During the Abbasid Caliphate, the three Banu Musa brothers traveled from Iran to Baghdad to study astronomy and engineering, and to translate ancient Greek texts into Arabic. There was no better place for them to study than in Abbasid Baghdad, the cultural and intellectual centre of the caliphate and the home of the House of Wisdom, the repository of all knowledge known in the West after the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. And it was in Baghdad where the brothers published many books, including the Book of Ingenious Devices, an illustrated catalogue of 100 inventions and their uses, including automated controls, automated fountains, conical valves, and a programmable flute player—perhaps the very first programmable device.
It’s hard to read the news and not see updates of the approach of ISIS forces to Baghdad, one of the greatest cities in history. Reporters and generals are stating that the group is between 8 and 25 kilometres away from Baghdad International Airport. Other sources have added that not only has ISIS has captured another Iraqi military base but that in desperation the Iraqi government has re-activated the maligned militias.