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

The month when ...
... farīk is gathered [early wheat, from which premium couscous was made]; olives and grapes begin to take shape; the bees make their honey; the first early fruits: apples, pears, plums, apricots, sweet melons, cherries; preserves are made from nuts, and syrup from pip-less sha‘bī apples; poppy seeds are harvested for the making of syrup. The fruit of the sycamore ripens in the Oriente. We gather seeds from rue-herb, celery, dill, houseleek, black poppy, mustard, watercress and ṭarātīt and extract juice from them; the flowers of the common camomile are gathered for the making of oil. It is also during this month that instructions are issued for the requisitioning of kermes, silk and fuller’s earth for the ṭirāz. From now until the end of July, parchment is made from the skins of fawns and gazelles. The common and Valencian falcons begin to moult, a process which continues until the beginning or the end of August, depending on their strength and vitality. The young falcons and kites hatch out and it takes thirty days for them to fledge. The summer cranes return from the river islands; peafowl, coots, storks, pigeons, sparrows and many other birds hatch from their eggs.



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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. 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 ahfhall@yahoo.co.uk.