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IMPROVEMENTS IN PRACTICAL ART. 357.
ful agriculture, the practice of which was regulated by a code of laws. Not only did they attend to the cultivation of plants, introducing very many new ones; they likewise paid great attention to the breeding of cattle, especially sheep and the horse. To them we owe the introduction of the great products, rice, sugar, cotton, and also, as we have previously observed, nearly all the fine garden and orchard fruits, together with many less important plants, as spinach and saffron. To them Spain owes the culture of silk; they gave to Xeres and Malaga their celebrity for making wine. They introduced the Egyptian system of irrigation by flood-gates, wheels, and pumps. They also promoted many important branches of industry; improved the manufacture of textile fabrics, earthenware, iron, steel; the Toledo sword-blades were every where prized for their temper. The Arabs, on their expulsion from Spain, carried the manufacture of a kind of leather, in which they were acknowledged to excel, to Morocco, from which country the leather itself has now taken its name. They also introduced inventions of a more ominous kind -gunpowder and artillery. The cannon they used appeared to have been made of wrought iron. But perhaps they more than compensated for these evil contrivances by the introduction of the mariner’s compass. The mention of the mariner’s compass might lead us correctly to infer that the Spainish Arabs were interested in commercial pursuits, a conclusion to which we should also come when we consider the revenues of some of their khalifs. That of Abderrahman III. is stated at five and a half millions sterling-a vast sum if considered by its modern equivalent, and far more than could possibly be raised by taxes on the produce of the soil. It probably exceeded the entire revenue of all the sovereigns of Christendom taken together. From Barcelona and other ports an immense trade with the Levant was maintained, but it was mainly in the hands of the Jews, who, from the first invasion of Spain by Musa, had ever been the firm allies and collaborators of the Arabs. Together they had participated in the dangers of the invasion; together they had shared its boundless success; together they had held in irreverent derision, nay, even in contempt, the woman-worshipers and polytheistic savages beyond the Pyrenees-as they mirthfully called those whose long-delayed vengeance they were in the end to feel; together they were expelled. Against such Jews as lingered behind the hideous persecutions of the Inquisition were directed. But in the days of their prosperity they maintained a merchant marine of more than a thousand ships. They had factories and consuls on the Tanais. With Constantinople alone they maintained a great trade; it ramified from the Black Sea and East Mediterranean into the interior of Asia; it reached the ports of India and China, and extended along the African coast as far as Madagascar. Even in these commercial affairs the singular genius of the Jew and Arab shine forth. In the midst of the tenth.
858 REVIEW OF ALHAZEN.
century, when Europe was about in the same condition that Caffraria is now, enlightened Moors, like Abul Cassem, were writing treatises on the principles of trade and commerce. As on so many other occasions, on these affairs they have left their traces. The smallest weight they used in trade was the grain of barley, four of which were equal to one sweet pea, called in Arabic carat. We still use the grain as our unit of weight, and still speak of gold as being so many carats fine. Such were the Khalifs of the West; such their splendor, their luxury, their knowledge; such some of the obligations we are under to them-obligations which Christian Europe, with singular insincerity, has ever been fain to hide. The cry against the misbeliever has long outlived the Crusades. Considering the enchanting country over which they ruled, it was not without reason that they caused to be engraven on the public seal, ” The servant of the Merciful rests contented in the decrees of God.” What more, indeed, could Paradise give them? But, considering also the evil end of all this happiness and pomp, this learning, liberality, and wealth, we may well appreciate the solemn truth which these monarchs, in their day of pride and power, grandly wrote in the beautiful mosaics on their palace walls, an everrecurring monition to him who owes dominion to the sword, ” There is no conqueror but God.” The value of a philosophical or political system may be determined by its fruits. On this principle I examined in Chapter XII. the Italian system, estimating its religious merit from the biographies of the popes, which afford the proper criterion. In like manner, the intellectual state the Mohammedan nations at successive epochs may be ascertained from what is its proper criterion, the contemporaneous scientific manifestation. At the time when the Moorish influences in Spain began to exert a pressure on the Italian system, there were several scientific writers, fragments of whose works have descended to us. As an architect may judge of the skill of the ancient Egyptians in his art from a study of the Pyramids, so from these relics of Saracenic learning we may demonstrate the intellectual state of the Mohammedan people, though much of their work has been lost and more has been purposely destroyed. Among such writers is Alhazen; his date was about A.D. 1100. It appears that he resided both in Spain and Egypt, but the details of his biography are very confused. Through his optical works, which have been translated into Latin, he is best known to Europe. He was the first to correct the Greek misconception as to the nature of vision, showing that the rays of light come from external objects to the eye, and do not issue forth from the eye and impinge on external things, as, up to his time, had been supposed. His explanation does not depend upon mere hypothesis or supposition, but is.

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