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Volume 48, Number 3 May/June 1997

In This Issue

May/June 1997
The Arab Roots of European Medicine
Written by David W. Tschanz

The Arab caliphs set out to collect the works of Greek physicians and scholars, and supported intercultural institutions like the university at Jundishahpur and the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Arab medicine, thus planted in fertile soil, blossomed magnificently, and the great physicians of the Islamic world were able to illuminate the Europe of the Dark Ages with a well-elaborated science whose outlines are still familiar today.

The Crescent in Laos
Written by Andrew Forbes
Photographed by Stephenie Hollyman

In this overwhelmingly Buddhist country, a small and varied Muslim community has found a welcome. History's tides have brought Cham Muslims from Cambodia, Tamils from India and legionnaires from North Africa to this peaceful Southeast Asian backwater.

Flying High
Written by Edmund Midura

Six new Central Asian nations joined the world family on the breakup of the Soviet Union, and devising banners to rally 'round was one of the tasks they faced. Here are the flags they chose, and what they stand for.

The Golden Horses of Turkmenistan
Written by Jonathan Maslow
Photographed by Tor Eigeland

The gold-colored "heavenly horses" of Central Asia still exist, and are being bred both in Turkmenistan, their homeland, and in Europe and the United States. Tall and tireless, the traditionally raised Akhal Teke horses spend their lives swathed in felt blankets "to melt off their fat," and are hand-fed, and greatly treasured, by their owners.

The Kingdom of the Lion
Written by Pat McDonnell Twair and Samir Twair

Egyptian pharaohs corresponded with Hurrian kings. The Hittites feared them. Court musicians of Ugarit performed Hurrian compositions, and part of the Mesopotamian metals trade flowed through Hurrian lands. But where was Urkesh, the Hurrian capital? Had it ever actually existed? A husband-and-wife archeological team believe they have found it.

The Western Outpost
Written by Rosalind Mazzawi

Horse-lovers in Europe and the United States have taken the angular, long-necked Akhal Téké breed to their hearts, and are helping to save it from extinction. Besides dressage, some breeders are using the horses for hunting, and in Idaho they are being crossbred experimentally with Appaloosas.