was medieval period. At the same time, the

was called the Middle Ages, more infamously recalled as the Dark Ages; but were these years truly as dark as Among the more popular myths about the “Dark Ages” is the idea that the medieval Christian church suppressed natural scientists, prohibiting procedures such as autopsies and dissections and basically halting all scientific progress. Historical evidence doesn’t support this idea: Progress may have been slower in Western Europe during the Early Middle Ages, but it was steady, and it laid the foundations for future advances in the later medieval period.At the same time, the Islamic world leaped ahead in mathematics and the sciences, building on a foundation of Greek and other ancient texts translated into Arabic. The Latin translation of “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing,” by the ninth-century Persian astronomer and mathematician al-Khwarizmi (c.

780-c. 850), would introduce Europe to algebra, including the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations; the Latinized version of al-Khwarizmi’s name gave us the word “algorithm.”

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