By Michael Cooperson
Аль-Мамун (786—833) — багдадский халиф из династии Аббасидов.Сын Харуна аль-Рашида. Мать Мамуна была персидского происхождения. После смерти отца халифом стал его брат Аль-Амин, а Мамун стал губернатором Хорасана. В ходе вспыхнувшей гражданской войны, Мамун в 813 г. захватил Багдад и воцарился. Привлек к управлению государством ученых и основал в Багдаде Дом Мудрости (Бейт аль-хикма), созданную в подражание старинной персидской академии Джундишапура.В 827 г. по его повелению (и при его финансировании) были проведены градусные измерения дуги меридиана в долине Синджар, осуществлён перевод труда Птолемея на арабский язык («Альмагест»); в 829 г. в Багдаде основана астрономическая обсерватория.
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Additional resources for Al-Ma’mun
How could al-Rashid, who claimed to be guided by God, make such a grave mistake? The anecdote does not answer this question directly. Those bad decisions had resulted in the enthronement of a dynasty of usurpers: rulers who claimed to be caliphs but were in fact illegitimate. Fortunately, the Umayyad usurpers had eventually been overthrown. This retelling of Islamic history makes sense of al-Ma’mun’s conduct: just as the Abbasids had been justified in rising against the Umayyads, so too was al-Ma’mun justified in overthrowing al-Amin.
If this was indeed his aim, it was to be thwarted by one of Ja‘far’s protégés, an Iranian named al-Fadl ibn Sahl. During the days of the Barmaki ascendancy, al-Fadl had made a name for himself as a translator from Persian to Arabic. To further his career, he converted from Zoroastrianism to Islam at the hands of al-Ma’mun. After the fall of the Barmakis, al-Fadl remained in al-Ma’mun’s service and soon became his most trusted adviser. The rebel leader, Rafi‘ ibn al-Layth, was particularly threatening because he had won the loyalty of many traditional supporters of the Abbasid regime.
This answer agreed with what the princes’ tutor had taught them, and al-Rashid pronounced himself satisfied. The insistence on grammatical training reveals some of the differences between Muslim and European Christian attitudes toward their sacred texts. In Europe, one did not learn to read by studying the Bible. As late as the sixteenth century, translating the Scriptures into a language that laymen could understand was punishable by burning at the stake (as happened to William Tyndale in England in 1536).