© PRINCETON UNIVERITY LIBRARY
Arabic botanical treatise. Unknown author and date.
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FROM THE CALENDAR OF CORDOBA, 961 AD
March

The month when ...
... budding, known in the vernacular as tarqī‘, is done on the fig trees; the early corn stands up straight; most of the fruit trees are now coming into leaf; it is the time when the female Valencian falcons lay their eggs in their nests on the river islands and brood for thirty days until the beginning of April. Sugar cane is planted. The early roses and lilies begin to bloom and, in the vegetable gardens, broad beans take shape. Quails suddenly make their appearance; the silkworms hatch out; storks and sturgeon and shad ascend the rivers from the sea. Cucumbers are planted, and also cotton, safflower and aubergine. This is also the month when the stewards are instructed in writing to buy horses for the government. Locusts arrive in great numbers, and orders are given for their extermination. Citronella and origanum are sown. It is the mating season for peacocks, storks, pigeons and many other birds.


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Arīb ibn Sa‘d

 
 

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. It is funded by the Qatar National Food Security Programme under the chairmanship of Fahad Al-Attiya.

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 simon.hall@qnfsp.org.