© PRINCETON UNIVERITY LIBRARY
Arabic botanical treatise. Unknown author and date.
FROM THE CALENDAR OF CORDOBA, 961 AD
The month when ...
... the grain on the threshing floor is weighed and the granary keepers are entrusted with the task of collecting the tithes. The first grapes are harvested. The figs arrive from the coastal regions; walnuts and pine cones ripen; the first melons appear; juice is extracted from green grapes, blackberries and plums. Young pigeons are caught; venison is pickled in brine. The wild ducks on the river islands and the lakes hatch out of their eggs; once fledged, they fly to the rivers and streams. This is also the month when written orders are given for the collection of deer antlers and the horns of wild goats used for the making of bows. Among the medicinal herbs harvested during this month are psyllium, flowers of absinthe, from which juice is extracted, yellow melilot, camomile, dodder, flax, mountain germander, peppergrass and safflower. We sow cabbage which is planted out in August. At the beginning of the month we may be bled, if need be, and take medicines.
Welcome to the Filāḥa Texts Project
The purpose of the Filāḥa Texts Project is to publish, translate and elucidate the written works collectively known as the Kutub al-Filāḥa
or ‘Books of Husbandry’ compiled by Arab, especially Andalusi, agronomists mainly between the 10th and 14th centuries (see Authors & Works)
. These systematic and detailed manuals of agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry have been somewhat neglected and remain largely unknown in the Anglophone world - apart from some of the Yemeni works they have never been translated into English. They not only provide primary source material for the understanding of what has been called the ‘Islamic Green Revolution’ but constitute a rich body of knowledge concerning a traditional system of husbandry which is as valid today as it was a thousand years ago and has much relevance to future sustainable agriculture. See Introduction
The Filāḥa texts are preserved in some 240 manuscripts scattered in libraries and institutions in 40 different cities, mainly in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. See Map of Holding Institutions
The objectives of the Filāḥa Texts Project are:
- To bring to a worldwide English-speaking readership the current state of knowledge on the Filāḥa texts and their authors, especially the findings of Spanish scholars J.M. Carabaza Bravo and E. García Sánchez who have worked in this field for the past twenty-five years. To them we owe a huge debt of gratitude. See Bibliography.
- To gather a corpus of digitized manuscripts, Arabic editions and English translations of Filāḥa texts on one site. See Texts & Translations.
- To provide a variety of scholarly online resources such as glossaries, bibliographies, published articles, links, etc. See Articles & Resources.
- To encourage interest and research in the field, and provide a locus for the publication of scholarly and more popular articles on the Filāḥa manuals and traditional farming in Arab and Islamic lands in general.
- To provide a forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas among scholars engaged in the field. Register to join the Forum here.
The Filāḥa Texts Project is coordinated by Simon Fitzwilliam-Hall and is part of a wider programme to document and study the rich heritage of traditional farming, water management and land use systems in the dry lands of the Middle East and North Africa. Many thanks to the Qatar National Food Security Programme which has supported this work from September 2012 to March 2014
We encourage all those interested in the field to join the FTP community and discussion forum. Register here
Articles, academic papers, translations, glossaries, bibliographies, reviews, photographs, etc. are welcome and should be sent to Simon Fitzwilliam-Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.