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On the Origins of Gravitation—by Ibn Khaldûn (1332-1406)

Ibn Khaldûn, the Arab philosopher, historian and politician, was born in Tunis in 1332. His major work is the Muqaddimah or Outline of History, from which the following translation is taken

The Origins of Gravity:
(For those who thought that Sir Isaac Newton invented gravity, he was the first to develop a quantitative theory of gravitation. The story of the falling apple was an symbolic representation of the effect for the layman.)

" In the books of philosophers who speculated about the condition of the world, it has been explained that the earth has a spherical shape and is enveloped by the element of water. It may be compared to a grape floating upon water. The water withdrew from certain parts of the earth, because God wanted to create living beings upon it and settle it with the human species that rules as His representative over all other beings. One might from this get the impression that the water is below the earth. This is not correct. The natural 'below' of the earth is the core and middle of its sphere, the centre to which everything is attracted by its gravity. All the sides of the earth beyond that and the water surrounding the earth are 'above'. When some part of the earth is said to be 'below', it is said to be so with reference to some other region. "

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