Science Institutionalization in Early Islam: “Bayt al-Hikma of Baghdad as a Model of an Academy of Sciences”

Moneef Rafe Zoubi, Mohd Hazim Shah


This study aims to introduce academy-type institutions of the pre-Islamic era. To illustrate the ascendance of the Islamic tradition of science institutionalisation, founding and patronage of academies, the example of Baghdad’s Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) which flourished in the ninth century AD is examined closely in the light of primary Arabic sources on the subject as well as recent contemporary international literature. The study will then go beyond the existing narrative on Bayt al-Hikma to argue that it was an ‘academy of sciences’ that preceded by centuries the Academia dei Lincei of Rome, considered by many scholars as the world’s first academy of sciences established in 1603.


History of Science, Islamic Science, Islamic Civilisation, Bayt al-Hikma, Academies of Sciences.


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