28 September 2005
Dr. Al-Hamdani on Iraq:
10,000 Years In the Making!
Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani discusses Iraqi history during
Academe. (Photo by Alex Stillwagon/ JSU)
JSU News Bureau
A Jacksonville State University professor's
presentation to Academe yesterday was a tough assignment: his talk spanned
10,000 years of civilization.
Academe is a faculty support network at JSU that serves as a forum for
sharing research interests.
Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani, biology
professor, delivered a PowerPoint presentation on the history of
Dr. Al-Hamdani is a native of Baghdad, Iraq, who holds a Ph.D. in
Botany (1988) from Oklahoma State University. He joined the JSU faculty in
1992 after teaching at Miami (Ohio) University.
began in the region of Mesopotamia about 10,000 years ago," said Al-Hamdani.
"It would be inconceivable to attempt to cover all of it in a one hour
Dr. Al-Hamdani began his presentation with the history of
the land and its people that dates back more than to 7,000 BC. The area is
most famous for having one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World -- the
Hanging Gardens of Babylon -- and for being the home of the mythical Garden
The Hanging Gardens were built atop stone arches 76 feet above
ground and watered from the Euphrates by a complicated mechanical system. The
Garden of Eden was said to be located on a plain from which four rivers
flowed. Two of those rivers are still visible today and flow through
Iraq--the Euphrates River and the Tigris River.
The recorded history
of the area began with a group known as the Sumerians in the time of the
Hebrew prophet Abraham. The Old Testament mentions Mesopotamia and Tower of
Babel only in historical contexts as it relates to the course of events in
Israel and Judah.
According to Dr. Al-Hamdani, the Sumerians began
cultivating wheat, domesticating dogs and sheep, and introducing irrigation
as well as fine pottery and permanent dwellings about 7000 BC. However, their
most important invention was the wheel in 3700 BC.
Sumerians, the Babylonians ruled the region 3200-'323 BC. According to Dr.
Al-Hamdani, the Babylonians kept time by dividing the day into 24 hours, each
hour into 60 minutes, each minute into 60 seconds. This form of counting has
survived for 4000 years and is used worldwide today.
capital city of Babylon sits near the modern day city of Baghdad. For more than
five centuries, between the eighth and thirteenth centuries, Baghdad became
the world's center of education and culture. This period of glory is known as
the "Golden Age" of Islamic civilization, when scholars of the Muslim world
made important contributions in both the sciences and humanities as
well as medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, literature, and more.
Under Abbasid rule, Baghdad became a city of museums, hospitals, libraries,
"Iraq has a rich and glorious past," said Dr.
al-Hamdani. "I feel fortunate that JSU and Academe has allowed me the the
opportunity to share this with a group of my colleagues."
information on the history of Iraq, call Dr. Al-Hamdani at (256)782-5801 or
send e-mail email@example.com.
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