Abbasid Public Academy, The House of Wisdom

- Image ID: T81PKK
Abbasid Public Academy, The House of Wisdom
Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: T81PKK
Scholars at an Abbasid library in Baghdad. Maqamat of al-Hariri Illustration by Yahyá al-Wasiti, 1237. The House of Wisdom refers either to a major Abbasid public academy and intellectual center in Baghdad or to a large private library belonging to the Abbasid Caliphs during the Islamic Golden Age. The House of Wisdom is the subject of an active dispute over its functions and existence as a formal academy, an issue complicated by a lack of physical evidence following the collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate and a reliance on corroboration of literary sources to construct a narrative. The House of Wisdom was founded either as a library for the collections of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid in the late 8th century and later turned into a public academy during the reign of Al-Ma'mun or was a private collection created by Al-Mansur to house rare books and collections of poetry in both Arabic and Persian. The House of Wisdom existed as a part of the major Translation Movement taking place during the Abbasid Era, translating works from Greek and Syriac to Arabic.