Intellectual, cultural and artistic developments

The period between 400 AD and 1450 AD was a golden age for the Islamic world. In the west also there was blossoming in the intellectual, cultural and artistic fields. Architecture, sculpture and religion progressed a lot as there was exchange of ideas across the world. The Middle Ages began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century and lasted till the 15th century. This period was also known as the Renaissance and also as Age of Discovery. This period was preceded by the classical antiquity period and followed by the modern period. The medieval period is divided into Early, High and Late Middle Ages.

Medieval art flourished in many fields like manuscripts, stained glass, sculpture, mosaics and metalwork. Some other forms did not last as much as the ones mentioned and they are fresco wall-painting, work on textiles and precious metals. Some works which were very valued were ivory carving, embroidery with gold and silver and enamel. The Islam art and architecture was influenced by the religion and culture. In the same manner Roman Empire and the early Christian Church had great influence on the art and architecture of the middle ages. Byzantine art had a tradition of realistic representations. Some of the monumental architectures are the mosque in Damascus, Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Canterbury Cathedral. Monastic centres and the universities were also wonderful architectural structures.

During the Middle Ages there was intellectual development both in the Muslim world and in the Christian world. Both were influenced by the changes happening in the world. But most of the intellectual activity was around philosophy and theology. But when it came to literary writing there was no restriction as poems, plays and essays were written on varied topics. A large part of the literary works are anonymous. The intellectual centres were the Catholic clerics so a lot of literary work was based on theology. Secular literature was not as many as religious works. But there were a few which depicted traditions, princely stories, anti-war, love, travel, politics and myths. There were a few women writers too during this period. Some of the Muslim scholars were Ibn Sina, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Arbi. Some of the Christian scholars were Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham , Roger Bacon. Some literary people were Dante, Geoffrey Chaucer, Umar Khayyam. The poems of Umar Khayyam are still popular. Beowulf, Canterbury Tales of Chaucer are still popular literary works taken up for study by students of English Literature.