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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World by Universiteit Leiden

353 ratings

About the Course

Did you know that Arabic was for centuries the lingua franca in an area stretching from the south of Spain to the Chinese border? Did you know that the Middle East under Muslim rule in those days was the world’s beating heart of trade, but also of science and scholarship? Did you know that Islam in its formative period was heavily influenced by existing cultures in the region, like Indian, Greek, Persian and Byzantine culture? Did you know that for many centuries after the establishment of the Muslim Empire the majority of the population remained largely Christian and Jewish? Did you know that they held a protected status in Islamic law? Did you know that this generally open-minded, curious and open society stimulated many great innovations and inventions? Did you know that European scholarship in the Renaissance leaned heavily on the texts and inventions from the Middle East which were the outcome of this sophisticated advanced society? In this course we will focus on the fascinating history of the Arabic Medieval World. We will take you on a journey through the Middle Ages starting off in eighth-century Baghdad. Along the old pilgrim trails we will go to places like Mecca, Jerusalem and Najaf. We will show you the impressive markets of places like Cairo and Samarkand. However we will not hide the dark sides of society either, by introducing you to the flourishing widespread slave trade. We will visit the Abbasid court, the Harem of the caliph, and the palace of the Mamluk Sultan. We will show you some beautiful medieval manuscripts, that live on as the silent witnesses of the impressive achievements of scientists and medical doctors of this forgotten era. All along we will present you with historiographical debates and dilemma’s. Reflecting on the way we look at and interpret history. And while taking you on this journey, we will travel back and forth in time explaining to you how events of the past affected and shaped the world as we know it today. Welcome to the Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World! Enroll now and follow this course for free. --- Testimonial: Dear Prof. Sijpesteijn I am sending this email in gratitude for the Leiden University team for this course. Please thank the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs for offering it on Coursera, the Faculty of Humanities for creating the lovely course content and the excellent reading material. Rarely have I seen an MOOC that is this well-researched and thought through. This is in addition to the excellent resources provided and the creative media. I finished the course and presently doing the honors-track. If I may introduce myself, I am Radi Radi, a Palestinian-Jordanian who lives on "Shajaret Al Dur" St. in Amman, Jordan. It was quite an coincidence to learn about her here. I work as a pilot and currently we are not flying anywhere currently so I thought of finishing this course. I am a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Ryerson Univeristy, Canada and this really felt like the 100-level electives I took in that it really is a university-level course. I have bought a few books that I have read about in your course and that meant that I have something else to do in this corona-imposed hiatus. After Once aviation kicks back into gear, I hope to be flying to Amsterdam Again. When that happens, I plan on bringing you guys a gift from Amman for your efforts. Many Thanks Radi Radi...

Top reviews


May 30, 2022

I learned so much in this course. I definitelyrecommend doing the extra readings and assignments in the honors track. The extra knowledge is worth the effort. I am delighted I found this course!


Aug 10, 2022

Really interesting course covering a wide range of topics. I had no knowledge of this subject, perfect for beginners, and I now have more interest in Arabic history. Thank you

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51 - 75 of 113 Reviews for The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World

By Sadeq R

Jun 1, 2020

I strongly suggest for everyone to do this course as it holds MANY surprises about the Medival Arabic World.

By Gina K P U

Apr 25, 2020

A wonderful journey to the cosmopolitan medieval Arabic world!

I enjoyed it very much!

Thanks to you all!

By Daniel M

Mar 12, 2021

Very expert and comprehensive course.

And enjoyable.

Wonderful presentation, great Prof, great teachers.

By Raul L

Jan 9, 2023

This is a wonderful, well balance course full of insights into the Islamic World. Highly recommended.

By Karolina P

Sep 5, 2021

This course covers many topics of the Medieval World. It was easy to follow and kept me interested.

By Steve S

Jan 20, 2021

Great variety of topics and content that was well structured. Thank you University of Leiden!

By Michael G

Mar 12, 2019

a fascinating study of an understudied topic in western classrooms. I very much enjoyed it!

By Lakatos A

Oct 10, 2019

I liked this course a lot. I enjoyed the energy investment of the mentors in the videos.

By Massimo R

Jun 12, 2022

interesting views on an old civilization which were so close to the contemporary Europe

By Delia F

Jul 27, 2020

I really enjoyed this course. The content was interesting and the instructors dynamic.

By Bushra N

Jan 15, 2020

The course is elaborative and the teachers who taught are up-to the mark of excellence.


Aug 29, 2020

An excellent source to understand better what and how the Arabic medieval time was.

By Sandra A F D

Mar 20, 2019

Excelente ! El material de lectura tendría que contar con la opción en castellano

By Rob B

Apr 12, 2020

Great informative course that takes through the middle ages in the Arabic world.

By Alexander I

Jun 30, 2020

Excellent content, format and instruction! Congratulations on a great course.

By Jennifer

Jan 9, 2019

This class was very eye opening. Probablly one of the best mooc's I have taken

By Paccelli Z

Jan 4, 2019

Um curso excelente e completo sobre o mundo árabe medieval! Recomendo a todos!

By C.Winkel

Dec 25, 2018

Great and easy course with good material. Please more about topics like that!

By Matthew P

Apr 21, 2020

An excellent course, possibly the best free online learning I've ever done!

By Katherine W

Jul 10, 2020

Excellent in all respects. The podcasts were especially helpful.

By Louise G

Jul 6, 2020

Absolutely fascinating information. Very well-structured course.

By Omar A G R

Jun 19, 2020

Se demuestra el interés de aprender con un punto de vista modelo

By Erlinda S

Jul 2, 2020

This is an awesome class. Thank you so much to the Instructors.

By Bharat S

Jul 21, 2020

I liked the narratives and the material. Truly an eye opening.