in accordance with Egyptian mythological beliefs. This sacred snake sometimes is identified as the Milky Way (the snake) in the night sky (the leaf, lotus, or "bulb") that became identified with Hathor because of her similar association in creation.

Persian EgyptEdit

The Persian era of Egyptian history is dated from the 6th century BC to the 4th century BC.

Water technologyEdit

Most rivers in Iran are seasonal and have traditionally not been able to supply the needs of urban settlements. Major rivers like the Arvand, Aras, Zayandeh, Sefid and Atrak were few and far between in the vast lands of Persian antiquity.

With the growth of urban settlements during the ages, locally dug deep wells (up to 100 meters deep) could no longer keep up with the demand, leading to the systematic digging of a specialized network of canals known as Qanat.

Qanat water management systemEdit

The Qanat, a water management system used for irrigation, originated in pre-Achaemenid Persia. The oldest and largest known qanat is in the Iranian city of Gonabad, which, after 2,700 years, still provides drinking and agricultural water to nearly 40,000 people.

There are four main oases in the Egyptian desert. The Kharga Oasis is one that has been extensively studied. There is evidence that as early as the second half of the 5th century BC, water brought in qanats was being used. The qanats were excavated through water-bearing sandstone rock, which seeps into the channel, with water collected in a basin behind a small dam at the end. The width is approximately 60 cm, but the height ranges from 5 to 9 meters; it is likely that the qanat was deepened to enhance seepage when the water table dropped (as is also seen in Iran). From there the water was used to irrigate fields.

There is another instructive structure located at the Kharga oasis. A well that apparently dried up was improved by driving a side shaft through the easily penetrated sandstone (presumably in the direction of greatest water seepage) into the hill of Ayn-Manâwîr to allow collection of additional water. After this side shaft had been extended, another vertical shaft was driven to intersect the side shaft. Side chambers were built, and holes bored into the rock — presumably at points where water seeped from the rocks — are evident.

Ab anbarEdit

Ab Anbars have a long history in Iran, and there are still some ab anbars remaining today from the 13th century. These reservoirs would be subterranean spaces that were connected to the network of kariz in the city. A typical residential ab anbar would be located in the enclosed garden, have the capacity to hold 50 cubic meters, would be filled once every two weeks, and have its inside surfaces cleaned from sediments once a year (called layeh-rubi).

Saqia water wheelEdit

The Saqia, or ox-driven water wheel, was most likely introduced in Persian Egypt during the 6th or 5th centuries BC.


Technology Date Description
Lever c. 1st millenium BC In ancient Egypt, constructors used the lever to move and uplift obelisks weighing more than 100 tons.[5] They were later mentioned by Archimedes in the 3rd century BC. "Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the Earth with it"[note 1] is a remark of Archimedes who formally stated the correct mathematical principle of levers (quoted by Pappus of Alexandria).[6]
Saqia water wheel c. 6th-5th century BC The Saqia, or ox-driven water wheel, was most likely introduced in Persian Egypt during the 6th or 5th centuries BC.[7]
Highway c. 500 BC Around 500 BC, Darius the Great started an extensive road system for the Persian Empire, including the famous Royal Road which was one of the finest highways of its time. The road was used even after Roman times. Because of the road's superior quality, mail couriers could travel 2,699 kilometers (1,700 mi) in seven days.
Qanat water management system c. 5th century BC Introduced by Persian Empire. The Kharga Oasis is one that has been extensively studied. There is evidence that as early as the second half of the 5th century BC, water brought in qanats was being used.
Winch c. 5th century BC The earliest literary reference to a winch can be found in the account of Herodotus of Halicarnassus on the Persian Wars (Histories 7.36), where he describes how wooden winches were used to tighten the cables for a pontoon bridge across the Hellespont in 480 BC. Winches may are believed to have been employed even earlier in Assyria. By the 4th century BC, winch and pulley hoists were regarded by Aristotle as common for architectural use in the ancient world (Mech. 18; 853b10-13).[8]

Hellenistic EgyptEdit

Under Hellenistic rule from the 4th century BC to the 1st century BC, Egypt was one of the most prosperous regions of the Hellenistic civilization. The ancient Egyptian city of Rhakotis was renovated as Alexandria, which became the largest city around the Mediterranean Basin. Under Roman rule, from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD, Egypt was one of the most prosperous regions of the Roman Empire, with Alexandria being second only to ancient Rome in size.

The water wheel originates from Egypt, where it appeared by the 3rd century BC. This is seen as an evolution of the paddle-driven water-lifting wheels that had been known in Egypt a century earlier. According to John Peter Oleson, both the compartmented wheel and the hydraulic Noria may have been invented in Egypt by the 4th century BC, with the Sakia being invented there a century later. This is supported by archeological finds at Faiyum, Egypt, where the oldest archeological evidence of a water-wheel has been found, in the form of a Sakia dating back to the 3rd century BC. A papyrus dating to the 2nd century BC also found in Faiyum mentions a water wheel used for irrigation, a 2nd-century BC fresco found at Alexandria depicts a compartmented Sakia, and the writings of Callixenus of Rhodes mention the use of a Sakia in Ptolemaic Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy IV in the late 3rd century BC.

Ancient Greek technology was often inspired by the need to improve weapons and tactics in war. Ancient Roman technology is a set of artifacts and customs which supported Roman civilization and made the expansion of Roman commerce and Roman military possible over nearly a thousand years. Egyptian science and technology played an instrumental role in both the Greek and Roman civilizations.


During the Hellenistic period, Egypt invented many technologies and improved upon pre-existing technologies. The Hellenized Egyptian engineer Heron of Alexandria developed a basic steam-powered device and demonstrated knowledge of mechanic and pneumatic systems. Archimedes, who studied in Egypt, developed several machines. The citizens of Hellenistic Egypt were able to combine scientific research with the development of new technologies. One example is the screw-pump; this technology was conceptualized in mathematics, then built. Other technologies that were developed during wikipedia:Hellenistic period include the ballistae, the piston pump, and primitive analog computers like the astrolabe. Hellenistic architects were responsible for building domes, and explored the golden ratio and its relationship with geometry and architecture.

Apart from Hero of Alexandria's steam aeolipile, Egyptian technicians at the time built watermills and windwheels. Water power was later used extensively in in the Middle Ages.

Other developments during this era include torsion catapults, pneumatic catapults, crossbows, cranes, rutways, organs, the keyboard mechanism, gears, differential gears, screws, refined parchment, showers, dry docks, diving bells, odometer and astrolabes. In architecture, engineers constructed monumental lighthouses such as the Pharos and devised central heating systems.

Automata like vending machines, automatic doors and other ingenious devices were built by Hellenistic Egyptian engineers as Ctesibius, Philo of Byzantium and Heron. Egyptian technological treatises written in Greek were scrupuously studied by later Arabic/Islamic scholars and influenced further technological advances.

Water technologyEdit

One of the foundations for many modern technological achievements would include water resources, like drinking water. Some fields that were encompassed in the area of water resources (mainly for urban use), would include such areas as groundwater exploitation, construction of aqueducts for water supply, storm water and wastewater sewerage systems, flood protection and drainage, construction and use of fountains, baths and other sanitary and purgatory facilities, and even recreational uses of water.

Nubians from after about 400 BC used wheels for spinning pottery and as water wheels It is thought that Nubian waterwheels may have been ox-driven It is also known that Nubians used horse-driven chariots imported from Egypt.


Islamic EgyptEdit

Under Islamic Arab rule from the 7th century onwards, Egypt once again became one of the most prosperous regions around the Mediterranean. The Egyptian city of Cairo was founded by the Fatimid Caliphate and served as its capital city. At the time, Cairo was second only to Baghdad, capital of the rival Abbasid Caliphate. After the fall of Baghdad, however, Cairo overtook it as the largest city in the Mediterranean region until the early modern period.

Inventions in medieval Islam covers the inventions developed in the medieval Islamic world, a region that extended from Al-Andalus and Africa in the west to the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia in the east. The timeline of Islamic science and engineering covers the general development of science and technology in the Islamic world.

A number of inventions were developed in the medieval Islamic world, a geopolitical region that has at various times extended from Spain and Africa in the west to the Indian subcontinent and Malay Archipelago in the east.The inventions listed here were developed during the medieval Islamic world, which covers the period from the early Caliphate to the later Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires. In particular, the majority of inventions here date back to the Islamic Golden Age, which is traditionally dated from the 8th to the 13th centuries, but has been extended to the 15th century by recent scholarship. For later inventions, see Inventions in the modern Islamic world.

Notable Muslim inventors from the 8th to 18th centuries included Muhammad al-Fazari, Geber, the Banū Mūsā brothers, Armen Firman, Abbas Ibn Firnas, al-Razi (Rhazes), Ammar ibn Ali al-Mawsili, Abu-Mahmud al-Khujandi, Ibn Yunus, Abu al-Qasim (Abulcasis), Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen), Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, Arzachel, Ibn Bassal, Ibn Samh, Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar), al-Khazini, Sharaf al-Dīn al-Tūsī, Hasan al-Rammah, Taqi al-Din, the Çelebi brothers, Tipu Sultan, Sake Dean Mahomet, and especially al-Jazari, who is considered the "father of robotics"[9] and the "father of modern day engineering".


  • Lusterware: Lustre glazes were applied to pottery in Mesopotamia in the 9th century; the technique soon became popular in Persia and Syria.[10] Lusterware was later produced in Egypt during the Fatimid caliphate in the 10th-12th centuries. While the production of lusterware continued in the Middle East, it spread to Europe—first to Al-Andalus, notably at Málaga, and then to Italy, where it was used to enhance maiolica.
  • Tin-glazing: The tin-glazing of ceramics was invented by Muslim potters in 8th-century Basra, Iraq. Tin-opacified glazing was one of the earliest new technologies developed by the Islamic potters. The first examples of this technique can be found as blue-painted ware in 8th-century Basra.[11]
  • Tin-glazed pottery: The earliest tin-glazed pottery appears to have been made in Iraq in the 9th century, the oldest fragments having been excavated during the First World War from the palace of Samarra about fifty miles north of Baghdad.[12] From there, it spread to Egypt, Persia and Spain, before reaching Italy in the Renaissance, Holland in the 16th century, and England, France and other European countries shortly after.

Glass industryEdit

  • Glass factory: The first industrial complex for glass and pottery production was built in Ar-Raqqah, Syria, in the 8th century. Extensive experimentation was carried out at the complex, which was two kilometres in length, and a variety of innovative high-purity glass were developed there. Two other similar complexes have also been discovered, and nearly three hundred new chemical recipes for glass are known to have been produced at all three sites.[13] The first glass factories were thus built by Muslim craftsmen in the Islamic world. The first glass factories in Europe were later built in the 11th century by Egyptian craftsmen in Corinth, Greece.[14]

Civil engineeringEdit

  • Ventilator: The first ventilators were invented in Islamic Egypt and were widely used in many houses throughout Cairo during the Middle Ages. These ventillators were later described in detail by Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi in 1200, who reported that almost every house in Cairo has a ventillator, and that they cost anywhere from 1 to 500 dinars depending on their sizes and shapes. Most ventillators in the city were oriented towards the Qibla (the direction of Mecca), as was the city in general.[19]
  • Water management technological complex: In much the same way the Neolithic 'toolkit' or 'technological complex' was central to the Neolithic Revolution,[20] a 'water management technological complex' was similarly central to the Islamic Green Revolution and,[21] by extension, a precondition for the emergence of modern technology.[22] The various components of this toolkit were developed in different parts of the Afro-Eurasia landmass, both within and beyond the Islamic world. However, it was in the medieval Islamic lands where the technological complex was assembled and standardized, and subsequently diffused to the rest of the Old World.[23] Under the rule of a single Islamic Caliphate, different regional hydraulic technologies were assembled into "an identifiable water management technological complex that was to have a global impact." The various components of this complex included canals, dams, the qanat system from Persia, regional water-lifting devices such as the noria, shaduf and screwpump from Egypt, and the windmill from Afghanistan.[23]

Cosmetics / HygieneEdit

  • Deodorants, under-arm and roll-on: In the 9th century, Ziryab invented under-arm deodorants in Al-Andalus.[27] In circa 1000, another under-arm deodorant was described in Al-Andalus by Abulcasis,[28] who also invented perfumed stocks, rolled and pressed in special moulds, similar to modern roll-on deodorants.[29]
  • Toothpaste, functional and pleasant: In the 9th century, the Persian musician and fashion designer Ziryab is known to have invented a type of toothpaste, which he popularized throughout Islamic Spain.[30] The exact ingredients of this toothpaste are not currently known,[26] but unlike the earlier Egyptian and Roman toothpastes, Ziryab's toothpaste was reported to have been both "functional and pleasant to taste."[30] In circa 1000, Abulcasis recommended a toothpaste made from cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and coriander leaves, as a remedy for bad breath resulting from eating garlic or onions.[28]

The characteristics of ancient Egyptian technology are indicated by a set of artifacts and customs that lasted for thousands of years. The Egyptians invented and used many simple machines, such as the ramp and the lever, to aid construction processes. They used rope trusses to stiffen the beam of ships. Egyptian paper, made from papyrus, and pottery were mass-produced and exported throughout the Mediterranean basin. The wheel, however, did not arrive until foreign influence introduced the chariot in the 16th century BC. The Egyptians also played an important role in developing Mediterranean maritime technology including ships and lighthouses.

Mechanical technologyEdit

  • Fountain pen: The earliest historical record of a reservoir fountain pen dates back to the 10th century. In 953, Al-Muizz Lideenillah, the caliph of Egypt, demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen which held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib via gravity and capillary action. As recorded by Qadi al-Nu'man al-Tamimi (d. 974) in his Kitdb al-Majalis wa 'l-musayardt, al-Mu’izz instructed and commissioned the construction of a fountain reservoir pen.[31][32]
  • Metal block printing and printed amulet: Printing was known as tarsh in Arabic. After woodblock printing appeared in the Islamic world, which may have been adopted from China, a unique type of block printing was invented in Islamic Egypt during the 9th-10th centuries: print blocks made from metals such as tin, lead and cast iron, as well as stone, glass and clay. The first printed amulets were invented in the Islamic world, and were printed with Arabic calligraphy using metal block printing. This technique, however, appears to have had very little influence outside of the Muslim world, since metal and other non-wooden forms of block printing were unknown in China or Korea, which later developed metal movable type printing instead. Block printing later went out of use in Islamic Central Asia after movable type printing was introduced from China.[33]
  • Six-cylinder 'Monobloc' pump: In 1559, Taqi al-Din invented a six-cylinder 'Monobloc' pump. It was a hydropowered water-raising machine incorporating valves, suction and delivery pipes, piston rods with lead weights, trip levers with pin joints, and cams on the axle of a water-driven scoop wheel.[34]
  • Steam turbine, impulse steam turbine, steam engine, steam jack, self-rotating spit: In 1551, Taqi al-Din invented the first impulse steam turbine and described the first practical applications for it as a prime mover for a self-rotating spit, predating Giovanni Branca's later impulse steam turbine from 1629. Taqi al-Din described his invention in his book, Al-Turuq al-saniyya fi al-alat al-ruhaniyya (The Sublime Methods of Spiritual Machines), completed in 1551 AD (959 AH).[35] This device is today known as a steam jack.
  • Alarm clock, mechanical alarm clock, astronomical clock with alarm: The first user adjusted mechanical alarm clock was described in 1559 by Taqi al-Din, who developed a mechanical astronomical clock employing an alarm arrangement, which was capable of sounding at a specified time, achieved by means of placing a peg on the dial wheel to when one wants the alarm heard and by producing an automated ringing device at the specified time. He described it in his book, The Brightest Stars for the Construction of Mechanical Clocks (Al-Kawākib al-durriyya fī wadh' al-bankāmat al-dawriyya), published that year.[36]
  • Observational clock, three-dial clock, clock measured in seconds: Taqi al-Din invented the "observational clock", which he described as "a mechanical clock with three dials which show the hours, the minutes, and the seconds." This was the first clock to measure time in seconds, and was used for astronomical purposes, specifically for measuring the right ascension of the stars. This is considered one of the most important innovations in 16th century practical astronomy, as previous clocks were not accurate enough to be used for astronomical purposes.[38] At the Istanbul observatory of Taqi al-Din, he further improved his observational clock, using only one dial to represent the hours, minutes and seconds, describing it as "a mechanical clock with a dial showing the hours, minutes and seconds and we divided every minute into five seconds."[39]


See also: Islamic medicine
  • Tracheotomy, correct description of: While tracheostomy may have possibly been portrayed on ancient Egyptian tablets, the first clear and correct description of the tracheotomy operation for suffocating patients was described by Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) in the 12th century.[42][43]


  • Fireproof clothing: In 1260, Egyptian Mamluk soldiers at the Battle of Ain Jalut wore fireproof clothing to protect themselves from gunpowder fires as well as chemicals in gunpowder warfare. Their clothing consisted of a silk tunic (still worn by Formula One drivers underneath their Nomex fire suits), aketon (from the Arabic al-qutn "the cotton"), and mainly a woolen overtunic that protects against fires and chemical weapons, similar to the clothing worn by modern soldiers for protection against biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Due to the effectiveness of their fireproof clothing, the Egyptian soldiers were able to attach gunpowder cartridges and incendiary devices to their clothing.[45][46]
  • Cannon, hand cannon, handgun, small arms, portable firearms: The first portable hand cannons (midfa) loaded with explosive gunpowder, the first example of a handgun and portable firearm, were used by the Egyptians to repel the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, and again in 1304. The gunpowder compositions used for the cannons at these battles were later described in several manuscripts in the early 14th century. According to Shams al-Din Muhammad (d. 1327), the cannons had an explosive gunpowder composition (74% saltpetre, 11% sulfur, 15% carbon) almost identical to the ideal compositions for explosive gunpowder used in modern times (75% saltpetre, 10% sulfur, 15% carbon).[45][46] According to Ahmad Y. al-Hassan, the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 saw the Mamluks use "the first cannon in history" with gunpowder formulae which were almost identical with the ideal composition for explosive gunpowder, which were not known in China or Europe until much later.[14][47]
  • Cartridge: Gunpowder cartridges were employed by the Egyptian Mamluks, for use in their fire lances and hand cannons against the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.[45][46]
  • Explosive gunpowder: The ideal composition for explosive gunpowder used in modern times is 75% potassium nitrate (saltpetre), 10% sulfur, and 15% carbon. Several almost identical compositions were first described by the Arab engineer Hasan al-Rammah as a recipe for the rockets (tayyar) he described in The Book of Military Horsemanship and Ingenious War Devices in 1270. Several examples include a tayyar "rocket" (75% saltpetre, 8% sulfur, 15% carbon) and the tayyar buruq "lightning rocket" (74% saltpetre, 10% sulfur, 15% carbon). He also states recipes for fireworks and firecrackers made from these explosive gunpowder compositions. He states in his book that many of these recipes were known to his father and grandfather, hence dating back to at least the late 12th century.[45] Medieval French reports suggest that Muslim armies also used explosives against the Sixth Crusade army led by Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia in the 13th century.
  • Firearms: A commonly held view is that the first firearms were invented in China, but some scholars such as Reinuad and Fave argue that the first firearms may have possibly been invented by Muslims first.[17] The use of saltpeter in military applications by the Arabs dates back to the 10th century. The three ingredients of gunpowder were used, often with the addition of naphtha to make "tubes of incendiaries," which were thrown by catapults,[48][49] and some Arabic greekfire receipts contained saltpeter,[50] Shawar vizier of the Fatimid Caliph Al-'Āḍid's used 20,000 tubes of incendiaries and 10,000 lighting bombs in the year 1168, by 1916, Bahjat and Gabriel had gathered dozens of nearly intact ceramic grenades of different types, and fragments of hundreds more. and in the 1940s those ceramics caught the attention of yet another French scientist Maurice Mercier where he noticed that those that had the strongest walls and the most aerodynamic designs often had their tops broken off, while the rest of the body was intact. Only a powerful internal explosion, he reasoned, could have caused such clean, sharp fractures. He had a number of the pots carefully examined and discovered that they contained traces of nitrates and sulfur, essential ingredients of gunpowder. Many now on display in the Cairo Museum and the Louvre, the components of the grenades were volatile jelly of kerosene, potassium nitrates and sulfur.[51][52] Another early use of gunpowder in military applications in al-Andalus (modern Spain) is as early as 1118[53], later in 1248 it was used in the defence of Seville[54] and such devices were called "Thunderers", another early use was in 1250 by the Mamluks against the Franks led by Louis IX in Battle of Al Mansurah[55], and the explosive hand cannons first used by the Mamluks to repel the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.[56][46]

Scientific instrumentsEdit

File:Geomantic instrument Egypt or Syria 1241 1242 CE Muhammad ibn Khutlukh al Mawsuli.jpg
See also: Islamic science and technology
  • Quadrans Novus: An astrolabic quadrant invented in Egypt in the 11th century or 12th century, and later known in Europe as the "Quadrans Novus" (New Quadrant).[57]
  • Camera obscura and camera: From the Arabic word qamara for a dark or private room. Ibn al-Haytham worked out that the smaller the hole, the better the picture, and set up the first camera obscura,[9] a precursor to the modern camera.
  • Pinhole camera: Ibn al-Haytham first described pinhole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters.[9]
  • Telescope and long-distance magnifying device: A long-distance magnifying device was invented by Taqi al-Din, as described in his Book of the Light of the Pupil of Vision and the Light of the Truth of the Sights around 1574. He describes it as an instrument that makes objects located far away appear closer to the observer, and that the instrument helps to see distant objects in detail by bringing them very close. He states that he wrote another earlier treatise explaining the way this instrument is made and used, suggesting that he invented it some time before 1574. This device is considered to be a rudimentary telescope.[63]


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